I look at my WorkSharp ball cap (my old Logosol disappeared at
some earlier date) and realize that it was originally black, not
brown. I look at most of my shoes, and note that they're all
trending towards brown. I look at most of my Levis and note
the shellac, poly, varnish and various stains and dyes. Most of
my T-shirts show the same, as do my hands - and to a lesser
extent, my glasses. Though it hasn't occured yet, I foresee
sneezing producing a saw dust cloud. In place of Dust Bunnies
in the corners and under furniture - there are wood shavings
and sawdust. I see a downed tree or a stack of logettes on
the side of the road and I slow down to check it out, occassionally
loading some of that wood into my van. I often leave the
chainsaw in the van - just in case. I network with tree trimmers
and arborists, other woodworkers and get to know the guys
who man the desk at the local woodworking machines and
equiptment store as well as a few a local woodwirking supplies
and tools stores. I bought a used metal fireproof cabinet
to keep finishing stuff in. My To Do List includes upgrading
my dust collection system to a cyclone and 6" ducting. I'm
running out of space in the japanese garden to dispose of
the saw dust and chips I seem to be generating at a surprising
rate. You can only use so much mulch.
Slowly, in small increments, I'm becoming a Galoot - the product
of Immersion Woodworking.
Do you have any more symptoms I should watch for?
My second job as a youth (jsut out of high school) was a millwright
in a mobile home factory. I worked at a table saw 8 hrs/day, almost
exclusively ripping softwood lumber. This was before the recognition
of health and safety stuff (i.e. repsirators, dust collection).
EVERY NIGHT after work, in the shower, I sneezed out the most unGodly
goop. LOT's of unGodly goop. Brown, slimey, unGodly goop.
Once it gets inya', it dudn't come out as dust.
A few I have noticed:
When you start out your woodworking sentences with "in my day, we used
to have to XXX and XXX". If you start talking about making your own
nails, filing rods down to make your own screws and things like that,
you are a goner. (Or was that goober...)
Start wearing long sleeved flannel all the time and convince yourself
that identifies you as some kind of traditionalist.
Put a small pot bellied stove in your shop to burn your scraps in the
winter. You have gone over when you fuss over the stove more than you
work. Around Christmas time you start thinking of the old Norman
Rockwell paintings with old fella playing around with the wood
burner. You relate.
Buy huge glasses so you can get trifocals you can actually see
through, and get them in safety glass to boot. You are already gone
if you wear them with the secretary's neck chain, or if you wear half
glasses down your nose while you are talking to people.
You start drinking half decaf/caf coffee out of an old mug you rarely
Your mug has a story you get a chuckle out of every time you tell the
You start understanding more and more about what Norm is about and
what he is doing and appreciate his show.
You would rather goof off in the shop than watch sports inside.
You skip lunch while exploring the mysteries of cutting compound
angles with hand tools.
You look at difficult projects and start trying to figure out how YOU
would build a spice chest with at least ten of the 350 - 400
recognized Japanese methods of joining wood. You announce dovetails
are for lightweights.
You doze in your shop when no one is around.
You doze in your shop when others are around and they panic because
they can't find you.
You sit down a lot when you work on your projects. Even your
orthotics and extra thick hush puppies won't keep your knees from
You spend all day sharpening your chisels. The next day you spend all
day sharpening your planes. When finished, you think you have had a
"helluva couple of productive days".
You hang silly things on the walls like clocks that rotate backwards,
silly sayings, and you replace your old sawblade clock that was given
to you with an old fashioned clock radio. Preferably with a dial
tuner. Function the clock portion is optional however because when
you are in the shop you don't watch the time anyway.
You quit taking the portable phone with you to the shop. "Screw 'em",
you declare. "If they want me, they know where I am." This is often
announced to your spouse after recharging your mug with the half caf
Repair projects for friends and relatives start to show up. You don't
want to embarrass yourself in front of your friends and you do like to
show off a bit, so their projects are completed in a timely manner.
You feel like Krenov when you hand back a chair that you secured the
stretcher back to its original position. But the stuff for your
family could take a couple of years of careful consideration, and by
the time it gets coated with a layer of dust and shop grime, you are
hoping they forgot. You do every time you go in the shop.
You have a lot of tools that just have one or two things you need to
replace or repair, and they will be as good as new. However, when you
need that tool, you forgot you had one in need of minor repair (only
for a few years) and you went out and bought a brand new one. Whoops!
You have a lot of tools you never use. Some have been declared
nothing but junk. Yet you keep all of them....
Charlie... it's lifestyle. There's more, no doubt. But that's my
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