Sounds like you had a fine experience with him. It sounds like a
personally rewarding experience.
To be fair, I was at the store when he was there, but not standing IN
FRONT of him when he made his remarks. It was easy to catch the
brusque attitude and some of the remarks. It was easier still for me
to talk to the store manager whom was a good friend, known to me to be
without exaggeration. To be blunt, he felt like they got screwed
because he was expecting Marks to be as you portray him. Marks was
still in the store when I started hearing how things went from the
manager and some of the other guys I know and trust.
Your point about someone's nose being out of joint was well stated and
pertinent. But to expand on that a bit, you can see the difference in
how he treated a plane made from an edger blade in your experience to
how things were handled when he was here. And again, I heard the same
story from they guys that were standing there when it was said, the
same exact remarks from 3 - 4 guys and the store manager. And it was
told with no time to rehearse as Marks was still in the store.
I was not part of their meeting because at the time I had no earthly
idea who Marks was. I don't have cable, and had never even seen him
on television until about 6 months ago. To this day I have only seen
about 10 of his shows, and I don't know that I have watched one from
start to finish. I was not there at the store to see him and didn't
know he was going to be there.
It was a rare trip to Woodcraft for some woodturning supplies and to
gab a bit with the asst. manager that is one of the finest woodworkers
I have ever met. Great guy, too.
So I had no feelings to get hurt, no star worship to crush, no ax to
grind, not looking for bragging right due to meeting him, and wasn't
looking for a new best friend.
I had no preconceived ideas of him (so no ulterior motives) and
frankly couldn't have cared less about him or why he was there. When
they told me Marks was coming I was interested due to the in store
buzz, but since there was not to be a demo of any type I was
uninterested to even find out who he was. When they told me he was
there as a guest of WC, I surmised he was just another corporate
shill. I caught small bits and pieces of his conversations, and I
wasn't really sure why he was there.
Not really. I think that all remarks made here were made with respect
for him and always regard the fact (Hey... I started it, too!) that he
may have simply had a bad day. Really, you know we all have them. I
didn't see anyone flame him, trash him, or belittle him in any way.
Everyone here seemed pretty damn civil if you ask me.
And what side of Marks do you think will be seen the most? A small
thread on a almost dead woodworking group that has had all of ten
people participate in it? A thread where nothing terrible or
horrifying has been exposed? No excitement here, that's for sure.
Or the side presented by him on that video that shows him as an easy
going, easy to talk to guy that started out making redwood tables? A
video that has no doubt been seen all over the world by who knows how
many people since it was distributed?
I think Marks is unscathed. Personally, I think that folks that have
fond memories of an encounter are unlikely to change their opinions of
someone they know and respect due to a contemplative commentary posted
on the internet.
Now the guy I would like to meet (as I have said here before) is
Norm. He has been to the WC store a couple of time here and once to a
woodworking show. But he is like a rock star, he has a lot of folks
around him all the time. But I did get to talk to some guys that sat
at the back of the store and had lunch with him, and they said he was
the nicest, most unassuming guy you would ever meet.
Although it is quite fashionable now to sneer at him and his
techniques, my opinion of him is undiminished. I don't care for his
finishing techniques, but hey.. they're his projects. But in respect
to him, regardless how many assistants he has, he has turned out some
great projects, and more importantly, inspired folks to get out in the
shop and do something for almost 20 years.
Now according to local lore, one of the things Norm mentioned when he
was here was that in the early days, he had NO help. He even swept up
at night. He did allow that he has help now as his schedule is so
But think about it. Norm can hang a passage door, and even make it
for you. He can build kitchen cabinets, lawn furniture, different
styles of house furniture, build handy jigs, repair structural
framing, and build a blanket chest. That might be one season.
A park bench, a potting table, a grandfather clock, a baseball bat,
you name it. He has done more than anyone I know to build confidence
and inspire woodworkers to try just about anything.
Even though I have done all kinds of woodworking with my company (or
as an employee for a few of them) over the last 35 years for a
multitude of clients, I still watch Norm when I get a chance. I get a
kick out of him.
And still, after 20 years, I have never heard one whisper of anything
but great things about him.
My kinda guy.
On Thu, 1 May 2008 23:08:50 -0700 (PDT), " firstname.lastname@example.org"
I didn't mean to intimate conspiracy. Same story from several people
is more likely to reflect actual events than suggest collusion.
Yeah, we all were/are. I'm just saying it's too bad for him to have an
off day (for whatever reason) and the report of it to be extant,
however obsdure the forum might be. And, of course, it'll be available
for a long time to come with any old search effort.
I'll second that!
That is the universal description of him I've heard/read everywhere.
I had the opportunity to spend a day (it turned out to be a long day)
woodworking with him. He was as accessible and easy going as anybody could ask.
He also has a wicked sense of humor. But he doesn't pass out compliments like
gumdrops. -- Doug
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