Extremely Average #4: Out Into The Cold

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Blog entry by Ecocandle posted 01-06-2010 04:12 AM 1886 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: A Tenuous Grasp Part 4 of Extremely Average series Part 5: A Gritty Performance »

It is cold in Iowa today. It was cold yesterday too. It will be cold tomorrow. Despite this I realized that I hadn’t been to Home Depot, Menards, or Acme Tool in several days. I was beginning to get that itch. I needed a fix. So I bundled up and hopped in the car and off I went.

I had a vague desire to buy some rare earth magnets. Do I have a project that requires magnets? No, of course not, I just really wanted them. The reason that the advertising industry is so successful is that there are people like me. I recently read an article or saw an ad about rare earth magnets. I don’t remember which it was. I just know that the seed was planted in my mind that they are really cool.

I have no idea what sort of woodworker I will be. Will I faithfully reproduce a 1755 George Haupt commode? Perhaps a Federal chest of drawer will strike my fancy? Or a Greene and Greene inspired end table? Right now, I couldn’t say where this journey will take me. I do know that I like to learn how to do new things. So it is quite likely that I will pick many of my early projects, based upon the skills they require to complete, rather than what I would like to have when I am done. I am learning how to use hand tools now, so for the foreseeable future there will be lots of gratuitous chisel work.

This brings me to the point of today’s rambling. The joy of woodworking extends well beyond the physical construction. I take pleasure in reading about woodworking, or watching The Woodsmith Shop on Iowa Public television, or just thinking about projects that might be in my future. Of course one of the best rushes, as far as I can tell, is looking at, learning about, and buying new tools and woodworking accessories.

I knew a woman once, a professional Jazz singer. She did very well financially. She tried to explain to me why she had over 1000 pairs of shoes, she tried to justify it by explaining that many of the pairs were less than $350.00, she described the feeling she had just owning them. I did the math. I couldn’t conceive of a world where I would want to spend $350,000 dollars on anything that didn’t have a walk out balcony and a view. It was what she loved and she had the money.

As I left Acme tools, having drooled over a random orbital sander and vacuum from Festool ($800 ish), the $3000 Saw Stop table saw, and tens of thousands of dollars of Freud and Amana router bits, I thought about the woman with the shoes. I think I finally understand her love of shoes.

Magnets in my pocket, carefully placed on the opposite side from my wallet, I headed home. When I got home I looked around and realized that in my world, one of tech, most things I own hate magnets. I spend most of my life at my computer, or more accurately surrounded by my computers. It was clear that the only place that it would be safe to take them out and play with them, was in the basement, among my tools. I love tech, but I also love it that the magnets won’t erase the hard drive on my 9” Jet vice. Sitting at my workbench I took out the magnets. I bought both ¾” magnets and the little holder thingies (I like to use technical terms whenever possible, in this case it wasn’t possible, as I would have had to get up and go all the way downstairs to find out what they are called. Perhaps not possible is too strong, let’s say that it was inconvenient, and I couldn’t be bothered. My daily digression)

They are fun. I like to learn something about woodworking every day. The other day I learned that if one has rare earth magnets and one puts them in the little holder thingies, it increases their strength by 4x. Today I learned that if one is playing with their new rare earth magnets and puts one into its holder thingy, it is no small feat to get them back out again. I used my vice and a poking device. I put the magnets back in their little case and the thingy back in its case, and put them in a drawer. I felt satiated. I had made an impulse purchase, which was loosely related to woodworking, and I had gotten out of the house. The only problem I can see with today, and this blog post, is that it hasn’t lent itself well to photos. So I have included several gratuitous cat photos. His name is Harley. He is NOT my cat. He is however, a master craftsman, specializing in reproducing the works of Karl Friedrich Schinkel (Ok, that last part isn’t true. Harley is a cat, he doesn’t have opposable thumbs)

-- Brian Meeks,

13 comments so far

View Jimi_C's profile


507 posts in 3562 days

#1 posted 01-06-2010 04:27 AM

If you’re a techie, you shouldn’t have bought the magnets :) Hard drives have rare earth magnets in them, just requires a little work to get them out.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View sras's profile


5034 posts in 3457 days

#2 posted 01-06-2010 04:27 AM

Magnets come in handy for gaining access to secret compartments. Of course the compartments only stay secret if you never show anyone the neat thing you did with magnets!

And don’t put disc drives in your secret compartments…

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View a1Jim's profile


117592 posts in 3905 days

#3 posted 01-06-2010 04:40 AM

Shoes,magnets and cats oh my.

View randyb's profile


119 posts in 3655 days

#4 posted 01-06-2010 04:51 AM

One thing is for certian most cats hate woodworking, but there is one thing they hate more and thats magnets.

-- I was going for that distressed look

View Karson's profile


35166 posts in 4728 days

#5 posted 01-06-2010 06:12 AM

But cats love red lazer pointers.

I got 2 magents out of two hard drives today. Getting rid of a couple of 4 gig drives. In the day with 1.5TB drives – 4 Gigs seem awful small.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View randyb's profile


119 posts in 3655 days

#6 posted 01-06-2010 06:20 AM

yes they do love laser pointers, as do I

-- I was going for that distressed look

View Ecocandle's profile


1013 posts in 3393 days

#7 posted 01-06-2010 06:37 AM

I love laser pointers, cats, and have a 4 TB hard drive. Thanks for stopping over and checking out my ramblings.

-- Brian Meeks,

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4149 days

#8 posted 01-06-2010 04:11 PM

Brian, I read your post, and I am not sure that I can ever understand the reasoning behind the shoes. My wife has a similar passion that also includes purses and clothing. But seriously why does anyone need 30 purses? I have one wallet that has lasted me for at least two decades (probably because it gets very little use and it never has a lot stored in it). :) Maybe I could understand it more it her passion ran to tools. At least they get used on a regular basis unlike the shoes and purses which largely just sit in the closets.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Andrew's profile


709 posts in 3526 days

#9 posted 01-06-2010 04:14 PM

Really cold here in the Twin cities area of Minnesota, too. I finnally gave up on working in my unheated garage, its just too cold, I can’t wear enough layers to stay warm and also move accurately enough to work on projects. The end is in sight, sometime around sunday it will warm up. Did go to Menards yesterday though, and forgot to buy biscuits.

-- Even a broken clock is right twice a day, unless, it moves at half speed like ....-As the Saw Turns

View ChuckV's profile


3197 posts in 3855 days

#10 posted 01-06-2010 05:32 PM

Speaking of rare earth magnets, have you seen this? I know that this product has been discussed here before, but since you are the new guy, I thought I would pass it on to you.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3886 days

#11 posted 01-06-2010 05:44 PM

For $119….................I’d make my own…..............LOL

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View Ecocandle's profile


1013 posts in 3393 days

#12 posted 01-06-2010 06:02 PM

Thanks for all the comments everyone.

ChuckV: I had not seen that, but the phrase ‘3/8” thick Japanese white sword-steel’ has made me covet one of these belts. I am sooo easily swayed by good ad copy.

Andrew: I am glad you went and “Saved good money at Manards”, I am saddened that you are unable to work in your shop/garage.

-- Brian Meeks,

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4040 days

#13 posted 01-30-2010 10:40 PM

ChuckV!!! I had my credit card out ready to order… good thing I clicked on the ‘For more information’ link LOL!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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