Extremely Average #27: The Twins

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Blog entry by Ecocandle posted 01-29-2010 05:11 AM 3491 reads 3 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 26: Photographing my Blog pt. 2 Part 27 of Extremely Average series Part 28: Confusion and Cats »

I stand by my bench with my sander in hand. As I move it slowly over the piece of saw horse I see the marks of my progress. I gently pass over the little imperfections that taught me how not to us a chisel. I think about the progress. I think about the grain and how it measures time.

The building of the Krenov saw horses is supposed to take an afternoon, but if you are really skilled you can make it take a month. I am a person with this level of skill. Time is a funny thing and as I sanded away the wood, in effect removing little bits of time, I thought about my two saw horses. They would look very similar, sort of like twins, but each one unique.

In the late 70’s the skateboard was all the rage. Not much more than roller skate wheels on a slab of plastic, it filled the summer of my 5th grade year with joy. Riding the skateboard was fun, but the real joy was hanging out with Doug, Marty, Paul, Jenny, Teri and Tracy and riding down the hill by our school. It wasn’t a steep hill, but to make the turn onto the sidewalk at the bottom was quite the challenge. Once we had all mastered that, we tried going down in pairs, with each person sitting on their board and holding hands with the other with legs crossed. Making that turn was next to impossible and most attempts ended in wonderful crashes and laughter. It was also generally a mixed doubles sport.

I think I am hopeless romantic today, because of those days holding hands with Teri Holtz, riding down the hill. As I sanded the boards and admired the little differences that make the saw horses unique, my thoughts drifted back to Teri’s freckles. Tracy, her twin sister, didn’t have so many. To say the Holtz twins were ‘cute as a buttons’, would be to sorely understate their appeal. I think the saw horses are equally lovely.

Each minute sands away more and more of the imperfections. The legs, the feet, and the stretchers become smooth and soft to the touch. I spend a couple of hours sanding and waxing nostalgic. When I am done, I glue her up. Her twin waits patiently off to the side. While the glue is setting I think about what I have learned about woodworking.

I have cut 2 mortises, 2 through mortises, and six tenons by hand. My skill with a chisel and Japanese saw is better than when I begun. I have used Mary to shape the feet. I have spent lots and lot of time sanding. The understanding of how to mark up a board, and then cut to the line is now ingrained in my mind. And in the end, I have two saw horses that are ‘cute as a button’.

Marty died a while back. I heard that Jenny has 6 kids. I don’t know what became of Kate, Paul or Doug, and I haven’t talked to Teri or Tracy since high school. They are different people today; I am sure, as am I. They may not even remember that summer. It really doesn’t matter much. I am sure that time has worn away the edges a bit and I may not remember it exactly as it was. In truth, I am left with a soft, fuzzy memory of a simpler time, and wonderful little crush, with a bit of hand holding. It makes me smile.

I wonder if I will remember the joys of building my first saw horses. I wonder if the little nicks and cuts, now sanded away, will remain with me. I doubt it. But in 30 years, when I look at the twins, I am sure I will have a soft, fuzzy memory of how they came to be, and it will make me smile.

-- Brian Meeks,

17 comments so far

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3658 days

#1 posted 01-29-2010 05:22 AM

The twins are wonderful!!! Did you have the same smile as the woman in the FWW article? She looked so happy building them.

Soft and fuzzy memories are a good thing.

View Ecocandle's profile


1013 posts in 3398 days

#2 posted 01-29-2010 05:24 AM

She did look happy. And I would say I did.

-- Brian Meeks,

View sras's profile


5037 posts in 3461 days

#3 posted 01-29-2010 05:29 AM

These look great! Nicely done (of course it could be the great photography).

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4218 days

#4 posted 01-29-2010 05:36 AM

If it’s a problem then I have it too I spend more time thinking thru a project and reminiscing about the past than doing. ;-)
A friend from my school days,1st thru 12th grades, was in town and dropped by a couple of weeks ago….we had a great afternoon talking about the “good ol’ days” ours were about the 1950’s and the early 1960’s…..

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View patron's profile


13646 posts in 3673 days

#5 posted 01-29-2010 05:44 AM

this seems to be building up to something ,
all your posts have women in them .

are you getting ready to build a boat ?

what will be her name ?

oh , teri and tracy are keepers for sure ,
well done !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Ecocandle's profile


1013 posts in 3398 days

#6 posted 01-29-2010 05:46 AM


I like to play to the crowd. “She Took My Breath Away” is my most popular post to date. I could have talked about the Brands brothers who wrestled for Iowa, but most of the stories I have of them, they probably wouldn’t like repeated.


-- Brian Meeks,

View Bill729's profile


241 posts in 3414 days

#7 posted 01-29-2010 05:53 AM

Maybe if you’d keep your mind on saw horses instead of thinking about Teri and Tracy then it might not take you a month to build two saw horses! : ) What about finishing?


View Kacy's profile


101 posts in 3417 days

#8 posted 01-29-2010 06:02 AM

Good, I am glad to see that you were just pandering to the masses. For a minute there, I thought the free-association was going to get the better of you and instead of burdening the horses with some lumber you would have to burden the lumber down at the local watering hole (at least, I assume they have a local watering hole in your little town).

Nice work!

-- Kacy, Louisiana

View Ecocandle's profile


1013 posts in 3398 days

#9 posted 01-29-2010 06:04 AM

Kacy…you would be wrong. Martelle has a gas station and a grain elevator.

Bill…I may finish them in the spring. I have read that ventilation is important and I am afraid to try it inside.

-- Brian Meeks,

View Kacy's profile


101 posts in 3417 days

#10 posted 01-29-2010 06:06 AM

Well, if your ever in New Orleans or Baton Rouge let me know … I think we might be able to find one here.

By the way, I second the suggestion of some finish—maybe multiple coats of poly. It would be a shame to get the girls all knocked around without some protection.

-- Kacy, Louisiana

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3441 days

#11 posted 01-29-2010 07:18 AM

“Knocked around” sounds so much like “knocked up” especially sans protection.

Brian, get that poly-prophylactic on them before you bring a male sawhorse in the house…:)

Beautiful work Brian. A true labor of love and it shows.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View stefang's profile


16667 posts in 3666 days

#12 posted 01-29-2010 12:37 PM

You did a very good job on these Brian. With all due respects to the gentlemen above, I wouldn’t finish them with poly. They will just get scraped up and look bad after awhile. Plus they would be a bit slippery. If you use a wipe on danish oil which has resins, once dry and polished a bit it will protect from finger prints and dirt and still be easy to renew occasionally.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3441 days

#13 posted 01-29-2010 02:38 PM

Very sound advice Mike. I just couldn’t associate danish oil with prophylactic and still make it sound funny :)

Thanks for still calling me a gentleman…


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View SPalm's profile


5332 posts in 4214 days

#14 posted 01-29-2010 03:24 PM

They are so pretty. So young.

Finish them with oil.

So you are done building them. This is often a sad part of my projects. I spend so much time thinking about them, then poof. I guess kind of like comming to the end of a good book or a movie.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4265 posts in 3497 days

#15 posted 01-29-2010 06:54 PM

Great looking…......ponies….....horses doesn’t sound right. Glad I am not the only one into naming things. I’ll be fourth in a row to recommend oil. I have objects, such as a tool tote, [ Tommy tool tote (-: ] that has been around for 22 years in hard use finished with Danish oil. The finish doesn’t get damaged by a scratch, and you can recoat it easily.

I will not elaborate on my infamous propensity to ruminate about projects…..............

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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