What's a woodworker to do?

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Blog entry by Natalie posted 02-01-2013 08:55 AM 3046 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So last weekend did not work out the way I had planned. I only had about an hour on Friday to get into the shop, but I finished putting together my new Sawstop and actually turned in on. Nice and quiet! I still haven’t run a board through it, but it sounded nice. I was really looking forward to making some serious dust! But I had promised a sleep-over for the grandkids so the shop would have to wait till Saturday.

As Friday progressed, I became increasingly convinced I was coming down with the Flu, so the kids and I watched movies and went to bed early.. Honestly, I wish it had been the flu.

Okay, so how do I say this without giving too much information on one hand or sounding mysteriously cryptic on the other? I’ll do my best. Last year one thing that kept me out of the shop was breast cancer. I had 4 surgeries, and the last one was reconstructive surgery on Dec 27th 2012. I had a great recovery and was feeling very happy to put all that behind me. But apparently, there was an infection brewing somehow leftover from the last surgery, and I woke up about 2:30am with a high fever, but realized this wasn’t the flu.

Long story short, IV antibiotics over the next two days didn’t take care of it, so I had to have surgery to remove the implant on one side and now I am adjusting to this and the knowledge of more surgeries in my future. But Dammit, I am so tired of resting and “taking it easy”. I had put all that behind me!!!! Okay, I am thankful for a lot of things. This is not a tragedy, it is just a bummer. I don’t like bummers, but I can handle a bummer if I have to. Anyway, I am not expecting this keep me down for long. I am hoping to be back in the shop in limited capacity this weekend if only to just stew and scheme.

Now the point of this post is to show how “wood minded” I have become since re-entering my shop. I found myself fascinated with the veneer on the doors in the hospital. I am hoping that’s not really as pathetic as it sounds. This was very interesting veneer, and I’m not sure I have seen veneer doors like this before. It wasn’t the usual log peel, it was more like strips off of boards. What do you think? Is this interesting, or was it just the drugs?


-- Natalie - My mind is like a bad neighborhood, I don't like to go there alone.

16 comments so far

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3759 days

#1 posted 02-01-2013 09:21 AM

just a question first, yes i see what you are talking about, but what does this mean for you, what about this interests you…is there a project you want to do and achieve the same things what you saw…or do you more or less just want to know why they are that way… with the question out of the way, Natalie, im really really sorry for this set back, im not sending any pity , but since you have gotten here and we have chated some, i am really liking you, and i wish you didn’t have to go through any more, and i hope it wont be to taxing,,,so if you can , can you tell me or us why this veneer draws your mom has been really sick and ive had some close friends die recently, so im really touchy about folks i care about having to endure more sickness…..i sure hope its very short term…grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3759 days

#2 posted 02-01-2013 09:31 AM

to me picture number 4 looks kinda interesting, but ive seen the other ones to in commercial buildings, im not a veneer expert, but i was told that the reason some come out that way is because of how they orient the veneer, some take stain differently, as to the interesting ones, someone who has experience with veneer can give the right answers

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Chris Moellering's profile

Chris Moellering

227 posts in 3103 days

#3 posted 02-01-2013 11:36 AM

Looks like a book-matched veneer to me.

No, I don’t think it’s (just) the drugs. I find myself looking at furniture in a whole different way now that I have more appreciation for how it is made. I still sit and stare at my dresser on occasion, it was my grandparents, probably as old as I am if not older, and has some great construction.

Praying for a speedy recovery.

-- Grace & peace, Chris+

View stefang's profile


16711 posts in 3789 days

#4 posted 02-01-2013 12:39 PM

Sorry to hear about your health problem Natalie, but I hope you overcome all this and have a full recovery. You seem to be a person with very good spirits and a humorous disposition, so it seems me that you have a lot going for you, not to mention that you are also a woodworker, which to me makes you very special. Having a Saw Stop table saw makes you even more special. I’ll be looking forward to seeing what you do with it. If your posted projects so far are any indication, they will be sensational. I especially liked your jewelry chest.

I think the veneer strips on the door have alternating grain directions and therefore catch the light differently.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2462 days

#5 posted 02-01-2013 12:49 PM

First off, the veneer in the 2nd pic is bubbling and that bothers me. I do like the pattern in the pic with the window though.

That said, Both my mother and mother-in-law went thru breast cancer. Neither of them died from it, but they have both passed on. They each started their journey with it iback n the 1950’s and both lived a very long and very full life. So knowing how far medicine has advanced since the 50’s … we will certainly hope and pray that you also, will live for MANY years to come. Besides, who else is gonna teach your grandkids about woodworking :-)

We’ll add you to our prayers

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

719 posts in 4074 days

#6 posted 02-01-2013 02:03 PM

What you are seeing with the veneer is termed “barber poling” and it is caused when the veneer is bookmatched. The veneer is cut with a knofe not unlike a guillotine. The face of the piece that was against the knife when it was cut is known as the loose face while the exposed face of the piece that remains on the log awaiting the next cut has the tight face. The grain is compressed on the tight face which causes it to reflect light and take stain differently. Contact me at (substitute @ for X’s) and I can send you some literature that explains it better.

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View ~Julie~'s profile


616 posts in 3490 days

#7 posted 02-01-2013 03:04 PM

Sorry to hear about your setback. I hope you are back in the shop soon and able to make some more fabulous creations!

-- ~Julie~

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2462 days

#8 posted 02-01-2013 03:19 PM

”That’s not bubbling, it’s the figure in the wood.”

Funny that. I kept going back to that picture and looking at it closely. I wondered if it was the pattern or if it was in fact coming up. After a bunch of looking, I chose “B”.... cause it sure looks like you could run your hand across it and FEEL it coming up. :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Toolz's profile


1004 posts in 4198 days

#9 posted 02-01-2013 03:23 PM

Natalie I know next to nothing about veneering and am very sorry to hear about your health issues. I know how hard it is to sit and rest etc. I can not do anything in my shop anymore when the weather is cold. But if it is warm I manage to go out every day. If I have trouble breathing or am just plain worn out or bothered by scars and adhesion’s I get pleasure sitting out there puttering with very small projects or reading wood magazines or just sitting and looking at my tools and lumber stash and dreaming of what I want to do next. Accomplishing those dreams may never happen for me but the dreams along with my very supportive spouse and two Boykin Spaniel shop dogs make it all worthwhile.

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3322 days

#10 posted 02-01-2013 04:07 PM

I am so sorry to hear about your new and recent health problems and I pray that you will receive the best care possible from your doctors and that they can get this infection cleared up and give you the surgery that you need to get you back to the point where you were before this setback, and finally on to a complete recovery.

I wish I could help you out with your question but I don’t know much about veneer.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View a1Jim's profile


117693 posts in 4032 days

#11 posted 02-01-2013 04:25 PM

Sorry for your set back I hope you home soon putting your new SS through it’s paces.Checking out the veneer on your hospital room door just shows you are a certifiable wood working nut given the other things you have to deal with.
I’ve been a WW nut for years and can always spot interesting wood,wood working projects or tools where every I go.
That’s one thing I don’t think there’s a cure for and if there is a cure I don’t plan on seeking the cure out.
I pray you get home soon Natalie and have a speedy recovery

View Roger's profile


21008 posts in 3259 days

#12 posted 02-01-2013 04:53 PM

Wishing you a speedy recovery.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Natalie 's profile


367 posts in 2422 days

#13 posted 02-01-2013 05:35 PM

Thanks for your prayers and well wishes. I have been home since Tues, (they boot you our of those places pretty quick), and other than the paradigm change for me, it was a fairly simple surgery and based on my recovery time from previous surgeries, I’ll be doing something in the shop this weekend, just not the grand things I had anticipated.

I don’t think I had a lot of pointed sophisticated questions in my head that day. I was just wandering around trying to get my mind off of my reality, but now that you ask, “what I am asking”, I guess I was first of all impressed to see someone in a an industrial setting doing something different and creative with the wood. Typically you see the usual “birch plywood door” grain that resembles plain sawn lumber. This looked more like quarter sawn to me. Then the tedious stripping and book matching seemed over the top as well. On a couple of the doors the strips were only 1.5 inches wide. I think it was the look of quarter sawn vs plain sawn that intrigued me the most, and the end result was doors that looked stripped. Also, I don’t have any experience with veneer as of yet, so I;m trying to learn what I can.

Thanks for the connection, I will send you an email and look forward to the information.

I am wishing you early spring temps and some kind of heat source for you shop. Though I know nothing about OH, I looked on my phone and see that’s its 14 degrees today with snow predicted for the next 4 days. What do you mean when you say, “when it’s warm out”? Is your shop attached to the house. Do you ever lose it in the snow? I imagine it is no small, or cost effective thing to heat your shop all winter. During all the years I didn’t have a shop, I kept telling myself I was going to take up carving and set up a small table that I could set up around the house, because there isn’t really any dust with carving. Trouble is I could never get that excited about carving. Instead I took classes at local shops or through the community colleges to keep my juices flowing. You take care!

Looks like you are double crazy! We are VW people also, we have and 85 Westy, my husband has a Corrado (SP) that he was racing and is now converting to something with street cred, he drives a GTI, VR6, I drive a passat, his daughter drives a Jetta wagon, my son in law drives a jetta and just bought his dream car, a Caddy, my step-son, our youngest, has owned, built, modified, “souped up” and trashed driven various version of the GTI.

Last year we hooked up with a van club called Wet Westies, and went on a couple camping trips with them in between surgeries and treatments. We are looking forward to more camping this year, and I’m sure we will now be finding our way to your part of the state for a tour.

-- Natalie - My mind is like a bad neighborhood, I don't like to go there alone.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2942 days

#14 posted 02-01-2013 06:39 PM

Natalie, I come to this fray a bit late, but please know that our prayers are going out for your full recovery and for peace for you.

Now, the way I see it, and I don’t have the medical problems you have, just getting to walk into the shop for a minute or two, seeing all those wonderful machines and tools awaiting my return can be a calming thing.

I watch some guys make 25 cutting boards in one day on LJ’s and it bothers me that I’m not capable of that anymore because of some health issues I have, I’m lucky if I can crank out one edge grained board in one or two days, and end grain boards seem to take me forever.

Some days I just go in the shop and if nothing else use the scary sharp method to sharpen my pocket knife or draw sketches of projects I want to do on my quad pad.
Some days that is literally all I can do. Some days I can do more. I just cherish each and every minute that I can get into the shop but even more I cherish each and every moment I can be with my friends here and my loved ones at home.

Keep your chin up, it will get better. One way or another.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Natalie 's profile


367 posts in 2422 days

#15 posted 02-01-2013 08:52 PM

Thank you so much Dallas. Wonderful words of hope and “don’t ever give up!” I agree, just the smell of wood sometimes is all it takes to make me feel better. For my husband it’s the smell of grease. On my death bed, (years from now) I want to have fresh cut wood all around me so it smells good.
I guess that’s why while I was in the hospital I sought the “comfort” of some clever doors that really showed off the wood grain. When I was seen staring at a door and running my hand up and down over the grain, I’m sure the nurses thought I was a bit nutty because they offered me some Xanex. So nice to be able to share with a group of people who understand.

-- Natalie - My mind is like a bad neighborhood, I don't like to go there alone.

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