Music and Sawdust

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Blog entry by christopheralan posted 02-12-2011 03:46 AM 1390 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

11 February 2011
Music and Sawdust

The other day on the way home I heard a new song on the radio. It was by a band called Stone Sour called “Hesitate.” I read the lyrics the next day and it is kind of a depressing song when you get into it. But there is something about the song that forces you to feel something. The tone, the tempo, the arrangement, and the way the singer delivers the lyrics, forces something inside your head, your gut, and your heart. It was one of those songs that made me want to get up, do, make, build, create, inspire.

I find it fascinating how music, art, creativity and emotions can inspire great things. In my shop I normally I play the more heavy stuff: Metallica, Slayer, Mega Deth, 5 Finger Death Punch, and Kill Switch Engage among others. Every now and again, (when no one is around to bust my chops anyway…), I will sometimes change up the music from making my ears bleed to something that is totally the opposite: Enya, instrumental Celtic, or tear-in-your-beer country (ever hear “The Little Girl” by John Michael Montgomery? Grab a clean shop rag for the tears brotha…). I don’t know about you, but when I hear the National Anthem (performed correctly…), I still get chills; even more so with the Marine Corps Hymen. Remember Rocky? Eye of the Tiger? You know what I am talking about. You feel it.

One of the most important things in what we do as woodworkers is showing others what we have made. Of course not everything is a masterpiece worthy of museums, or even outside the shop in some cases. But sometimes we build something that inspires something: Amazement, amusement, wonder, and reflection; even disgust. This is something that sets us apart from so many others. We build things. We make things. We take a design, love it, hate it, change it and make it ours or we take an inspiration from who-knows-where and create something special and unique. Ever think about why you build things? Not just the Honey-Do list, but the other stuff? What inspires you to make it?

It might be comparing apples to monkey wrenches, but the creative process exists in us all, whether we make music, art or sawdust, and I believe that it has a synergistic (1+1=3) quality. Music inspires creativity, which translates into design that morphs into building and construction and finally, completion, showcasing, and again into inspiration for someone else. What a beautiful cycle! I pride myself on making truly one-of-a-kind, unique pieces for people, that when they look at whatever it is, it is the one and only in existence. It can often bring an emotional response depending on the work. I honestly wish more of my work had that effect on people. I batch-cut and mass-produce widgets like most everyone else, and that’s okay. It pays the bills. But sitting back, designing, building, and finishing something, inspired by whatever inspires you, is a magical experience. I know that my woodwork will never change the world, or solve any major disaster, but I also know that it has brought a smile to more than a few people. I know I don’t have many adoring fans outside of my wife and kids, but day-by-day, I try to touch just one more life. We all have a daily chance to make our corner of the world a little brighter, and we all have an opportunity to perform to our absolute best in what we do.

So crank it up guys. Listen loud and proud and find that inspiration. No shame in making a foux-guitar out of a 2×4 when no one is looking. (I have found that my #2 Philips makes a great microphone.) Most of us will ever have millions of adoring fans (okay maybe this guy…), but we all have a quiet cheering section of our own. Sometimes the music inspires us to create some really cool projects. And maybe one of those projects will inspire someone else to make some magic of their own.

Saw Dust and Splinters Guys! Rock on!

Questions/Comments: [email protected]
My website:

-- christopheralan

1 comment so far

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 4221 days

#1 posted 02-12-2011 09:22 PM

TRUE! Music is one of my most important tools when it comes to the creative stuff. And, what better way to enrich long hours of sanding!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

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