Barrel of Monkeys

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Blog entry by David Craig posted 06-12-2010 08:07 AM 1528 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have been an LJ member for about 6 months now, admiring the projects of those so gifted and occasionally posting my humble offerings. Working on my latest project, I realized, we are all part of a chain of a living barrel of monkeys.

When we are new, the top, the bar that is raised, seems so very high, impossible to climb or reach up to. But, when we lift up our hand (our paw?) we don’t touch empty air, but a hand above us that connects us to the chain as we reach our own hand to those below.

Those on the top attempt the impossible, while those below attempt what was once impossible for themselves, all following the same vision, dream, achieving what we once told ourselves couldn’t be done.

Australia, America, Great Britain, Canada, Africa, Europe, Asia no continent too far, no timezone too distant, for us to connect to this chain.

I am proud to be a monkey in a barrel of monkeys.

My thanks to those above and below for putting your hand in mine.


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

17 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117722 posts in 4089 days

#1 posted 06-12-2010 08:12 AM

One Monkey to another thanks.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3627 days

#2 posted 06-12-2010 08:20 AM

then I most be the neanderthaler
that second you
and say thankĀ“s for let me bee a part of this

take care out there, all of you


View degoose's profile


7258 posts in 3866 days

#3 posted 06-12-2010 08:26 AM

That analogy is very apt.. Helping hands…
It seems that this site is just that… helping hands…
Unlike a bucket of crabs… you need no lid on a bucket of crabs, if one gets near the top then the others drag him back..
Here not only do those above reach down but the ones under encourage and push you up…
Thanks for reminding us of who and where we are..

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Berg's profile


116 posts in 3701 days

#4 posted 06-12-2010 11:34 AM

I’m with degoose: “Drink once, cut twice”.. I mean “very apt”. Thanks for posting.

-- Pete - "To every thing there is a season Turn! Turn! turn!" [Ecclesiastes and Pete Seeger]

View Bob Collins's profile

Bob Collins

2709 posts in 4195 days

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

Being from Down Under and part of the chain and having got so much from L.J’s I am glad being part of the barrel of monkeys. Not many years ago I jumped in to that very deep barrel and attempted some wood carving, not much help available locally but when surfing the net I found L.J’s and after posting a project
and receiving words of encouragement from members I pondered climbing to the next rung of the ladder.

I agree with you David, that top bar is very high and keeps getting higher. The main thing is that we challenge ourselves each time we start a new project, do something a bit harder, who cares if we stuff it up,
we tried, we had fun and we know someone in this barrel will have a helping hand out and encourage us to try again.

Being part of the chain we can encourage those starting out, admire the work of those on the rungs above
and always have fun regardless of the outcome. Think I have just slipped of the perch with this lot.

Good article David and look forward to reading other replies.

-- Bob C, Australia. Your best teacher is your last mistake.

View SPalm's profile


5334 posts in 4394 days

#6 posted 06-12-2010 01:13 PM

Very well said David. Now I am all choked up.
I love this place.

It has been very nice to meet you Sir,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3548 days

#7 posted 06-12-2010 02:31 PM

David, you’re welcome.

I think this is the first place where I have ever felt I belong. I would also like to say thanks to those above and below for putting your hand in mine. – A. Monkey

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Mary Anne's profile

Mary Anne

1058 posts in 3720 days

#8 posted 06-12-2010 02:37 PM

Well said! It is the perfect analogy and description of my experience as an LJ.

I also agree with what degoose added about lifting up. Everyone, from the pros at the top to the rank beginners just starting out, is pulling, pushing, lifting, and encouraging for others to succeed.

But for a negligible few who can’t seem to help themselves, there is a distinct lack of the ugly attitude where people think they have to kick others to come out feeling on top.

An example: I will be finishing up a Lazy Larry (degoose) Tight Weave board today. A couple of months ago, I would have thought the bar too high, beyond my capabilities—impossible! But with help and encouragement, and example set by other LJs, I gave it a shot… and it looks really, really good! Without LJs, I would probably still be monkeying around with much easier projects.

Group hug!!! LOL

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4268 posts in 3676 days

#9 posted 06-12-2010 02:57 PM

Finally someone has dignified my monkeying around in the shop…...........(-:

Seriously, good analogy, and I definitely have benfited from the helping hands.

Alaska Jim

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3620 days

#10 posted 06-12-2010 03:21 PM

I was feeling a little lovey last night (and I was sober :). I am not surprised that others feel the same way. I have been part of community sites before, but this is the only one that had literally changed my life.

I am with Mary Anne… {{{{{group hug}}}}}


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

View patron's profile


13654 posts in 3853 days

#11 posted 06-12-2010 03:39 PM

thought a lot of my career ,
secrecy prevailed .
i noticed that it got harder and harder to find work .

i got my help by teaching , busboys , janitors , guys off the street .
all the ‘pro’ guys wanted to do ‘their’ thing .
” i’ve been doing this for years ,
it works for me , i don’t need to change ” .
not co-operate in group working .

by sharing , the craft was expanded , when work was needed ,
some friend would give numbers to call , people looking for help ,
jobs to be had .

the craft came back this way .
everyone benefited .

you don’t ‘loose’ your place ,
you move up again .

those that don’t share ,
don’t advance to fast either !

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

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 3452 days

#12 posted 06-12-2010 08:29 PM

What a nice post! This is the first time that I feel good about being compared to a monkey! I have only been a LJ for about a month, but everything you and all the others say is so true. Since joining I feel like I belong to a family. Thanks LJ’s.

A Monkey in Africa

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

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4758 days

#13 posted 06-12-2010 08:41 PM

You are such an eloquent writer David I never hear this side of you. Or maybe we’ve become close enough that I take you for granted. This is such a wonderful analogy of what LJ’s is all about. Man you brought tears to my eyes. Damnit. Congrats on your 6 mos.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3530 days

#14 posted 06-13-2010 12:37 AM

I, too love this place and the people or should I say Monkeys here are fabulous about sharing their expertise, skill, knowledge, tips etc. Anywhere else you would have to pay top dollar for all this that you get for free here and all that is required is to just ask politely. I noticed that those who don’t, get jumped upon rather quickly which is the way it should be! There are no dumb questions here, everyone has to start somewhere and I find that this is the absolute best place to learn what you think you already know only, to find out that there are more than one way to do any project. If you keep reading on this site long enough the answer will come sooner or later to any question out there. I humbly thank all of you.

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3432 days

#15 posted 06-13-2010 02:16 AM

What a nice post. It was a great way to express what I am sure many of us feel about this place. It is great to just look around at all the talent, read the posts and learn so much about so many aspects of woodworking. I also love the hands helping hands analogy, as it is something that is evident from when you first come here. It is a great place for sure.


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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