Goblins or gremlins?

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Blog entry by toolchap posted 02-07-2011 07:17 AM 1143 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Mortal fear. I live in mortal fear in my workshop. There. I have admitted it.

My shop is divided into halves. Half of 400 sq feet is woodwork and the other metal work. Another 200 above my head on the metal side gives me storage for the stuff “I know I might need one day” and “unfulfilled part-projects”. Now the metal bench is about 15 drunken steps from the door and the wood bench a lazy straight 5 paces. Guess where the tool or machine I just found goes to when I walk in. Right. This of course is where I picture Mr.G leering and rubbing his hands gleefully. See? I have not discovered an easier way to use bench dogs than with holes that go through the bench. (As I speak I am thinking “Dust tray..dust tray.”) So the tool goes onto the woodbench and gets dismantled and inspected. In the process I have to go over to the metal bench for a spanner or allen key anyway. Why couldn’t I just carry the thing over there in the first place? Then the pieces and parts find comfortable dissaray on the top and invariably find their way to the nearest bench-dog hole. I hear the clink, bang, tick as it lands and that nonsense about having depth-perception and directional sensory acuteness because we have two ears and two eyes, is utter nonsense. I focus on the sound. I drop another part through the same hole to narrow down the potential position of the part in a pile of sawdust I should have cleaned this morning.

Spontaneous combustion from oily rags? You’re joking. The air is blue around me and they wonder why I want to work alone? Smoke coming out of my ears and swearing red murder I scrabble around the floor bumping my head on things I swear I did not see when I went down to look. Why did they make the bloody jointer table so long? Thud! That is my coccyx against the 52 1/2 Record vice jaw. Severe sense of humour loss has set in by now. I am fantasising about a clinical shop with tiles and a cleaning woman and underfloor heating and the thing just gains momentum from thereon in. It degenerates.

Stuff gets lost. I swear I am coldly methodical after the second cup of tea and 5th smoke. I am.

Most important loss to date: When I married my angel, I made both our wedding rings. One with a diamond. Suffice to say we had to buy another diamond. Never found it.

I am going to change my ways. Tomorrow. Cuz I just found a …......

9 comments so far

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3415 days

#1 posted 02-07-2011 07:41 AM

My own personal issue is that I also keep going back and forth in waves between metal and wood. I have four workbenches and when I need to work, I put a piece of plywood on a couple saw horses because it is faster than cleaning off a workspace on a bench. That or span the trash bin with a piece of plywood.

I scoff at the people that play Jenga. You must play with sharpened steel and irreplaceable screws from another projects. I normally do most of my work with hand tools so I don’t have much incentive to make permanent outlets for plugging things in. This means that I have one extension cord that I maneuverer around and thread through things to get to where I need power.

Every so often, I go through and organize things. It lasts a while but I get distracted. I look at pictures of these immaculate workshops and think of how much easier it would be but there are always more interesting projects to start.

Well, at least this week it will be warm enough to use glue so I can do something beyond the sketching I have been doing for the main current project…

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View toolchap's profile


150 posts in 3337 days

#2 posted 02-07-2011 07:56 AM

I developed this “Ten things punishment.” Self flagellation with great results. If I misplace a tool under the pile of furious activity, I have to pack ten things away again. Usually by 6 I have found what I need so there is an average accumalation of 4 again. Who cares? Makes me feel a modicum of being organised.

View mafe's profile


12075 posts in 3506 days

#3 posted 02-07-2011 05:39 PM

My work shop is so small I have to go outside just to change my mind!
So I have no choice than to keep order!
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View toolchap's profile


150 posts in 3337 days

#4 posted 02-08-2011 11:31 AM

Remember…a layer of dust protects the Wood beneath it.

A house becomes a home when you can write ‘I love you’ on the furniture .

I copied this from an e-mail doing the rounds titled “Dust if you must.” To those of you working in ordered perfection with coffe-table workshops and pristine benchtops, walk on by, don’t read my posts. They will probably anger you and get you in a state of mental dissaray. Life is short. My mind is chaotic. I love it.

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 3357 days

#5 posted 02-08-2011 09:06 PM

Your Mr. G has some very efficient associates in my “protected” shop! Maybe that is the reason why I haven’t built the new bench with benchdogs yet…

“A house becomes a home when you can write ‘I love you’ on the furniture.”

Man, I like that! Yip, I do live in very homely house but you know that. You must have seen the sign on our fridge as well:

“A clean house is a sign of a wasted life.”

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

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3435 days

#6 posted 02-08-2011 10:23 PM

I, too, have seen the blue smoke on numerous occasions and wondered if one day I will come to rue those days? Nothing I can do about it now except to keep going and pray and hope for the best. I do know the feelings you are going through and understand that you are trying to share some personal feelings without getting personal. I feel a kindred spirit in you that tugs upon mine and I know we are bonded in ways unknown and beyond my understanding. Take care brother!

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View toolchap's profile


150 posts in 3337 days

#7 posted 02-09-2011 06:38 AM

I am glad I crept out again.

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 3357 days

#8 posted 02-10-2011 11:19 PM

Me too.

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

View taoist's profile


124 posts in 2908 days

#9 posted 10-29-2011 06:17 AM

Your tool making abilities are beyond reproach and way above my ability to even ask questions.

I feel you are probably a brother to any man that can take an honest look at himself and laugh..Nice to share this forum and your wonderful insight.

Thank you.

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