Chris Schwarz's Blog

Dr. Adkins's Shop, Revisited

Usually I keep my pretty pink
panties – how ever did you know? –  completely un-wadded, un-bunched and
lying smoothly across my muppet-like hiney. I hope you’re not eating
lunch right now.

But the reaction I’ve received to the slideshow I
posted last week of my visit to Dr. Kent Adkins’s shop in St. Louis has
me agitated. I’d like to get a few things off my chest.

• To the
people who blame Dr. Adkins for the high cost of medical care, I
recommend that the next time you have a serious problem with your
equipment in your bathing suit area that you try to fix the problem
yourself. Or maybe your neighbor has some tools you can borrow for the

• To the people who think I’m throwing Dr. Adkins under a
bus because of the slideshow, I say this: I consider Kent a friend. I’ve
known him for many years and would do nothing to harm him. That
slideshow is only one component of the story. The rest is in the
February 2011 issue.

• To the cowards who post inflammatory
comments anonymously here, I’ll be dealing with you in short order. I
don’t mind criticism, but I do like to face my accuser.

• To the
people who think Kent’s shop is too clean: The photos were taken before a
small open house party Kent was having for friends and neighbors. You’d
sweep up, too. The implication here is that Kent is just a tool
collector, which is laughable. The guy attacks woodworking with a
passion that would shame most of us. I know few people in the world as
insane for the craft as Kent. He’s been a woodworker all his life. When
he was a poor medical student, he was working wood with the tools he
could afford. Today the situation is no different.

Here’s how I
see things: Kent has spent his entire life helping people at a difficult
job. If you don’t like doctors, don’t whine to me – my father was a
doctor and I know first-hand how hard it is. It’s a job I don’t think I
could ever do. And now Kent has built a well-planned, well-equipped and
well-earned shop that he can use to fill his house with furniture for
his young family.

That’s a typical story. What’s not typical is
that Kent out-did us all with his energy and attention to detail. That’s
why I wrote the story.

I’m sorry this turned into a rant. I
despise writing about stuff that isn’t about woodworking. But people who
turn woodworking into class warfare just ruin my day.

— Christopher Schwarz