Chris Schwarz's Blog

Woodworking in America: The First Boring Catfight

I mean, who doesn’t like a good girl fight?

In high school, fights among the boys were boring. Lots of posturing. Maybe some shoving. At best they might clasp into some Greco-Roman grip that would immobilize both of them for up to five minutes. Yawn.

Give me Heather “Cat Food” Barker vs. Tammy “Runs With Scissors” Gentry any day. There was always some hair pulling. The occasional dirty punch. And, if you got lucky, some good bloody fingernail scratches.

And that is exactly what you are going to see at Woodworking in America in Valley Forge, Pa., on Oct. 2-4. Heather Griffin, the conference’s organizer, and Megan Fitzpatrick, our managing editor, have vowed to compete head-to-head in the boring competition at the conference’s Hand Tool Olympics.

The two first met in boring battle at the Hand Tool Olympics in St. Charles, Ill., where they vied for last place (Megan came in third from last. Go Megan!)

This week in the office, things are getting ugly.

Heather stopped me in the lunch room and said she had three (printable) words for Megan: “Game on, girl!”

I took the message to Megan. She replied:

“Oh, she is going down!”

Quick side note: Megan issued this counter-challenge while snacking on a little spreadable goat cheese that was blended with Vermont butter and spread on a freshly baked herbed mini-baguette.

But before you put all your money on Heather, rest assured that Megan is going to practice at boring. I told her she didn’t need any practice.

I am so dead.

– Christopher Schwarz

27 thoughts on “Woodworking in America: The First Boring Catfight

  1. David

    OK, For the ignorant among us that haven’t been to WIA, who is pictured at the top of the blog entry?

    P.S. – You should consider making this contest tougher. Jennings-pattern bits are for weenies, as they were a massive improvement over the shell, nose, and center bits in common use before the Jennings pattern took over in the 19th century. The contest would be considerably more interesting with a couple of wooden, plated braces and a couple of shell bits!

  2. megan

    Gary,
    I’ll take all the constructive criticism you have to offer –– I need a cadre of coaches if I’m going to win this thing (and I _am_ going to win this thing!).

  3. AAAndrew

    Um, Sean

    Think this through, man. This is not comment on the skills, personalities or goodness in the hearts of the wonderful people of Woodworking Magazine, or in the field of woodworking in general, but with just a very few exceptions, I’ve not seen many woodworkers who could pull off a calendar shot fully clothed, let alone dressed a la mere.

    I distinctly remember at last years WIA conference the average size and age of participants being just slightly less than that of the Allosaurus. I count myself as just to the first sigma outside the mean, so I know of what I speak.

    I think we’d make more money for charity to let the objects speak for themselves. Tool and furniture p*rn sells every time. I would pay for a calendar of some of the best sepia-toned photos from Woodworking Magazine or the blog gracing each month with a bunch of the wonderful quotes that come with them. You could even mark on certain days "Good time to fell a tree in the Northern Hemisphere before the sap starts to rise" or some such things like the Farmer’s Almanac.

    Plenty of shots of tools, furniture and work benches. Throw in a color photo of a Wayne Anderson or Karl Holtey plane, maybe a little vaseline on the lens and you’ve got yourself a keeper.

    AAAndrew

  4. Charles

    LOL @ Rob. I was thinking the same exact thing! Maybe "Eye of the Tiger" should be Megan’s entrance song as she makes her way to the pit… I can see the banner at WIA now:
    Bore and Gore, WIA 2009. Brace yourself… and I expect Megan to proclaim before the match, in her best gangster voice, "Friends, Wianitions, woodworkers, lend me your ears; I come to bury Heather, not to praise her"

    Vegas has Megan as a 5/4 favorite.

  5. Sean

    Did you ever think of producing a calendar: "The Women of Woodworking"? I bet there are lots of subscribers who would appreciate fine shots of Megan and others engaged in woodworking activities (a la Mag Ruffman) for posting on their shop walls above the bench. You could donate the profits to charity. It would be fun. From there, you could move on to a an annual swimsuit issue of Woodworking magazine. ;-)

  6. Guy Forthofer

    Before Heather said "Game on, girl" did she move her chaw to one side of her cheek, and did she punctuate the comment with a black torpedo to the sawdust barrel?

    - Guy

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