Chris Schwarz's Blog

They Grow Up So Fast

I’ve had the title “editor” at this magazine for about five or six years now, and I’ve found that it is mostly a toothless position. I don’t really control when your magazine arrives in your mailbox, the condition it is in or the tide chart in southern New Jersey.

But there are a few things that I can rule with an iron fist (but not when working on the powered jointer). In our woodshop here in Cincinnati, I want you to build your own workbench. I don’t care if you ignore my guidelines on the process (though you will hear about it the entire time). I don’t care if you use pine, maple, ash or even foam core.

But I want it to be your workbench. I want it to inspire you to step up to it every day and do something that will amaze me. I want it to be a reflection of you, your work and the tools you take up.

So this week has been a trying one for me. Megan Fitzpatrick has been building a workbench for her home shop, and I have tried to be helpful. I’ve offered advice on the shape of the chop of her face vice.

Advice denied.

I offered to help her mill the complex blocks for her Benchcrafted Glide Vise.

Help denied.

I’ve taken photos of her working on her bench that I could sell on the Internet.

I won’t deny it. Ask me for my PayPal address.

The point here is that Megan has become more than just a managing editor at Popular Woodworking Magazine. This week she has broken free of the constraints imposed by all the other woodworkers in our shop and has become one of us.

And you should congratulate her.

It’s hard enough to earn the respect of three other grumpy guys who are set in their ways. But it is even harder when you are a woman. You might not agree with me on that point, but I believe it to be true.

So next time you see Megan (perhaps this weekend at Woodworking in America), you should know that this bench is all her doing, from the proportions to the joinery. Yeah, I got to help. But I was second fiddle to her designs and her decisions.

– Christopher Schwarz

– Our new “The Workbench Design Book” is just about to ship. Get yours now before someone on the Internet says I’m a jerkweed and a sellout. When that happens, I’m going to go cry to my mama.

8 thoughts on “They Grow Up So Fast

  1. Bill Siegl

    It is an awesome bench and I really hope she has access to a forklift to move it. Any guess as to the weight?

    Bill Siegl

  2. Mike S.

    Not to get too off topic, but I’ve got a thing for redheads who know their way around hand tools.

    What was that paypal address Chris? 😉

  3. Stuart Hough

    Kudos to you, Megan! I admire your drive! I also envy you for having the toy room to play in that is the Popular Woodworking shop. You have inspired me to get out there and finish my own bench, already almost a year in the making. Damn the splinters, full speed ahead!

  4. Eric R

    I was thinking the other day how far Megan has progressed in her skills since I’ve been a member.

    She may say she has a lot to learn, but she has a helluva powerful "want to" and that’s the best part !

    Way to go Megan.

  5. Bob Demers

    Yeah, I kinda got that feeling reading her blog entries on it. But it is a good thing to remind us all how, she really made it her own, and yes she deserve nothing but our collective praise for a job well done.

    Megan, you are quickly becoming real woodworker, and a good one at that! Im impressed, and in the back of my mind I really envy you. For you are blessed with having the priviledge of learning from the best. Keep up the good work, and hold your head high up, that bench of yours is turning out to be a real beauty!

    Sincerely, Bob

  6. Ron

    I think she is sneaking a nap in the bench. Go turn on a loud machine.

    Really close.

    :^)

    She does get full marks for that bench though.

  7. PickeringMike

    While I can’t go to WIA this year, I’ll add my congratulations in spirit. There’s just something about completing ones pwn bench. May it serve you well for many years to come!

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