Small Scraps and Simple Pleasures | Popular Woodworking Magazine
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Last Friday afternoon I was paid a surprise visit by my girlfriend. She had the day off, so it was nice to have her see a day in the life of an Associate Editor for the Web.

Unfortunately, watching me edit the BookShop News newsletter isn’t as exciting as she thought, and pretty soon thumb twiddling ensued.

Not wanting to bore her to tears I finished up my work, looked up and said “Wanna go make something?”

Her eyes lit up, and I saw the wheels churning as she thought about the endless possibilities.

“What could we make?” she asked.

Being the good boyfriend, I replied “Let’s go make some jewelry.”

I ushered her into the shop and we headed straight to the scrap bin. “Ooh, this is pretty , what’s this?” she inquired.

“That’s cherry,” I said, “and this is oak, and this is walnut.” I held up a nice size off-cut from a Bible box project to be featured in the October issue.

“I like that one!” she said. Apparently that wasn’t the only scrap she liked , her arms were already full of strips of cherry and oak.

What she doesn’t know is at this time I was furiously thinking about what in the world we could make with this piece of walnut that she could be proud of making and I wouldn’t have to lose fingers. Remembering a conversation she and I had the other day I suggested we make a ring.

Bob Lang was in the shop with us so I asked him what he thought. Apparently, because rings are circular, grain direction wouldn’t matter too much (it would be weak at least on two points). Knowing my girlfriend’s jewelry preference, I knew she’d design something huge and chunky , so grain strength was no longer a worry.

With that reassurance in mind, my girlfriend busted out her art school skills and drafted a design on the block using Bob’s compass. Then it was off to the drill press. At first excited about our speed of progress, I soon found myself dumbfounded with the realization that I have no clue how to size this ring. Staring into the box of Forstner bits I began pondering about ring size conversion charts when my girlfriend broke my trance , she took off her silver ring, grabbed a few bits and handed me the one that fit inside.

“Here,” she said, “use this one.”

She’s a keeper.

I quickly drilled the hole and then headed to the band saw to cut out the shape. That was my favorite part. With my work done, I could now teach my girlfriend about how to use a rasp. In no time we were back in my cubicle, with her joyfully shaping her ring. She even wrote a song about it:

“Oh tiny rasp, why are you so tiny? Because I help you get into small spaces.”

With her work nearly completed, we went back into the shop for some final sanding.  In no time she had a beautiful ring entirely of her own design, entirely homemade.

Although this was a very simple project compared to a dovetailed Bible box, it was nice to share with my girlfriend how you can make something yourself that you’ll love and cherish.

I need to get into the shop more often.

, Drew DePenning

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Showing 2 comments
  • Bruce Jackson

    Hey Drew,

    You’re right. The lady’s a keeper!

  • Rob

    I salute the man who can give his woman jewelry without spending one cent. Your example is an inspiration to men everywhere. I bow down to your genius.


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