In Shop Blog

We may receive a commission when you use our affiliate links. However, this does not impact our recommendations.

After my gruesome dovetails of the day before (no, I don’t have any photos), I hoped I was done with disasters for the week in the class at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking.

Then my wife called.

We needed to ship out 18 boxes of books on a truck on Friday morning. The boxes were too heavy for her to move. I was in Indianapolis. She was in Northern Kentucky. So after class I got in the car and made the 90-mile drive home to move 500 pounds of books up from the basement.

As I was moving these boxes, I remembered something that made my bowels loosen a tad.

As soon as I finished the class at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking, I had to scoot down to North Carolina to shoot two episodes of “The Woodwright’s Shop” with Roy Underhill (and then teach for three days).

And yikes, I hadn’t prepared the stock for the show.

On the show we’re building the same English Layout Square we’re building in the class. But the students had used up all the parts prepared for the class. So I went to my shop and checked my wood rack. Things looked mighty bare, and I turned my eye to a walnut cabinet I’m building. All the beautiful walnut drawer front stock for the cabinet was siting there. I could use that, I thought, but then I’d be behind on the cabinet.

Then I saw something out of the corner of my eye at the top of the lumber rack. I reached up to get it. It was smooth stock. I pulled it down. Lo and behold, it was eight pieces of beautiful quartersawn walnut I had prepared for a demonstration on building the English Layout Square many months ago.

I was all ready for the show.

So I went upstairs and visited with my wife for a few minutes before heading back to Indianapolis. I never get lucky like that. Perhaps I’m being cosmically rewarded for fessing up about my sloppy joint to the entire world.

— Christopher Schwarz

Other Videos in this Series

• Tools that Talk to One Another

• To the Assistant Maggots: Cheers!

• My Trashiest Dovetails in 10 Years

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

Recommended Posts
Showing 10 comments
  • Miller

    So… let’s get this straight,

    You rush home, find your some wood you haven’t seen for months, and run upstairs for a quick visit with your wife.

    I’d say that’s pretty much the definition of getting lucky!

  • Nate

    That’s cool to get lucky with just a few minutes…

  • tjhenrik

    At some point or on you next trip there, head North to Jockimoes Pizza and enjoy great pizza and a Sun King on tap … amazing what the combination can help you forget.


  • Michael H

    Nice T Shirts.

  • Fred West

    Chris, Isn’t it great that you have resigned from Pop Wood and now your life is so much less hectic? 😮 😮 Fred

  • Bill


    I’m hoping your “less tight” dovetails are immortalized on the walls at MASW as are everyone else’s that take Marc’s joinery class. The “less tight comes from an expression we use in our house. I.e., “hair doesn’t turn gray, it turns “less brown””.


  • Steve_OH

    On the other hand, it could be a cruel karmic trick. You could be working on the square, with the cameras rolling, and have the wood explode in your hands.

    You know what they say about karma…


  • billlattpa

    It’s always nice you find something unexpected in your shop, almost like finding a tool you didn’t know you had. But would still like to see those dovetail photos if you could get around to posting them..

  • lawrence

    Nothing wrong with life handing you roses every once in a while. Congrats on your good fortune and I hope the rest of your trip is as smooth as the beginning.

    Nice square too by the way–

  • awelker757


    Its the little moments that the difference. We all have good days and bad days. I would bet that the dovetails weren’t as bad as you are making them.
    We are our own worst critics.

Start typing and press Enter to search