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Goodbye old friends.

I’ve always aspired to be one of those handymen who has every tool for every job, enough knowledge to handle any repair, and just the right piece of scrap lumber on hand for every single situation. My great grandfather, having lived through the great depression, was far more inclined to fix something than toss it, and his garage was filled with little mason jars holding every type of fastener possible. He would even collect tennis balls from the court across the street after hours, and each time we would visit, he would have another can or two of balls for us to play with. So it should come as no surprise that I never turn down the opportunity from some free wood or scrap when it’s presented. I’ve amassed quite the collection and was feeling pretty good about my ability to undertake any project with what I had on hand.

In a revelation that surprised only me, it turned out that the more wood I had in the shop, the more crowded the shop became. The more crowded my work area is, the less woodworking I do. And if I’m not doing any woodworking, the lumber continues to amass. With everything going on in the world, the state of my workbench had gone largely unnoticed by myself, until recently, when my Mom asked to borrow some wood glue for a project she was doing with my kids.  I headed out to the shop and realized that there was no direct path to my bench. I would have to crawl over all my stacks of lumber and bags of scraps just to reach the glue bottle.

Obviously, I needed to do something about this. I hate throwing things away though, especially during a lumber shortage. So I took the only rational path forward and pilled up a ton of unwanted wood on the curb. Less than a day later, and almost everything had been picked up. I enjoy imagining what sort of projects the wood will go towards. Maybe it will be a desk for someone working at home, or a toy for a grandchild. In reality, I’m probably just perpetuating the same cycle of scrap hoarding that plagues so many woodworkers. For now though, I’m just happy I’ve freed up space in my shop- there’s a great deal on craigslist for some leftover walnut I just can’t pass up.


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Showing 2 comments
  • keith mealy

    I got some doors from a church that was remodeling. There were not a lot of big pieces in them as the were French doors. But I’ve made 4 jewelry boxes and a box for genealogy files, gave some to a friend that does a lot of segmented turning and still have a box left for some future projects.

    I’ve always said that I didn’t have a chance — descendent of subsistence farmers, who lived through the great depression, and were of Scot heritage.

    • Collin Knoff

      As long as you can still get to your workbench you’re doing fine. It’s great to hear that you’ve given those old doors new life!

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