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 In End Grain

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1. Pop and his wife on a homemade trailer.

When a family friend recently visited my new cabinet shop, he commented, “Your dad and grandpa would’ve loved this place. It wasn’t always like this!” He meant that although both men were pro woodworkers at various times in their lives, neither ever experienced the pleasant working conditions, robust tools, or the wide variety of materials, finishes and other resources that we enjoy today–and at times perhaps take for granted.

As I thought about this later, it brought back good memories–images, sounds and aromas–that I hadn’t consciously pondered in decades. In the 1950s, when health issues forced my maternal grandfather (“Pop”) to retire early, he set up a small wood shop. Pop still did his daily work on an ancient 8″ bench saw with a rag tied over his face to mitigate the dust, and we couldn’t take more than two steps without bumping into a tool, a wall or each other.


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