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This year’s Woodworking in America was a landmark event for me.

After seriously considering getting a set of astronaut diapers last year, this year I got to go to the bathroom twice – twice! – during the three days.

The only downside to this life of bladderly leisure is that I missed it when Michel Auriou stopped by my booth to say hello. As I was indisposed, my booth-mates told me that Michel looked through my tool chest and was deeply disturbed that my rasps, which were made by his company, were sitting out and their teeth were touching one another.

Yes, this is bad form. I know that. But I can explain.

Usually I store my rasps in a nice cotton bag where they are rolled up so that the teeth cannot come in contact with other teeth. The bag is secured with a strong rubber band from broccoli. (We waste nothing in our house. I must have 1,000 rubber bands in the house.)

However, let me say that the bag itself might offend Michel’s culinary sensibilities.

Yes, it is a bag for grits. We eat grits every week in our house and so we have a lot of these bags sitting around. So I use them to protect my block planes, compasses, marking gauges, extra irons, you name it.

I do get some unusual looks when I open a bag that is filled – filled – with crumpled grits bags full of tools.

If you don’t like it, then you can kiss the bag that holds my grits.

— Christopher Schwarz

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Showing 31 comments
  • RoBanJo

    Grits, oh grits, I knew thee not to Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS. Those Mississippi chefs in that USAF dining hall made me a believer. The great North West is highly diminished IMNSHO due to a lack of Grit-iness in the local cuisine. And did I mention the cheddar cheese grits at Cracker Barrel – it makes me swoon. Thanks for the great blog.

  • Jason

    The next time you’re in Pittsboro you need to force Roy to take you over to Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill. When I was a poor college kid I managed to save enough money to eat there at least a couple of times a month. That’s not an easy thing to do when you’re 19 and distracted by women, rugby, women, beer, and women, but dang if it wasn’t worth it.

  • John Cashman

    I’m from the Northeast, and I’ve only tried grits once. And I can promise you, once was enough. I’m sorry, but I just fail to see what it is everyone raves about. And so I won’t be annoying just one part of the country, I’ll throw In-N-Out Burger into the wildly overrated column as well.

    De gustibus non est disputandum.

  • Fred West

    Chris, being born in Baton Rouge and the son of two hardcore southerners I grew up on grits and have always loved them. However, I have never seen a recipe like yours for grits and it makes me salivate like it’s going out of style. Just to show how southern, we used to have our grits, eggs, sausage or bacon, toast and finally buttermilk to drink. When I moved north, no one seemed to know about buttermilk and what they did know seemed to make the gag. 😮

  • MSin

    I prefer polenta

  • robert

    For the three generations prior to mine, my family ran a grain and feed mill. Chicken feed used to come in “dress-print” bags so that farmers wives could re-purpose the bags into aprons, dresses, etc. when the bags were empty. Some took what ever you pulled out of the warehouse and others demanded that the bags match in groups of three – three feed bags being some magical clothes making number.

  • tsstahl

    Hmmm, beats collecting all those Crown Royal bags like I’ve been doing.

    Never been nicked by a power saw blade, but those three steps up from the garage…


  • Steve_OH

    I brought a couple of things to WIA to show Ron Hock and Dan Terbovich, and I wrapped them in old Japanese ryokan towels (they’re promotional things–they have the ryokan’s address, phone number, etc. on them–we use them for dish towels), secured with rubber bands from asparagus.


  • atcooley

    Well Chris that is my favorite story of True Grits… seriously I was wondering if you would do a blog on setting up one of the manual miter Boxes like the Miller Falls or similar and if you use a sacrificial base? Thanks

  • Bill Lattanzio

    I have to admit, I’ve never used a grit bag to protect my tools. I usually use old t shirts. I do however like grits. Being a boy from the heart of Philadelphia I had never had them until at 19 I was stationed in Georgia and had them most every morning for breakfast. Here I am almost 20 years later still missing them. Maybe I should get some; I do need a pouch to store my block plane..

  • Bowyerboy

    You have nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, there is something of a precedent. Back in the 1940’s and ’50’s flour companies used to ship their flour in bags with patterns so homemakers could use them to make clothes. My father remembers my grandmother making the entire family underwear from them. Maybe you can use grits bags to make astronaut diapers for next year.

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