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I mean, who doesn’t like a good girl fight?

In high school, fights among the boys were boring. Lots of posturing. Maybe some shoving. At best they might clasp into some Greco-Roman grip that would immobilize both of them for up to five minutes. Yawn.

Give me Heather “Cat Food” Barker vs. Tammy “Runs With Scissors” Gentry any day. There was always some hair pulling. The occasional dirty punch. And, if you got lucky, some good bloody fingernail scratches.

And that is exactly what you are going to see at Woodworking in America in Valley Forge, Pa., on Oct. 2-4. Heather Griffin, the conference’s organizer, and Megan Fitzpatrick, our managing editor, have vowed to compete head-to-head in the boring competition at the conference’s Hand Tool Olympics.

The two first met in boring battle at the Hand Tool Olympics in St. Charles, Ill., where they vied for last place (Megan came in third from last. Go Megan!)

This week in the office, things are getting ugly.

Heather stopped me in the lunch room and said she had three (printable) words for Megan: “Game on, girl!”

I took the message to Megan. She replied:

“Oh, she is going down!”

Quick side note: Megan issued this counter-challenge while snacking on a little spreadable goat cheese that was blended with Vermont butter and spread on a freshly baked herbed mini-baguette.

But before you put all your money on Heather, rest assured that Megan is going to practice at boring. I told her she didn’t need any practice.

I am so dead.

– Christopher Schwarz

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Showing 27 comments
  • Tony

    Knot that I pine for the old days, when we only heard about men in woodworking, but there is a fine line easily crossed when it comes to sexism. My wife, the best trim carpenter I ever had, quit because of the "attention" men were paying toward her on the jobsites. We all appreciate the fine skills demonstrated by woodworkers regardless of gender. Let’s keep it that way. I figure treat women the way you want your daughter treated and you should do alright.

  • Brady Seymore

    Calendar? What…wait a min…..where do I fill out the order form? You didn`t include the LINK!

    Now I`m depressed……..:(, was so hoping to get a copy before they all sold out.

  • Larry

    That board looks like MDF

    Is that fair?

    Weight is all wrong, shoulder should be in line with bit, not in the middle, body is too far back, it should be over move the board closer to the body.

    And cheat if you must, dont drill on a knot.

  • Jay Hitchens

    I just want to know if Megan is playing a bit part???

  • Heather

    Hello All-

    I’d like to make it known that I have never touched a hand tool in my life before the Pheasant Run event and I still came so close to beating Megan who has touched many a hand tool in her life….impressive???? I think so!!!!!


    P.S. I’d also like it to be known that I will NOT be wearing a swimsuit during this event!!!! What Chris does in his free time is his business.

  • Mike Siemsen

    That would be Megan in the photo.
    The tools used in the competition are donated and are given to competitors at the awards ceremony. I agree the contest would be more interesting with plated braces and shell bits so I await your donation for WIA!

  • Charles Davis

    Just found out that Kari, a.k.a. The Village Carpenter, has been added to the card:

    I would so shell out the dollars for pay-per-view on this!

  • Kevin Thomas

    This would defintely be worth the price of admission. To bad I already used up my vacation time going to the beach.

  • David

    OK, For the ignorant among us that haven’t been to WIA, who is pictured at the top of the blog entry?

    P.S. – You should consider making this contest tougher. Jennings-pattern bits are for weenies, as they were a massive improvement over the shell, nose, and center bits in common use before the Jennings pattern took over in the 19th century. The contest would be considerably more interesting with a couple of wooden, plated braces and a couple of shell bits!

  • megan

    I’ll take all the constructive criticism you have to offer –– I need a cadre of coaches if I’m going to win this thing (and I _am_ going to win this thing!).

  • Gary Roberts

    That elbow has to be pulled in, not out! Let’s focus on the really important stuff, like proper body positioning. Tsk Tsk Tsk.


  • AAAndrew

    Um, Sean

    Think this through, man. This is not comment on the skills, personalities or goodness in the hearts of the wonderful people of Woodworking Magazine, or in the field of woodworking in general, but with just a very few exceptions, I’ve not seen many woodworkers who could pull off a calendar shot fully clothed, let alone dressed a la mere.

    I distinctly remember at last years WIA conference the average size and age of participants being just slightly less than that of the Allosaurus. I count myself as just to the first sigma outside the mean, so I know of what I speak.

    I think we’d make more money for charity to let the objects speak for themselves. Tool and furniture p*rn sells every time. I would pay for a calendar of some of the best sepia-toned photos from Woodworking Magazine or the blog gracing each month with a bunch of the wonderful quotes that come with them. You could even mark on certain days "Good time to fell a tree in the Northern Hemisphere before the sap starts to rise" or some such things like the Farmer’s Almanac.

    Plenty of shots of tools, furniture and work benches. Throw in a color photo of a Wayne Anderson or Karl Holtey plane, maybe a little vaseline on the lens and you’ve got yourself a keeper.


  • Christopher Schwarz

    Indeed! Why pay money for what you can get for free?


  • John Cashman

    Put me down for a calendar and the annual Swimsuit issue, but only if Schwarz isn’t in either. I’m not paying money to see him in a Speedo.

  • Charles

    LOL @ Rob. I was thinking the same exact thing! Maybe "Eye of the Tiger" should be Megan’s entrance song as she makes her way to the pit… I can see the banner at WIA now:
    Bore and Gore, WIA 2009. Brace yourself… and I expect Megan to proclaim before the match, in her best gangster voice, "Friends, Wianitions, woodworkers, lend me your ears; I come to bury Heather, not to praise her"

    Vegas has Megan as a 5/4 favorite.

  • Megan

    Ain’t gonna happen.

  • Tom Iovino

    Oh, it’s ON like Donkey Kong!

    I’m gonna try to get a ringside seat for this one. We need a Rocky training montage…..

  • Sean

    Did you ever think of producing a calendar: "The Women of Woodworking"? I bet there are lots of subscribers who would appreciate fine shots of Megan and others engaged in woodworking activities (a la Mag Ruffman) for posting on their shop walls above the bench. You could donate the profits to charity. It would be fun. From there, you could move on to a an annual swimsuit issue of Woodworking magazine. 😉

  • Rob

    When I look at that picture, I can’t help but hear "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor playing.

  • Christopher Schwarz

    Yes, she did.

  • Guy Forthofer

    Before Heather said "Game on, girl" did she move her chaw to one side of her cheek, and did she punctuate the comment with a black torpedo to the sawdust barrel?

    – Guy

  • Christopher Schwarz

    Oh there will be video. We’re planning a showdown at the banquet dinner.

    Chris, who is still alive. So far.

  • Eric Paisley

    This is offensive and repulsive and I’m ashamed that I subscribe to this magazine.

    You’ll put the match on YouTube, right?

  • Dennis Heyza

    I sure hope you don’t drop that board on them sandled tootsies of yours, Megan!

  • Chris Vesper

    COME OONNNN Megan!!! You can do it! Get in there and whip ’em all.

  • Ron Boe

    Chris; You like to live life on the edge don’t you?


  • Sandy Navas

    Christopher, if Al lets me I’ll enter and NOT tell either one of them. I can beat them both, hands-down.

    Sandy Navas

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