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A few weeks ago, heavy rains hit the mid-Atlantic States hard. My family was lucky. We escaped any damage. But my basement woodshop flooded for the first time in seven years. A small plumbing disaster years earlier convinced me of the necessity to prepare for such eventualities. My tool chest is on 2 by lumber, and I tend not to store lumber vertically. I have no cardboard boxes on the floor. The storm provided me with the opportunity to thoroughly clean my shop. I was struck by how generally clean it was before the flood. Though I try to keep my work area clean for my articles, working by hand just seems cleaner than working with machines. It’s just another nice aspect of working wood by hand.
Pennsbury Manor’s annual sheep shearing day was a beautiful day for 2,500 local grammar-school kids. I cut a few mouldings by eye using what hollows and rounds we had that were sharp enough to use, while my fellow joiners, Gene and Dave, described early 18th-century woodworking and fielded questions. Shortly after this picture was taken, a little girl and her friends wanted to know about my clothes. They had excellent questions. Where did they get the cloth? How did they make things red? Could they make pink?
I guess folks enjoy complaining about “kids these days,” but I find them intelligent and curious and always well behaved. After answering the little girl’s questions to the best of my ability, she had one more question that made my day: “Is the reason they all wore wigs because they were all bald like you?” Now you can’t laugh at a child who asks such a question, so I needed a second to compose myself. In that second I realized she was mostly correct. Louis XIV started the wig craze when he went bald. See what I mean about how smart kids are?
If you get the opportunity to share your woodworking with kids, take it.