Behind the Scenes: Home Alone - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Behind the Scenes: Home Alone

 In Shop Blog, Woodworking Blogs

Each Holiday season we are blessed, or cursed, with that Hollywood production of Home Alone starring Macaulay Culkin. And each year I wonder why this is an annual presentation. This year I had a bit of insight to how it feels to be left alone and, as in the movie, I grew to enjoy that time before succumbing to the idea that having friends, family or co-workers around helps us cope.

Being the new guy at Popular Woodworking, I had not accumulated many days of vacation time, so I was in the office almost all week by myself. Chris Schwarz, executive editor, stopped in a few hours on a couple of days to work on a new workbench design, but Robert Lang, senior editor, Megan Fitzpatrick, managing editor, and Linda Watts, art director, were not seen, nor heard from during the week.

For Bob and Megan it was a chance to get away from a hectic schedule that saw them completing a number of magazine issues of which I got in at the end. Yeah for me! I am sure that they both will return fully rested and ready to punch out the next issues.

Linda had another reason to be out along with the Holiday time. Sadly, Linda lost her Mother the week before Christmas. I can only imagine the various emotions that she endured during this supposedly joyous time. I am sure that she and her family remembered, and will continue to remember the great times and happy events that were shared throughout the years. In my opinion that is how we live on , in the memories of others. Linda has our deepest sympathies.

Back in the shop, time alone was not just to sit back and reflect. I had a job to do. I had to build the cover project for the next issue of the magazine. And, I had the time to search, as opposed to simply asking someone, to find the tool locations and where the items were in the shop that I would come to need on a project-by-project basis.

The job was to build a stacking of Barrister Bookcases , a new piece for me. I had never built this type of set-up. We had discussed this project during one of our production meetings and had reached a decision that these would be the easiest Barrister bookcases that anyone would ever build. We all put in our ideas and when we finished, Bob was given the task to whip them into a working plan. He did just that.
When these units are published I’m sure that you’ll agree that they are that simple to build and you’ll want more than one stack. This culmination of ideas displays that synergistic concept.

Off to the shop I went to build the units. Work progressed nicely as you can see in the photo. The bookcases are in the finishing stages and that will be just in time because when we all return in the next year, the barristers need to be shot for a cover and opener.

I spent a few extra hours wondering around the shop finding the tools and making sure that I have become more acquainted with the Pop Wood shop. I am feeling comfortable with my new digs and have found that old habits are again creeping into my work.

It seems that I have this ability to work for a number of days without returning stuff to its proper place. Next thing I know I am searching the tables and benches for tools instead of going to the exact spot where they are stored and picking them up. Then, I spend the time putting things back in order just to start the entire process again.

I enjoyed the first few days working in the shop, but home alone or in the shop alone, I found that it is nice to have people around. I will enjoy having the others back from the Holiday where we can continue the banter and chit chat, the brainstorming on projects and articles, the camaraderie and the all around fun that is had working at woodworking.

See you in 2007. May all your woodworking, as well as life, exceed your expectations.

Build Something Great!
Glen Huey

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Showing 4 comments
  • Mike Wenzloff

    Hi Glen,

    Possibly by the time you see this, the new year will have begun. I wish you and all at PopWood a wonderful 2007.

    There’s a thread started tonight on WoodCentral about the positive changes for PopWood, its direction and tone. It’s true.

    So all I can add is, keep on keeping on. I look forward to what you have in store for us through your first full year.

    Take care, Mike

  • Glen D. Huey

    Hey John, thanks for the note. This design and ease of construction will push you past that procrastination and on to a great set of Barristers. You have a great sense of humor. Would you call that freud(woodworking tools)-ian slip?

  • John Hanlon

    Glen, I enjoyed your reflections and really look forward to the project because I’ve been procrastinating building the barrister bookcases forever. But what I’m really looking forward to is the shooting of the barristers for the cover. Is there a season for that? Sorry, I just couldn’t resist a little end of year humor.

  • Glen D. Huey

    Right you are Karl. This time of year we all need resolutions and while mine, like most, seem to be centered around that weight thing, I like your idea. Not finishing the day before clearing the bench of tools is a task that should be developed into a habit. I believe that it takes seven days to create a habit. I’ll start on Monday!

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