For the past couple weeks, I’ve been hunkered in the bunker out here in the Virginia Highlands, only partly because a) it was Thanksgiving week and b) we got a foot-and-a-half of snow earlier in the week. No, the culprit behind the current spate of sedentary-ness has been the tasks of c) reviewing and revising the completed text, and d) selecting, editing and captioning the approximately 450 images that will impart great richness to “Virtuoso: The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley.”
The chapter inventorying the tool cabinet and its contents is slated for – at this point – more than 275 photographs! Because I will be sending the FINAL version to Chris a week from Monday I will be “nose to the grindstone” until that occurrence.
Some weeks ago, as I had the written manuscript in its final stages, I confessed to Chris that my enthusiasm for the project was flagging a bit and I was frankly pretty tired. His reply took me by surprise. Paraphrased, he exhorted me with the dictum that no book project is really finished until some time after the point where its contributors want to put it on the table, pile manure on it, whip out the butane lighter and set it on fire.
Given the current usage of the wood stove here in the cabin, I don’t need no stinking lighter.
Midnight tonight (Nov. 29, 2014) is the last time you will see free domestic shipping on Roy Underhill’s “Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!” The book is $29. Shipping and handling fees will be about $7.
To give you a further taste of this funny book, today I took our video camera to the home of Megan Fitzpatrick, who edited the book for us. Megan read one of her favorite chapters. It’s a bit long, but it’s a good one.
While she was reading it I laughed at a joke in the chapter I hadn’t caught before: Brown University. See if you can catch the joke in the reading. The book is absolutely filled with little things like this that you don’t get unless you read it with care.
I’d say that Roy is the Thomas Pynchon of woodworking novelists, but as this is the first-ever woodworking novel, he’s also the Danielle Steel of woodworking novelists.
Anyway, enjoy Megan’s scolding of her cat JJ at the beginning of the video.
There is a certain segment of my extended family that has a theory about garbage disposals.
Their theory, and I will try to be as neutral as possible, is that sink-installed garbage disposals are bad. Quite bad. Why? Well the disposals make a sort of gray paste out of all the foods that you grind up with this seemingly handy kitchen appliance.
This paste gets caked to the inside of your pipes and attracts rats. The rats crawl up the pipe of your sink to eat the gray paste. Eventually, they crawl into your home – hungry and with a taste for meat….
I encounter this theory during holidays and other family occasions, and I let it pass without comment. I don’t have the time, energy or electronic scope to bother. Some other members of the family (no names here) have figured out that the dangerous gray paste is a myth. We maintain our silence together.
This is how I deal with stupidity on the Internet.
Most serious woodworkers I know don’t have the time or patience to debunk all the idiotic stuff that gets passed around as fact. We roll our eyes and simply continue to do what we do. Who knows? Perhaps we’re the dolts and the rats will come eat our entrails one night.
My fellow journalists will chastise me for failing to jump into this battle between truth and falsehood. I admit that at times I am tempted to ride a steed down the hill into the melee, though I know it’s a waste of time. Why?
There is no Church of Woodworking. No true gospel of bark. Woodworking information is more like food than it is like religion. You are responsible for the information you consume. Try a little bit of everything – we all need a little junk food – but ultimately you are what you eat.
Consume the things that make you more productive. Things that get you in the shop and building stuff, instead of wondering how much chromium is in an exotic alloy. That’s the difference between protein and marshmallow puff.
And don’t condemn the Ding Dongs. Have one every year or so – the empty calories will remind you of what good food is.
Christopher Clarke Antiques has released its latest catalog of campaign furniture called “An Officer’s Room,” which you can download for free from the company’s web site here.
Sean and Simon Clarke were extremely generous and helpful as I was researching English military and travel furniture for my book “Campaign Furniture.” The brother’s catalogs are a wealth of information on campaign furniture and include lots of original research into the makers and patents that are important to the style.
This catalog is no different. I’ve read it through twice – especially the section on the Fenby patent chairs, which I am researching now so I can reproduce them.
If you like campaign furniture, this catalog is a free little treat for you. By the way, all of the pieces in the catalog are for sale, in case you are also a furniture collector.
You can now watch two episodes on Roy Underhill’s “The Woodwright’s Shop” on campaign furniture that we taped earlier this year by following this link.
Use the arrows below the main screen to scroll over to the episodes you want to watch.
One of the episodes is an introduction to the style and a demonstration of cutting lapped full-blind dovetails. The second episode shows my strategies for fitting inlaid corner brasses and campaign pulls.
I wish we would have demonstrated something additional: Roy trimming my hair. All I can think while watching these episodes is: Get a haircut, hippie. And a job.
The pieces shown in the episode are also featured in my book “Campaign Furniture,” which is available in our store and through our retailers. We are almost sold out of the the first edition of this book and we will be returning to press to print the second edition shortly. So if you are one of those people who collects first editions, consider yourself warned.