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Thursday, 29 December 2011


Now sit down, and take a deep breath.

This post will be intentionally devoid of all cynicism, sarcasm, irony and even misdirected humour.

It's all about wood.

I admit it, I love wood.

I love the smell freshly planed pine makes.

I love the feel of the subtle grains as I stroke them with glass paper.

I adore the exceptional smoothness combined with an underlying hardness that exists when a piece is finished, just before the wax/Danish Oil/Varnish/Polyurethane finish is applied.

A Danish Oil finish

It's my hobby.

In the past I've made wardrobes, kitchen units, chairs, tables, beds, workbenches, writing desks, makeup tables and once, a complete shower cabinet.

I can escape from all of the normal troubles and woes of everyday existence and loose myself in the planing, design and manufacture of the desired object.

I am just finishing a set of Mahjong Tile Racks for my Beloved.  She just started to play this year, and is seemingly becoming quite good at it, so I bought a good set of Mahjong tiles for her Christmas present, and I think a set of tile racks would just finish it off.

They're relatively easy to make, but quite hard to get the complete satin-feel finish I strive for, especially where the internal angled cuts meet.

My son just came down to my garage/workshop and reminded me it was 9:00 pm and that I should join them in the family room.  I'd been engrossed in sanding a piece for the past 2 hours and had lost track of time.

I am really looking forward to the next 2-4 days of planing, sanding and finishing the racks.

Did you know that a properly finished piece of wood has the same feel as the gently curved flesh of a nubile young woman?

I wonder why I like woodworking so much.


  1. "Wood" of course, being a beautifully ambiguous word too!

    I totally understand the physical pleasure of working with such a material. In my textile and yarn importer days I used to get quite transfixed and mesmerised on the very occasions when, apart from the tons of boring polycotton that passed through my hands, I had the chance to handle something really lovely like merino or cashmere, and I still get the odd strange look from shopkeepers when I am fingering their fabrics (I realise Carry On that last phrase sounds but I wasn't being funny).

    We're still using these crappy flimsy plastic IKEA wardrobe efforts here, so it's 22 Acacia Avenue, Lancaster, oop North, if you ever want to develop your talents overseas.

  2. Okay, just to clear up a point, you're down there running your fingers over this young lady, I mean piece of wood and no one is flying the toy helicopter. Did it crash, or something? Did the batteries go flat? Please finish one story before beginning the next.

  3. TSB, is there a scientific evolutionary reason why a piece of wood should feel like a young woman? Hey, I'm a thinking kind of guy.

  4. looby: Wood?
    I know not of which you speak.

    I totally understand (Eww, that sounded so Californian, sorry) touch is a very strange sense. It doesn't seem to get overloaded as much as the other senses. In my younger days, I used to just touch and stroke my beloved for hours, just enjoying the pure sensuous smoothness of her skin.
    I've also noticed that the more I smooth and sandpaper a piece (of wood) I'm working on, the more sensitive my fingers get, and the smoother and softer my fingers feel to others. At the moment, after 2 days of sandpapering (down to grade 000) my fingers are smoother than a baby's bum.

    Thanks for the offer about the wardrobe, but I found out that woodworking doesn't pay the bills as well as teaching does, so stick with IKEA. Actually we have been wanting IKEA to open a store anywhere in NZ for the last 10 years. You don't know how lucky you are. (Kiwi joke here)

    As regards textiles, I've often wondered why women in particular like silk. I think I prefer really smooth cotton. I'm actually wearing a cheap and cheerful T-shirt from the Warehouse at the moment, and it's deliciously soft and comfortable, and only cost me $6.

  5. Richard [of RBB]: I am a man of complex contradictions and capable of multi-tasking. Actually woodworking is more fun. The remote controlled rotary flight evaluation model just goes up and down. Boring. AND the misiles don't explode, just go "ping".

    Planing, sanding and rubbing wood is much more satisfying.

  6. Mr Spurt: Long time no hear (thank goodness) Richard[of RBB], I thought you'd promised to keep taking the tablets to cut down on the multi-personality disorder?

    Get back on the pills man.

  7. As someone who is unable to make things with my hands I envy your talent.

  8. Laoch of Chicago: It is an aquired skill. I went to an academic school where woodworking and metal working were not taught.
    I had to attend evening classes after I got married to develop my skills, definitely worthwhile.


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