It’s just one of those things …
Its taken me a few days to get my thoughts together to write this post. I want to start by saying thank you to the anonymous person(s) that recommended my little blog to unpluggedshop.com. I can truly say that Paul Sellers and the great folks he works with have truly changed my life for the better. So too, have all the great blog writers that contribute to the daily feed I read everyday on unpluggedshop.com. Writers and woodworkers like Ralph Boumenot over at accidentalwoodworker.com have shown me that persistence and working through mistakes and failures are what make you a better woodworker and a better person. I truly thank all of them.
So here’s the funny-ish story. About a year ago to the day I had taken my then 81 year old mom to the ER because I thought she had the flu. She didn’t. She had a type of cancer called multiple myeloma and it had caused her kidneys to fail. She was dying. That was one of those moments where you thought you knew what the world was all about and then 30 seconds later the world is changed in a way you never could have foreseen. Twelve months on and many medical visits later she is doing great. She still lives on her own, around the corner from me and my family. She has 4 grandkids to keep her busy. Things are good.
Just before mom got sick, I had started one of my most ambitious pieces. A 6 ft tall 3 foot wide bookcase with all hand cut stopped dados and stub tenoned cross rails. I designed it and drew out all its critical dimensions by myself, based on Paul’s book case, but more square to my liking. I was very proud of the design. Surprising myself, I dimensioned all the boards and had all the shelves cut and fit, the top cap cut and fit, and the first of 3 cross rails cut and fit. Then I had to put all woodworking down and not touch it for a year. All my woodworking at that time was arm chair, but reading all the great work on unplugged shop everyday kept me sane. Ralph, in particular, is a machine. He writes a post every day and posts it at ohh-dark-thirty, so it was my first read almost every day. Thank you Ralph. Dr. Visit days, Chemo-therapy days, Dad Soccer coaching days, Ralph and unplugged shop was always there for me.
So this summer. I rearranged my shop and forced myself to get back to the bench and finish the bookcase. I did it. What’s more, I felt like writing again. So I blogged about it. Then it was easier and easier to both get back in the shop and to write about what I love to do.
So here’s the funny part. The ‘you thought you knew how the world worked part’. Sunday morning September 24th, 2017 I was actually thinking to myself. “Hey if I can keep this up for the next 2 or 3 years I can build up a body of work like Ralph, Brian Eve or Bob Rozaieski and then maybe someone will think my stuff is good enough to be on Unplugged Shop.” Then at about 10:30 PM I posted a progress post on my Eclipse Vise install silliness. As I was closing up the shop to go to bed I sat down to stare at my bench for a few closing minutes. Ok, don’t judge. At the end of the day I sit and stare at my bench because it makes me happy. This night I was as happy as I could be. I had a new massive 10 inch vise that I’d waited four years to get hanging off my bench. The world couldn’t get any better. And then it did.
I picked up my phone and decided to see if there was anything new on unplugged shop. Then it happened. There was my ugly mug and the post I had just made. I was speechless. I ran into the house to show my wife and try and explain it to her. She was super supportive, thank you honey I love you. But who else could I tell, unless you are a blogging woodworker I don’t know if you really get what an honor it was to me. I was and still am dumbfounded. So, to all of you out there, thank you and I will try to maintain the high standards of the great work you do. So I say again, humbly, thank you.
Christopher P. Barnes (Chris 😉 )