I humbly say thank you.

It’s just one of those things …


My Humble little shop with my first large book case on the bench, getting the last cross rails and kick plate fit in.

My Humble little shop with my first large book case on the bench, getting the last cross rails and kick plate fit in.

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 😉 )

First Post on Unplugged Shop

First Post on Unplugged Shop


About senrabc

Hi, this is not really about anything. Just me testing the intertubes with my own random meanderings and thoughts. Ostensibly, big word, I’m using this site as my personal log of sorts. I’m a random guy with 4 kids and a beautiful wife living in sunny Florida. Pardon the gratuitous posts with pictures of cute kids. I have an iPhone and can’t help myself. My day job is working in the area of informatics at the University of Florida where I like the shell. Oh, yeah and incase you can’t tell I like woodworking with handtools. Goes along with my command line philosophy 😉 Thanks for reading. Christopher P. Barnes
This entry was posted in journaling, Paul Sellers inspired bookcase, woodworking, workshop. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to I humbly say thank you.

  1. Matt McGrane says:

    Nice story, Chris. I’ll look forward to more of your stuff on unpluggedshop. Glad your mother is doing OK. I have a 93 YO mom living in Jax, FL and I’m in California, so it’s tough not being able to see her more often. BTW, I’m a Florida Gator – lived in Daytona as a kid and spent 7 years in Gainesville. Chomp, chomp!

  2. senrabc says:

    Thanks for the kind words. I’ll do my best to put my posts out, but expect sloppy dovetails and lots of pine. You might find it interesting. I learned recently that Don Williams, translator of Roubo at Lost Art Press and Smithsonian curator was a gator and learned his trade in a foundry that is still in Archer about 20 miles from me in High Springs. Small world ain’t it. All the best to you and your mom. Go gators.

  3. Hi Chris,
    I have a few projects that still haven’t been completed. One is a shaker sewing desk (a first year wedding anniversary present) I started that and realized quickly it was way over my head at the time. I might revisit it and the others and maybe finish them too.
    Ditto on the happy feelings from being in the shop. When I had my hip replaced I managed to get down to the shop (took a long time) and just looking around made me feel better.
    Keep on woodworking and keep on learning new things. Paul Sellers was a god sent angel as far as I’m concerned that taught me all I know. Even if I do trip and stumble,I am still able to pick myself up and get back to work.

    • senrabc says:

      Thanks Ralph. Now I need to finish my Ralph inspired Laundry cabinet. My wife is wondering when I’ll get it done. I have the case dovetails done and fit, but I need to hand cut the shelf rabbets before I glue up. I’ve always like shaker style. My parents had a lot of antiques in the style. I never noticed them growing up, but now as a woodworker I appreciate their simplicity and function. Take Care – Chris

  4. Brian Eve says:

    Hey Chris,

    Instagram seems to have killed off a lot of woodworking blogs, so I’m glad to have found yours which is new to me (although looking at your history, your blog is older than mine!).

    I’ve never considered that I’ve had a ‘body of work’ before. Thanks for the chuckle

    • senrabc says:

      Thanks Brian. I have it on my list to make a panel gauge like yours. Believe it or not, Like Ralph, you inspired me early on in my handtool adventure. I stumbled on a Chris Schwarz shop tour of your tiny shop and I thought to myself, ‘ if this guy has the patience and fortitude to work out that tiny space what the hell am I complaining about with my garage!’ Then you moved to Spain and raised the game another level. What did you have, like 5 tools and you fixed your chair and built a tool box all while using your grandmother cart to get the wood on the bus! I really looked forward to reading your posts. To top it all off you inspired my whole clan to become raging Game of Ur fans. I make a board with a picture and what do you go and do, make one with raised squares! I love it. Thanks so much. Take Care – Chris

      • Brian Eve says:

        Haha! For the longest time I felt sorry for myself for the tiny space I had. Then I got to really like it and figured out a workflow in there. Since I moved to Spain, I’ve learned to just get along with what you have. I love doing woodworking, and refuse to let the lack of a tool or a Roubo bench to be an excuse not to make something.

        I blame Jonas. He’s shown us that you can make due with tools that can be taken on a plane!

        Thanks for the kind words. And don’t worry, you’re doing it right.

  5. Joe says:

    Congrats. I tried writing a woodworking blog and I think I lasted all of 10 posts. I have deep respects for those who not only woodwork but can also blog about it. I like your workbench by the way.

    • senrabc says:

      Thanks for the kind words. Writing is part of the hobby for me. I’m glad you like the bench. It started out as a Roubo, but by the time it came to mortise the legs I had moved on to wanting a bench like Paul Sellers. Since I had done all the work on the top I couldn’t throw it our so now I have a massive 5.5 inch thick top on a 2 apron bench. Lol. I call it my Franken bench.

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