Tuesday, February 3, 2009

It's Off To Read We Go

I don't know about you, but when I can't find adequate time to play in my shop, I turn into this guy.

Since I haven't been able to work on a project for any significant length of time so far this year, I have grown a scowl, snow white beard, and furrowed brow.

However! I have had some time to start reading a new book:
A Splintered History of Wood: Belt Sander Races, Blind Woodworkers & Baseball Bats, by Spike Carlsen.

Every night, I read illuminating and entertaining passages about: wood collectors (the largest collection by an individual includes 7,000 species—only 73,000 short of all the wood species on the planet), Mira Nakashima, Jimmy Carter, chainsaw woodworkers, and the world's tallest living tree—the Stratosphere Giant—measuring a whopping 372 feet tall.

What a fun read! It's written in short, self-contained chapters—each one covering some aspect of wood and woodworking: wood in music, sports, shelter, day-to-day life, war, transportation, and unusual places; and tools, unconventional woodworkers, and how trees survive and thrive.

I've only read 100 pages out of 358, but here are a few fun facts from the book: 95% of those who subscribe to woodworking magazines are men; the workers in George Nakashima's shop turn spindles on a lathe and then facet each one with a handplane; and Jimmy Carter explains his view on the craft: "[Woodworking is] a kind of therapy, but it's also a stabilizing 
force in my life—a total rest for my mind."

Currently, I'm perusing the chapter on whatzit tools and am learning about wedding saws and two handled sledgehammers.  

There's no doubt that I'm getting amusement, enlightenment, and knowledge from reading Spike's book. But maybe I'm getting something even more important: a happier disposition.

12 comments:

The Village Idiot said...

You're lucky! When I first saw 'Grumpy' come up on my screen, I thought it was going to be a wisecrack about me even though I resemble the happy little guy below.

Luke Townsley said...

I read the first paragraph before I looked at the picture. Somehow, I just couldn't wrap my brain around how The Village Carpenter we all know and love turned into a guy. It just wasn't quite right somehow.

After I rubbed my tired eyes a few times and looked at the picture, it started to make more sense...

On another note, that is a book I hope to pick up one of these days.

Al Navas said...

OK, Grumpy!

Lemme see...Straighten up!

There - I feel better already! lol

Glad to learn you *are* getting a happier disposition, Kari. Congratulations.

Presbyfruit said...

Yeah, me too.

The Village Carpenter said...

Scott, you most certainly do not look like the "Happy" dwarf! I'll give you "Dopey", though. *grin*

Luke, let me know how you like the book once you get ahold of a copy. Sorry to cause you concern about the gender switch. ; )

Thanks, Al!

Presby, that's just mean.

Woodbloke said...

...can we have a change of pic then?...>>>>quick exit - Rob

The Village Carpenter said...

Why, I oughta...

Tony Z. said...

OK, it's added to my Amazon cart, although I won't "proceed to checkout" for at least a week or so. I just took delivery of Season 2000 of "The Red Green Show" along with Jim Tolpin's "Measure Twice Cut Once" and I don't want to push my Amazon priviledges!

Tony Z.

The Village Carpenter said...

I hope you like it, Tony (I'm sure you will). I was just reading about belt sander races!

Anonymous said...

Dear "Happy" VC,

Nice post.

Nice Pix.

But --- Happy, I noticed that your elbows have patches. Your woodworking skills are very much better than your sewing skills.

I like that.

Village Sexton

The Village Carpenter said...

Haha! Yes, VS, no argument there. :o)

Joe Cottonwood said...

Hey, I'm in the middle of reading it, too! Must be something in the air...