Fair Woodworking

April 27, 2012

Take what you want, eat what you take.

Filed under: Fair Woodworking's 7 Deadly Sins — fairwoodworking @ 2:05 pm

In my twenty’s I had a favorite Chinese Buffet Restaurant that had this as their slogan. They were always very gracious with our huge helpings so long as we lived by this motto. All they were asking was that you know your limits, and not be wasteful. I always remember that restaurant as a happy place, and I do really miss it. Sadly, it got shut down years ago for repeated health violations, although the food was good enough to keep me happy. I’ll always remember you Foody Goody. Your food didn’t kill me so you must have made me stronger…

In the light of my trip down memory lane, you may think that today’s deadly sin is Gluttony, but you are so very wrong.

When you think of hand tool work, the sin of Sloth won’t often come to mind, unless it’s when we lay sprawled on the couch every Saturday watching Roy Underhill’s Woodwright shop. With woodworking, Sloth is the devil in the details, but in some twisted way, the hand tool sloth makes us work harder. We will push a plane with a dull blade until it’s like pushing through a brick wall rather than stop to sharpen. We will chase a block of wood with our tools all over our work bench rather than install a simple work holding device. We will spend hours looking for a tool under scraps, and rags and other tools, rather than taking the time to put it back where it belonged in the first place. My favorite is that I’ll happily rip a board by hand rather than take the time to get my Table Saw dialed in. It has a rack and pinion fence, so it couldn’t be easier, but between that, the dust collector, and that blasted blade guard. I’m just too lazy not to rip it by hand. I suppose I could take the blade guard off for some applications, but if I’m too lazy to take it off, I’m way the heck too lazy to put it back on again.

And this brings me back to the Chinese food slogan. If woodworking is your hobby, you have the right to be lazy if you want. The trick is keeping it from ruining everything. We need to pay attention to where sloth makes us unsafe with our tools. Where it causes us to risk ruining our projects. When it causes us to settle with less than optimum working conditions and we waste double or triple the time because we just don’t have time to do it the smarter faster way.

I think a lot of times that we think we did something really dumb, in truth, it was just slothful.


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