Fair Woodworking

June 1, 2012

Deep cleansing breaths, now count to ten

Filed under: Fair Woodworking's 7 Deadly Sins — fairwoodworking @ 2:06 pm

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

James 1:19,20

And so it is, we are here.

The deadly sin of wrath

“Watch out! I have a short temper!”, he said to the others. But we woodworkers that sharpen tools, and have run the risk of ruining the temper on an edged tool, we know better.

I can picture many a bully that say they have a short temper to look tough, but they clearly do not understand what the word temper means.

It’s the temper that makes the edge of a chisel strong, and it’s a chisel with a crumpled edge that is the most dangerous. A dull chisel does not cut, it relies on momentum and brute force, but in the end it causes wood to break, or tear apart in a violent, and uncontrolled way.

A chisel with a short temper, is weak, and worthless for anything other than opening paint cans.

Hey look at me preaching away like I’m Elron McKenzie.

My wood shop is my happy place. When ever possible I follow the rule of “I’m only here when I want to be”. Some days I walk in, look around a little. Maybe pick up a favorite tool, and enjoy its mass. Then set it back down and walk out. Other times I’ll spend all day in there. Either way, when it stops being fun, I like to hit the ground running.

Why?

We’ve already covered that! It’s my happy place? I have enough stress in my life, and while I want woodworking to test my skills, I don’t want it to test my temper. I try to avoid any kind of commission work, and most importantly, avoid taking any project too seriously. I’ve learned over the years that after making a mistake, It’s not the sign of a tough guy to hurl a piece of wood, or a hammer, or heaven forbid a hand plane across the shop. That would be a sign of weakness, and an inability to cope with a challenge.

It would be hypocritical not to mention that when I wrote about my shopping trip for a new hammer a while back, was the result of a rather spirited display of hammer throwing on the work site. I never did find the hammer, but thankfully nobody got hurt in my little hissy fit.

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