What I’ve Been Up To

I know. I know.  I have been remiss in keeping up with this blog. I’m pretty excited about the reason why. I have been working on a couple of articles for Popular Woodworking. I can’t tell you the topics. You may have noticed that after an article by me appears in that magazine, the other woodworking mags have someone else write the same article for them.

I take imitation as a form of flattery. However, I cannot allow myself to be preempted. So, I can only advise you to subscribe to Pop Wood and wait. You will not be disappointed. 

I am very excited about one of the topics as it is unplowed ground. I don’t think anyone has written about it previously. I can only give you a hint. It is an area pioneered by us Windsor chairmakers. In sharing our efforts with the rest of the woodworking world, I make sure they know that we deserve the credit.

 It is a major article. There’s a lot to say. I’m closing in on the end of it, and am enjoying every minute. This is one of the things I love about Pop Wood. They are willing to take chances and they give me a long leash. It is such a contrast to my experiences with the magazine that thinks it is finer. There, every idea I had was shot down. The mag is hide bound by a formula andthe editors would never let me step outside that formula’s strict boundaries. 

I like being free of that formula. I like writing about a wide range of topics. If you don’t subscribe to Pop Wood, you are missing the most exciting magazine out there.

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Those of you who subscribe to my monthly newsletter saw the Tanzania chairmaking postage stamp in June and the only American stamp with a Windsor chair this month. Those two newsletters triggered a report from Sir Jim Janicki about the little known Shaker chairmaker stamp.  

Sir Jim writes, “Once upon a time, the post office did issue a Shaker chairmaker stamp. It was rather short lived, though. Lots of people couldn’t get the thing to stick. A month long, $1.73 million study revealed that most people were spitting on the wrong side.”

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 A Windsor chairmaker walked into a Chinese curio shop in San Francisco. While looking around at the exotic merchandise, he noticed a very lifelike, life-sized, bronze statue of a rat. It had no price tag, but was so incredibly striking the chairmaker decided he must have it. He took it to the old shop owner and asked, “How much for the bronze rat?”           

“Ahhh, you have chosen wisely! It is $12 for the rat, $100 for the story,” said the wise old man. The Windsor chairmaker quickly pulled out twelve dollars. “I’ll just take the rat, you can keep the story.”

As he walked down the street carrying his bronze rat, the Windsor chairmaker noticed that a few real rats had crawled out of the alleys and sewers and had begun following him down the street. This was a bit disconcerting so he began walking faster.

A couple blocks later he looked behind him and saw to his horror the herd of rats behind him had grown to hundreds, and they began squealing.

Sweating now, the Windsor chairmaker began to trot toward the Bay. Again, after a couple blocks, he looked around only to discover that the rats now numbered in the MILLIONS, and were squealing and coming toward him faster and faster.

Terrified, Windsor chairmaker ran to the edge of the Bay and threw the bronze rat into the water as far out as he could.

Amazingly, the millions of rats all jumped into the Bay after the bronze rat, and were all drowned.

 The man walked back to the curio shop. “Ahhh,” said the owner, “You have come back for story?

“No sir,” said the man, “I came back to see if you have a bronze Shaker chairmaker.”

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