The Sermon in the Shop

29 12 2012

I’m not really sure why I wrote this piece, I guess I was just struck by a bolt of motivation. I wrote it some time ago after building our TV stand (pictured). I thought it was whimsical and fun to write and hope you enjoy it. I call it The Sermon in the Shop.


Oh the glory of yon stack of cherry, walnut and pine. Fear not, oh wood brethren, for thou wilt not meet thy demise this day. To the contrary, thou wilt become a thing of beauty. Thou wilt become as one, for I will transform thee, with the help of my trusty tools, from a pile of wood to a useful and beautiful offering for my helpmate. And, thou wilt adorn my den and, thus, bring her much joy. And, with her joy, thou shalt win for me points of her adoring approval. For it is written, the points placed in thine account by thine spouse are like money in the bank to be redeemed for thy pleasure. And so I said, “this is good”.


Verily I say unto you, oh boards of beauty, I will give you shape. I will give you definition. I will give you tight joints of biscuits and glue. I will place upon you a finish of varnish and, thus, reveal your inner beauty.


So I took a board of uniform color, having grain as straight as the arrow’s path, and following careful measure and marking did prepare to place

Norm-the Guru of Woodworking

Norm-the Guru of Woodworking

wood to steel. But first let us say a word about shop safety, for thus saith the prophet, Norm, “be sure to read, understand and follow all the safety rules that cometh with thine power tools, lest thy table saw shall rise up and smite thy finger”.


With safety glasses firmly secured did I run the first board through my surface planer. And, BEHOLD, the beauty of the grain did burst forth in radiant splendor! And the smell of fresh shaven wood emanating from within did bring pleasure to my senses as the mighty, manly aroma arose to envelop my face and engorge my nostrils. And, whereupon, I withdrew the board from my planer, its surface was as smooth as the river Jordan at dusk on a windless day. And, thus, I said to myself, “this is good”.


So, in my plaid and denim arrayment, thus did I proceed to prepare each piece for the project at hand. And just as Moses tamed the mighty sea with his staff, I could feel the power of the control I had within. For it is I, by the God-given gift of the woodworker, who will shape and form and glue each piece to build so fine and useful corner cabinet.


Just as the jubilation of a resounding victory over mine enemy brings relief and gladness, I rejoice at the perfect fit of each edge. Thus, I take my clamps and with their mighty span do assemble each panel to be brought thereunto with other panels and the assembly is near complete. But I sought diligently thereabout for one more pocket screw and yea there were none. So taking the steel and plastic four-wheeled chariot, I set off for a land called Lowes-a land fertile with pocket screws, and hardware as countless as the stars in the sky.


And wandering the place therein I did find the rack I sought, for, BEHOLD, there was an abundance of pocket screws! So merrily I returned to the place from whence I came. And inserting yon pocket screw I could then say that assembly is complete. As I looked, mine eye was consumed with gladness over the beauty of a fully assembled cabinet of fine hardwood. And it was with pride and a sense of accomplishment I said, “this is good”.


And thus did I begin the task of preparing the object of my wife’s desire for staining. But as I applied sandpaper to its surface the dust didst form around my nostrils, thus causing me to sneeze violently. “Depart from me thou disgusting irritant! Goest thine own way or I shalt connect the sander to mine shopvac.” So I did and the wickedness was consumed within. And so I said, “this is good”.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd the surface was as glass so with great joy and haste I applied gel-stain followed hence by polyurethane. Thrice didst I apply the varnish with its intoxicating aroma, for a pleasing look thereto. And when it was finished I stood back and examined every aspect of its beauty. It was then I summoned the first-born child, the fruit of my loin, hitherto. And ever so carefully, he helped me move the beast of beauty to its place of final rest in the corner of the den. And thereupon did we place the magic window through which we have seen the prophet, Norm on PBS. Then, without warning, the mother of my children appeared and looked upon the cabinet which was adorning the room. And with an approving nod she said, “this is good”.




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