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The Workshop Emerges from Hibernation

It’s early April, and my workshop is an utter mess.

It’s this paradoxical hibernation situation. I’ve actually been rather productive throughout the winter. There have been relatively few quiet days in the shop. It’s my will to clean that has been in hibernation. 

I don’t want to get too graphic here, but… I’ve heard that bears eat lots of grass before going into hibernation in order to plug up their digestive tracts so they can hibernate without bathroom breaks. Apparently I have a similar (though more pleasantly visualized) form of mental constipation going on. There’s some kind of sawdust-covered psychological grass-plug in the part of my brain that deals with the desire to clean during the winter. When it’s cold outside of that sliding door, the piles of wood are destined to grow and grow. 

The Piles

There are three overflowing piles of future jewelry wood. Yes, there are buckets beneath the piles, but the overflow situation is so extensive that it wouldn’t really be fair to say that the wood is in the buckets. They’re just piles.

That being said, these are the elite piles. 

The elite piles contain the pieces with prettiest grain–aesthetically speaking, this wood is the top tier of scraps. In this pile you’ll find the prettiest bands of spalting that look like an Arizona sunset. You’ll also find long bands of walnut–the beautiful, isolated borderlines between heartwood and sapwood, where the subtle bands of purple emerge as the wood dries. I simply cannot bring myself to throw away any subtle bands of purple. 

Then there’s the kitchen trash can full of scraps near the small door. This one sits in the spot where the wall can serve as a backboard off of which I can easily bank useless pieces tossed aside while working the bandsaw. I’d say my shooting percentage with this bucket is about 95%. Pretty impressive if I don’t say so myself. This is the only bucket that has been switched out and emptied regularly, so I guess it doesn’t necessarily qualify as a pile. Right nearby, however, is the smoking-chip pile.

The smoking-chip pile is a pile based on conscience. It bothers me to waste any scraps that still might serve some possible function, so I recently started selling barbecue smoking chips. I’m not much of a griller myself, but people who are into that kind of thing might eventually benefit from the bits and pieces in this, the sloppiest of my shop piles, which is currently reaching capacity between the belt sander and bandsaw. 

The Shelves (Really Just More Piles)

On the shelves over the workbench there is easily more than a hundred more scraps of wood. These are pieces that had grain that was just too dang pretty to throw away. I was sure I would use it someday. I suppose someday might still come… 

Some of these scraps have been there since just a couple days after I built the shelves three years ago. It makes me wonder why I even built the shelves. I’ve pulled pieces off of this shelf only a couple dozen times in those three years. I just keep adding. If a mouse finds its way in here and dislodges the wrong one, they’re all coming down. And man, would that every make a mess of… the scrap piles on the floor. 

The Dust

Don’t even get me started on the dust. 

earring piles  piles 2