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by Steven D. Johnson
Racine, Wisconsin

This month:

Six Degrees of… Woodworking?

Woodworking… The Road Ahead

Waxed Paper vs Freezer Paper – Which Is Best For Woodworkers?

Purpose-Built Shop Storage

Some New Year's Thoughts And What Is Coming Next Month

Six Degrees of… Woodworking?

Click on any picture to see a larger version.

Monomania… It is an obsession or over-preoccupation with just one thing. For a hundred years it was considered one of the seven broad types of mental illness, but not so much anymore. I suppose were that still the case, most of us woodworkers would be thusly diagnosed.

On the popular television show "The Big Bang Theory," the character Howard Wolowitz rode a Russian Soyuz to the International Space Station, and upon his return, his brainy friends noted that whatever the subject of conversation, Howard could always turn it into a discussion of his trip to space. In an attempt to test the hypothesis, one of the characters asked Howard to join in their debate whether a lemon is a fruit or a vegetable. Howard refused to take part in that discussion but quickly added, "Some people think the Soyuz spacecraft is a lemon, but that baby got me to space and back."

My long-suffering spouse accuses me of the same type of monomania. She insists that whatever the subject, I can always turn it into a woodworking discussion. She's right.

Politics? A dangerous subject amongst polite company, but not to worry, I will steer it somehow to woodworking. Football? Yes, "I was in my shop the other day working on a project and the game was on in the background…" Subject changed. Grandchildren? I start to talk about my friend's bunk bed project. Gardening? "My neighbor wants me to build a potting bench for his wife this spring." Taxes? "The Section 179 bonus depreciation rule was just reinstated and it's a great time for woodworking businesses to buy new equipment." Weather? "The changes in humidity this winter have made it tough to stabilize lumber."

Name a subject, I can morph it into a woodworking discussion. Six degrees of separation… only it is subject matter, not people. Pick a subject, and within five sentences I will connect it to woodworking.

The discussion starts… "Who do you think [name your favorite NBA team] will choose in the draft this year?" Not being a basketball fan this is tough, but here we go…

  1. "Who are the top three choices?"
  2. "How tall are they?"
  3. "What is the average height of an NBA player now?"
  4. "Everybody is taller now than they were fifty years ago."
  5. "Do you think furniture makers will have to start making beds longer?"

Discussion changed to woodworking in five sentences. Try it. It's really easy. And it will cement your status as a full-fledged woodworking monomaniac!

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