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Tips From Sticks-In-The-Mud Woodshop
Jim Randolph
Long Beach, Mississippi

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No Southern-fried Southern boy wants to be called a Yankee, but we share the characteristics of shrewdness and thrift. Thus, each month we include a money-saving tip. It's OK if you call me "cheap."

Tip #2 - Reusing Woodworking Nails

April 1st has already passed, so you can be sure this is not an April Fool's joke. Regular readers will remember me saying, I was raised by five children of the Depression, so no act of saving is beyond me. In the old shed behind the house I grew up in, you could find coffee can after coffee can of old bent nails my Uncle Sam saved. After all, they could be hammered straight again and put to good use. In this day of pneumatic nailers that can drive everything from minuscule pins to giant common nails, a carpenter applicant's hammer skills are no longer premier considerations for being hired. However, "back in the day," one important test of a new hire was the ability to drive a bent nail. No nails were to be wasted, just like on the farm.

When I was a child we went to swamp sawmills to buy green lumber for silage wagons. These were no "nominal two-by-fours," they were full-thickness oak and hickory and, despite being green, still hard as rocks. When it came time to rebuild the trailers, the grownups could drive even those used, straightened nails given enough strokes. As a kid, I had difficulty getting a new nail to go in.

Want to create more character in a rustic piece? One of
these great, rusty nails, combined with some hammer
dimples from wayward strikes, and you can really make
a statement

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda's home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home. Questions and comments on woodworking may be sent to DrRandolph@MyPetsDoctor.com . Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com . We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.
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