Company rules

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With dinner guests coming tonight, there’s a flurry of cleaning efforts going on in the Hamler house. I’m expected to “tidy up” my personal areas. That means my shop.

Well, OK; I won’t fight that. When we have company I tidy up the shop anyway in case we wander out there. But tonight’s company consists of a good friend of Sally’s and her husband, who I’ve never met. But here’s the thing: He’s a woodworker, which means I also must prepare my shop for another woodworker’s inspection. And there are rules to follow:

Rule 1 – There must be a completed project in there, preferably the best thing you’ve ever made.

Rule 2 – There must be a work-in-progress with fresh cuts so it smells good. Another woodworker can tell if the cuts are fresh, so even if it’s a project you abandoned years ago, drag it out and make a few fresh cuts. Or just drill some holes in it.

Rule 3 – A well-placed, but small, pile of sawdust/shavings/chips is mandatory. Somewhere. Anywhere. Clean up everything else as if you were going to eat off it, but put that pile near a machine that you would likely have used recently, even if you haven’t touched it for months.

Addendum to Rule 3 – There can be no dust on a tool that might indicate it’s just been sitting around unused for months.

Rule 4 – A new, gloat-worthy tool must be “casually” left out. If you don’t have one, borrow or buy one.

Addendum to Rule 4 – A beautiful piece of stock must be visible so you can describe at length the special project you’ll use it for. As above, if you don’t have one go buy one, then make up a story.

Rule 5 – Take a quick inventory. In case he asks if you have something you can reply, “Why, sure; I’ve got one of those,” then go right to it.

Rule 6 – No matter how clean, you must have a few beverage containers about. This proves you’ve been in the shop recently. Half-filled coffee cups and soda cans are ideal, but replace if there’s sawdust or mold floating on top. A partially eaten doughnut is an extra touch.

Till next time,

A.J.

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