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I confess, I’m a mess

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Are you messy in the woodshop? If so, you’re a rank amateur when it comes to the messes I can creatively conjure up.

Making a mess is part of woodworking. Even with the best dust/chip collection system, the act of woodworking creates waste, and waste equates to mess. That’s normal. But I swear, I go all out.

For minor finishing tasks I pour finish into a small cup and work from that. (Yogurt cups are great for this, by the way.) While finishing that drawer for Sally’s desk last week I had enough poly in the cup for the drawer, plus a quick coat for the outfeed support I made for my miter saw. The drawer was on my assembly table, point A, while the outfeed was on the other side of the shop, point B.

While working at point A, I’d forgotten my shop vacuum was right behind me, and I plowed right into it turning for point B, slopping a bit of poly on my hand. No big deal; I just grabbed a rag and wiped my hand as I continued to point B.

But when I was done I saw a dark spot on a cardboard box back near point A, and on close inspection realized I’d slopped poly on more than my hand. The box was soaked so I tossed it and cleaned up the mess on the floor.

The rest of the day, though, I just kept smelling poly no matter where I was. Well, why not? I’d slopped it on my hands and spent 10 minutes cleaning it up off the floor. I’d probably smell it for days. But later as I was cooking dinner – still smelling poly – I casually brushed my hand over my shirttail, and noticed it was stiff. Turns out I’d spilled a considerable amount on my shirt, and down the front of my jeans … and never noticed until long after it had dried to the point that I’ll never get it out.

I suppose it’ll serve as a permanent reminder.



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