Gotta have it

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I learned a lot in redoing my shop layout. One of the things I learned is that I buy a lot of stuff I don’t need.

Being a packrat is in my nature. I rarely get rid of anything. My office is a depository of everything I’ve ever worked on regarding writing. I’ve been writing and getting published since 1984, so there’s enough stuff crammed in there to qualify my office as a Superfund site. For some reason, I must think that an early draft of a computer game review I wrote in 1985 is worth keeping because I have a file folder for it, along with hundreds of others I never look at. But you never know, I might just need one of them someday.

I’m the same way in the shop. I won’t bother to discuss how I save scraps, because there is no such thing. It’s just small stock, not scrap. But I save one-time-only jigs the same way, even jigs that I know absolutely, positively that I’ll never use again.

When redoing the shop, I came across lots of old things I continue to save. However, I also came across tons of new things. This is stuff I bought, stuff I just had to have because I knew I couldn’t live with out it. Stuff I saw in a catalog or store, and try as I might resistance was futile. I shelled out the cash and went home with my prize… and then never, ever used it.

Stuff like a center-finding plastic thing that’s been hanging on my pegboard for 10 years. Never used it. Stuff like a hinge-mortise-corner-cutter – route the mortise, place the thing there and give it a tap, and bingo bango it squares the corner. Never used it. Stuff like a small coping sled for the router table. Never used it.

Don’t misunderstand me; these are all good products for someone. But their coolness at the time deluded me into thinking that I needed them when I didn’t. So they sit and gather dust, and I never get rid of them. Why? Because I’m a knucklehead.

And I’m betting I’m not the only one. Take a mental inventory of your shop and I’m sure you’ll come up with a few of these – maybe more than few. Come on, admit it.

Now, give me the best example of something you bought for your shop, something that you just absolutely had to have, and then never used.

Till next time,

A.J.

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Industrial arts education, often including woodshop, has been disappearing from high schools at an alarming rate. It just happened where I live.