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Reproductions I hate to make

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I love making reproductions of classic items, and I’ve enjoyed making several of a few favorite projects, but there’s one thing I hate to make. That’s something I’ve already made – but can’t find.

I made some things a while back for my Civil War woodworking book. I documented the construction, took photos, and put the items away for safe keeping for future photo use. This weekend, I’ll need them for a Civil War event – the first time they’ll be put to actual use – and I just can’t find the darned things.

I know I have them, I know they’re somewhere, but I’ve turned both shop and house upside down for the last three days looking for them and they’re just nowhere to be found. With time running out, I’ll need to go into the shop this afternoon and make them all over again.

The items in question – lathe-turned oak tent stakes from a period-correct 19th-century pattern – aren’t at all difficult to make, and I even have several blanks in the right size. I can probably turn out a set in an hour or so. But it’s maddening to have to do something all over again for something other than pleasure. If a friend asked for a set, I’d start slinging shavings with glee to make as many as he needed. But when it’s to replace a set that I’ve knuckleheadedly misplaced, it just makes me mad. At me.

So, sometime this afternoon I’ll be taking time I don’t really have to replace something I do have, somewhere. And, of course, that somewhere will be revealed the moment I finish the last replacement, and I’ll probably stumble onto the originals.

It’s like household repairs, or replacing things like tires or water heaters – after much time, energy (and sometimes money) spent, you don’t really have anything “new” to show for it; you’re just right back where you were. The saving grace of this replacement task is that the time it takes won’t be spent under a car or lugging out a dripping water heater, it’ll be spent in my shop slinging shavings.

That, at least, I can look forward to.

Till next time,


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