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It’s been a full week since I’ve worked in the shop. Like anyone else who hasn’t done a regular activity in a while, I feel rusty.

Due to other nonshop tasks on my to-do list since last week, plus a three-day trip out of town, not only have I done no work out in the shop, I’ve gone whole days without even setting foot in there.

Got back from my trip late yesterday and have been playing catch-up with e-mail and other at-the-computer tasks. Finished most of those last night and this morning, broke for lunch a few minutes ago and took a stroll out there. Everything’s right where I left it, but for some reason it couldn’t feel more like a tomb if I was wearing a fedora, leather jacket and carrying a whip. It’s not quite the Mary Celeste feeling I described a few weeks ago, but darned close.

For one thing, although my current project is out and in the exact state it was in when I stopped a week ago, I’m finding it difficult to remember just what it was I was doing when I set down whatever tool I last used. For another, there are one or two tools out on my assembly table that are mysteries, and I can’t quite recall just why I had them out. It always takes me a few minutes to get up to speed when going out to the shop on a new workday, but this goes way beyond that. It’s like I need the woodworking equivalent of warm-up exercises before I can get back to work.

When I feel this way, I usually warm up by doing some shop cleaning just to get back into the swing of being back out there and getting things done, but the work I was last doing was already very clean – that is, it wasn’t dust or scrap intensive so there really isn’t much to clean up. There aren’t that many tools out, either, so it’s not like I could busy myself putting stuff away.

I think what I need to do is treat the shop like a weekend getaway spot. Back in the days when I worked in a publishing office or radio studio Monday through Friday, that’s the way the shop always was on Saturday mornings and getting started after a week off was easy. Now that I normally work out in the shop every day – or nearly so – that feeling kind of slipped away. It’s probably about time to get it back.

As luck would have it, tomorrow is Saturday.

Till next time,


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