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Showing off

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I’m heading to a weekend Civil War reenactment in a few hours, and my car’s all packed. My gear, of course, but also as much woodworking as I could fit for a single reason: I want to show off.

In a blog last summer I told of going to a reenactment and happening across several furniture items made from projects in my Civil War Woodworking book throughout the camps. I got a real kick out of that, but since I went to that event as a spectator and not a participant, I took nothing of my own.

For this weekend’s event (at the New Market Battlefield in Virginia), I’m attending with my artillery reenacting unit, and we’ll be setting up our own camp. To that end, I’ve crammed my car to bursting with every 19th-century item I’ve made that’s appropriate for the scenario – a couple of stools, a folding officer’s chair and folding table, a few wooden candle lanterns, even some small personal items like a soldier’s mirror and a few other things.

And I’ll be brutally honest here; I’m doing it for the express purpose of showing it off to a captive audience of about 4,000 other reenactors that I know will appreciate it. It’s sound promotion in a business sense, of course, and is a perfect means of leading to more book sales. That’s how I’m rationalizing it. But the simple truth of it is that I just want to show off. I’m proud of the work I did researching these items, and pleased with how they turned out. Is it so wrong to want to play show-and-tell once you’ve become (nominally) an adult? I think not. And if it increases book sales, so much the better.

Especially if I leave just enough room in my car after all that packing to make room for a case of books.



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