Random stuff ‘n’ things

Nothing heavy or Earth-shattering today – no deep meanings or discussion of severed fingers like last time – just some random thoughts on woodworking and the shop life.

While working together a while back a friend referred to a “skill saw.” He meant circular saw, of course, but he belongs to a generation that genericized the brand name “Skil” long ago and have been calling circular saws that ever since. Know anyone who still calls them that? Do you?

They say, “Measure twice, cut once.” I say, “It doesn’t matter how many times you measure if you can’t remember what you just measured long enough to make the mark in the right spot.”

Speaking of which, if you do measure wrong but measured it too long, you might actually get a chance to cut a second time.

I’ve been seriously thinking about adding a window to my garage shop. Before I can construct the window I’ll first need to deconstruct part of the wall. Does that seem right to you?

We’re finally coming off the most uncomfortable summer in memory, with 90-degree weather hanging on till just last weekend. It’s finally starting to get comfortable here, and my shop is a delightful place to be right now. No heat, no cold, just right.

I’ve stated hundreds of times here that there’s no such thing as scrap, and I believe that firmly and irrevocably. However, I’m beginning to believe that there just may be such a thing as too much scrap.

On a related note, I just finished a project that was incredibly clamp-intensive. In fact, I used nearly every clamp I had. But the thing of it is, is that I had enough clamps.

Woodworking is the only activity where you can say, “I just finished my project, but I’m not done yet,” and make perfect sense.

I can always tell it’s been too long since I’ve been in the shop if my wife starts piling things that need to go into the attic on my table saw.

I sure do miss Norm.

Till next time,



  • Bruce Huff says:

    Hi A.J.,
    I never thought I would take time out of my busy day to read a blog. But I enjoy and look foward to reading both blogs. I am also happy yours is back. I thought you quit. After 40 years of woodworking of all kinds I never get tired of talking shop with other wood butchers.

    Keep up the good work,

  • Paul Evans says:

    Hi A. J.
    I really enjoyed your blog. I have reached that ripe old age of 78 and trying to decide weather I should keep on working in my cabinet shop. Especially since I cannot pick up any heavy furniture any more. I would like to just do the design or creative side of it and let the building to someone else. I have tried to out source that part to someone I can trust, but there is no one in my area anymore making fine furniture. I feel sad that in this generation, no one is pursuing a carrier in woodworking. I have even volunteered to conduct woodcraft classes in local schools, but was turned down due to lack of interest. I recently had the opportunity to bid on a custom dining table and chair set. They wanted it done at the price of fake furniture sold at retail stores. I now believe that our craft is no longer in need. I still stay busy making things for sale on E-Bay and for family as Christmas gifts. The rest of my time is spent reading or maintaining a garden.

  • PutnamEco says:

    Re: Skil saw.

    Yes I still call my Skil HD 77 or my original model 77 a Skil saw. I do not however refer to all saws as skil saws. Between the people that I occasionly work with, we just call regular circular saws, “saws” and when we want the Skil saw we ask for the Skil saw or generically a wormdrive as there might also be another brand onsite.

  • AJ,
    On the flip side , we had the coolest summer on record here in So. Cal. Heaters in our shops are virtually non-existent here. Wood working is done all year long here without much thought to the weather as it’s almost always the same, Sunny! We pay for it though in high real estate prices. As for scrap wood, about the only use I can see for it here is to burn in the fire pit on the beach at night. Surfs Up, got to go now!

  • Douglas says:

    Well A.J., I was having to get up early in the morning to go out to the shop and work so I could beat the afternoon heat (many days heat index into triple digits). Now I am waiting longer in the morning to go out and work so the shop can warm up a little<):o}

  • Clint says:

    My dad still has his Skil saw and the box it came in and while I don’t think he’s ever really used it he always refers to my saws as Skil saws and if I’m honest I guess I do too!

    Hey Paul Evans, show me your designs, we’re a custom furniture shop in Michigan and while I design all of our work I’d love to see what you’re working on maybe we could colaborate! Email me at clint@sorraiastudios.com


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