Get ‘Em Started Early

MacI can’t use my bench at Lost Art Press this weekend because we’ve a class going on. I came across the river with thoughts of getting started on the drawers for my built-in – I can mill stock and cut it to size in the machine shop without disturbing the class.

But Monday, I’ve 220 board feet of poplar coming from Frank Miller Lumber to prep for my upcoming Dutch Tool Chest class…and I need 260 board feet or so. I think I have enough in the basement to make up the difference, plus enough for the drawer parts, but better safe than sorry.

So instead, I’m hanging out and reading (it’s warmer here).

Among the many books in what we call the Covington Mechanical Library are some that have been favorites since I was a young kid. I remember reading David Macaulay’s lavishly illustrated books on construction over and again; they gave me dreams of becoming an architect…until I later realized one has to be good at math to be an architect. But they early on instilled in me a fascination with how things are built, which has informed my unexpected career in woodworking and writing about it.

I don’t know if every kid will love them as much as I did (and still do), but if like me you like giving books as gifts, you can’t go wrong with any of Macaulay’s. (Note: His books on construction are also appealing for adults – but his “Motel of the Mysteries” is my favorite for older readers. It tells the story of an year 4022 archeological discovery of a late 20th-century motel (it was buried under junk mail); the explanation of the various finds is hilarious.)

About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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7 Responses to Get ‘Em Started Early

  1. John says:

    I remember “Motel of the Mysteries” from back in, oh, 1981 or so. Hilarious!

  2. Thanks Fitz, good tip. Those books look like great reading not only for me, but also for some of my more curiously minded grandchildren. Just ordered two of them.
    Michael W. O’Brien

  3. Stephen Yoder says:

    Thanks for the book recommendation. Look forward to getting a few of the books you mentioned (and by “a few” I mean all of them).

    I love almost anything by Eric Sloane. His drawings of tools, barns, covered bridges, etc, combined with his research on them just hits me in exactly the right spot.

  4. Kerry Doyle says:

    Motel of the Mysteries was a companion to combat the too-serious academics during the years I pursued archaeology at Cahokia and in Southwest Illinois. It reminded me that we were sifting refuse.
    It was also significant because I had come off a string of jobs placing me in cheesy motels of unrelenting mediocrity. Long live Formica! Yes, and a touch of Frank Zappa’s 200 motels.
    It might just be why I crave real wood and handmade construction.

  5. john says:

    I just read the Motel of the Mysteries. Very funny.

  6. johncashman73 says:

    I loved Macaulay’s books. Everything about them was worth getting lost in, but it’s been a long time since I’ve thought about them. Thanks for the reminder.

    I’d never heard of Motel of Mysteries, but it’s been pushed up to the top of the list.

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