Tales of Experience

In response to last issue’s eZine, we heard from readers with firsthand experience of some of the areas we covered.

Pepper Mill Seal

First up, a South African woodworker with a focus on salt and pepper mills shares his solution to the question of sealing the inside of a mill, particularly one made from an exotic wood. – Editor

“I would like to share my solution for the problem all the way from South Africa! I have been in the production of pepper/salt/spice mills for the past five years. I have frequently been asked the question regarding toxicity, especially when using tamboti (Spirostachys africana). My solution: I cut a square piece of thin plastic (the A4 type that is used for dividers in files or the ones that are used for transparencies of about 10cm x 10cm (depending on the size and length of the hole – reservoir – in the mill). I then roll up this piece of plastic and let it slide down the shaft. This way any spice that is used in the mill is protected from ever touching the wood regardless of the type of wood that you use. This method is now standard procedure in the production of my spice grinders.” – Piet Smith

Tale of a Tool Cover

Then, this reader told his tale regarding tool covers, as covered in last issue’s WebSurfer’s Review. – Editor

“The garage door tends to drip onto my table saw when it is opened during rain. I thought that a waterproof cover would be a good idea.

“I went to the fabric store to purchase about two yards of Naugahyde® (45” wide).The staff was busy, so I found the bolt of Naugahyde. Carried the bolt to the cutting table. The staff was still busy stocking shelves. The scissors were lying on the cutting table, and the staff was still busy. So I cut off about two yards of Naugahyde and returned the bolt to the shelf. I remembered the SKU for checkout.

“In front of me in the checkout line, a woman about my age eyes me and coyly asks, “What are you making?” I answer, “It’s made. A cover for my table saw.” A small grunt and she turns her attention to the cashier as she reached the front of the line. Finally, it’s my turn with the cashier. I toss the Naugahyde on the counter, tell the cashier that it is two yards and give her the SKU number. The conversation goes like this.

“‘Where’s your computer slip?’

‘How do I do that?’

‘You don’t! Who cut this for you?’

‘No one. I cut it myself.’

‘You can’t cut anything by yourself.’

(The woman in line behind me is starting to enjoy this.)

‘Sure you can. All you have to do is pick up scissors and squeeze. Besides, everyone is busy stocking shelves.’

“The cashier rushes off, has a rather animated conversation with another worker, goes to another thing that looks like a cash register and generates the magical ‘computer slip.’

“After a bit more of the cashier’s grousing, I pay my $12 and leave. After I arrive home, I explain the event to LOML (love of my life). She  responds with, ‘You did What?’

“The advice from here is, don’t go into a fabric store. Have your wife, girlfriend, significant other, daughter or neighbor make the purchase for you. It is a lot safer.” – Rich Flynn

Tool Making Talk

We also heard from several readers who commented about the tools from Rockwell Tools, the subject of last issue’s Industry Interview, being made in Asia. Watch for an extended response to this issue from WJ editor Rob Johnstone coming soon on our Woodworker’s Journal blog. – Editor

Apologies Extended

My apologies. Colorful language is one of the keys to readable writing. In a recent custom eZine discussing the much-maligned task of sanding, I used the term red-headed stepchild. Although ignorance is no excuse for bad behavior it is often the underlying reason for such a faux paux . This is the case with me, as I had no idea that the term was offensive. For those of you like me, who were uninformed, here is an except from one of the emails I received on the topic:

“The origin of the phrase ‘red-haired/-headed stepchild’ dates to the 1830’s & 40’s when Irish emigrants began arriving in America. The newly arrived Irish were somewhere below free blacks on the social scale at the time, and lived in segregated communities. Then, like now, young men were having sexual relations with young women before marriage. Sometimes the men were Irish and the girls were not. This resulted in many out of wedlock children with that red Irish hair. When these young women did finally marry, usually to a young man not of Irish descent, the new husband was not particularly patient or sympathetic to the red haired step-child and treated them harshly. The phrase is derogatory although many do not know its origin, it is still considered an insult to knowledgeable people of Irish descent, and should be avoided in polite conversation.”

Please know that I intended no offense. For the record, my late wife was a redhead when we met, and that was one of the reasons that I was soon smitten by her charms. When my middle daughter was born, I wanted her to be a redhead, and her continued state of baldness kept that hope alive for nearly two years. And lastly, my wife and I raised a stepchild whom we loved very much.

So, for those whom I offended, please accept my apologies. And thank you for taking the time to inform me of my misstep. This is a mistake I will not make again. – Rob Johnstone

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