Sprucing Things Up

Rob Johnstone photoWoodworking terms are funny things. For example, when you tell a newbie that a groove run across the grain is called a dado, they look at you as if you are pulling their leg. (Do I take my dado on a snipe hunt?) Another thing that interests me are woodworking idioms that have worked their way into common speech. Why is “sprucing things up” a term for making stuff look good? Others are more understandable. A guy who is “on the level” is one that is true. Going “against the grain” makes perfect sense to those of us who use hand planes regularly. But I think we are an exception in the general population to understanding what happens when you go against real grain.

So my question to you is this: where have you found that our jargon has moved into the common vernacular? Perhaps this conversation will splinter off painfully, but I am looking forward to it.

Rob Johnstone, Woodworker’s Journal

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