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The Joy of Puttering

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 17:52

With slightly warmer days, I have made it back into the woodshop after a long hiatus from sawdust and my tools.

It is a mess in there; part of the barn in which the shop is housed was dismantled last year to be recently reassembled at the Mulford Farm. All sorts of items too interesting or nostalgic to take to the dump ended up on the workbench. One of my iceboats rests on an old golf cart that I used to use as the base for parade floats. A friend’s surfboard, which I promised to repair back in October, awaits attention on top of an ancient wheelbarrow and a Sears jointer that I picked up at a yard sale years ago.

Barns are like that — big spaces that if you are not entirely rigorous get filled to the rafters with one’s own and other people’s things until clean-out seems as daunting as crossing Antarctica clad only in boxer shorts and carrying a toothbrush.

Though there is hope. I got my hands back into some sawdust and cedar shavings while building a wooden longboard at Grain Surfboards in Amagansett in the waning days of winter. And, for me, once I get a whiff of freshly cut wood, I am like a fly on, well, never mind.

So back into the woodshop I went, scrabbling off a little space to cut the end off a long fir plank and beginning to pick up the floor and move things around so I could get some work going. Then it all took a detour.

I had spotted an ad. Someone was selling a ridiculously appealing stack of old audio components for $100. My old Realistic stereo just did not have the oomph to fill the cavernous shop. It would be just the thing.

Several days later, I was still fiddling around with the connections on the new gear, brushing away the cobwebs to plug it in and trying and failing to get an FM antenna to work. Finally, I got some music out of it. Then, as I waited for the surfboard patch to set, I leaned back and reflected on the simple joy of puttering.

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