Keeping the Wife Happy

Friday, August 16, 2019 8:40 AM



I know there's saying “Happy wife, happy life.” and not sure it pertains to every aspect of life but it certainly pertains to my woodworking. Unlike some couples Pam and I share our bank accounts and do almost everything together. We even taught together in two classrooms next to one another and shared the students for eleven years. My woodworking is just about the only part of my life she’s not a part of. That makes it difficult for her to understand some of my tool and wood purchases. 


One way I’ve improved that understanding was making Christmas presents using my lathe last year. It seems that everyone who received one of the ice cream scoops I made were very happy with their gifts. Pam was happy because we gave everyone a beautiful gift at a very resonable cost and she didn’t have to spend any time shopping for them. So, as we were driving to Laguna Beach the other day for one of our fun day trips, Pam informed me that she’d love for me to make something for everyone again this year. As with most of my purchases I quickly ran the numbers in my head and let her know the approximate cost of the project. She didn’t blink an eye and gave me the OK to buy what I need. It looks like I’ll be busy with a turning project as soon as the supplies arrive. Now, again with Pam’s blessing, I’ll be heading over to Tropical Exotic Hardwoods to see what kind of turning stock they have sometime soon. This time instead of turning a dozen I’m likely going to have to increase that number slightly. While I know that I can’t buy a whole sharpening system and another CBN wheel this time around I am hoping to be able to acquire at least one higher quality turning tool to improve my turning. We’ll see.


I have to admit that making projects like this was one of the reasons I bought my Nova Comet II lathe. It’s much faster making gifts on the lathe than trying to use flat lumber. The turning is much less frustrating and more theroputic too. I enjoy the creativity and almost instant gratification that turning provides. The results of this kind of project are also well received. Since it’s remotely possible that one or more if the planned recipients of one of these gifts may read this and/or watch my YouTube videos as I did last year, specific information and a video will have to wait until January. 


What does this mean for other projects? Obviously, as happened last year, this project will take away some time from my other woodworking projects. This project when combined with the lack of AC in my shop will bring some things to a grinding halt until it’s finished and the weather changes. 


Also part of our conversation did turn to our shop/garage airconditioning fund. Pam informed me that we have more than made up for the amount that I pulled out to buy my Canon camera and are getting close to our target amount. If things go as planned it looks like this will be the last summer that I will have to endure a hot shop and sweat dripping on my galsses, tools and projects. Unless the “ball park" estimate we got from our HVLP guy is much lower than the actual cost or we have some unforseen expense that we need the money for it looks like I’ll have a mini-split heating/cooling unit installed sometime in February. That actually will be good timing because it’s a “downtime” for our installer and sometimes the cost of the units is lower in the off season. I’m very excited and glad that Pam agreed that adding airconditioning to the shop/garage building was a priority project for our budget.


So, if you’re looking for an easy way to make your life happier adding a small lathe and learning how to turn may help. I can promise it can provide a lot of enjoyment.