Stick This

socs-badgeWhen I saw that the SoCS prompt was “stick” a bunch of my father’s favorite expressions came to mind. These would be the kind of expressions that Evelyne suggested we should avoid sharing during her A-to-Z month of French idioms and their English equivalents. I’m pretty sure you’re all aware of the expression hinted at in the title so we won’t go there. There. You know, where the sun doesn’t shine. Oh, I guess I went there.

Oh well, “stick” has some other meanings to me, including two different but important ones from when I operated my cabinet shop. One task that was very important in the winter was to “stick the tank” in order to tell if it was time to buy oil for the furnace. The (oil) tank was outside and it didn’t have a gauge. Measuring meant inserting a stick into the tank and comparing the height of the oil stain to the line that represented the order point. Very scientific.

This is a glass door, but since I was mounting a painted mirror, I elected to treat it like a wooden panel and assemble the frame around it. Also, since it's in our bathroom, I wasn't worried about stray baseballs breaking it.
This is a glass door, but since I was mounting a painted mirror, I elected to treat it like a wooden panel and assemble the frame around it. Also, since it’s in our bathroom, I wasn’t worried about stray baseballs breaking it.

The other, and hopefully more interesting woodworking “stick” is part of a very common woodworking joint used in making panel doors. The joint is referred to as a “cope and stick” joint.

The joint is formed in a woodworking operation that involves cutting one piece of wood with the inverse profile of another piece so they can be joined together. The resulting joint is very strong. The interlocking parts give the joint a certain mechanical strength. In addition the large amount of surface-area gives the glue a chance to work its magic much more effectively. Craftsmen, used to cut this by hand using specially formed molding planes. Woodworkers today use a router or a shaper.

This “illustration” shows the interlocking nature of the joint and the increased surface area for glue. It also shows how the cutter forms the profile. Imagine the blue is a cutter and the red is the result.

Both of those machines spin a round bit or a cutter set (in the case of a shaper) at a very high speed. The shaper is stationary and a router would probably be set into a router table to make it stationary so that the wood would be pushed into the spinning bit. The diagram at the right not only shows the resulting joint, but the cutters as well. A cutter shaped like the red side will produce a piece of wood that looks like the blue side.

On a panel door, the top, bottom and sides are all “sticked” so that they can receive the panel. Technically, the top and bottom are called “rails” and the sides are called “stiles.” Where a rail meets a stile, the end of the rail is “coped” to match the profile of the stile. You can see this if you crank your head under or over a raised panel door and look close at the corner. The joint is elegant, strong and, once the machine is set up properly, easy to replicate on a large number of doors.

The joint is cut with a
The joint is cut with a “rabbit” at the bottom so the glass panel can be replaced.

You don’t only use this joint on doors, you can also use it on windows. The panel, in the case of a window would be a pane of glass, and to be able to replace the glass when it breaks, you cut the joint differently as shown here. The glass would be set into a thin bed of glazing compound (putty) and then more putty would be applied to hold the glass in place.

Glazing is one of those simple tasks that takes a million years to learn how to do correctly. A skilled glazier makes it look simple, 1-2-6-done. I have puttied lots of glass panes into place. It’s never been simple and the results never looked as if a pro did it. When I made the windows for the Victorian Turret, I was dreading the task of glazing those 15 little panes of glass. When I took the window to a glass shop for the glass to be cut, the owner asked “do you want me to putty them in?” I didn’t even ask how much that would cost.

I found router bits to match the profile in those Victorian windows. These were very hard to see when spinning at 20,000 RPM.
I found router bits to match the profile in those Victorian windows. These were very hard to see when spinning at 20,000 RPM.

Anyway, I used this style of joinery when I made those windows. I had to buy special router bits to match the historic profile. Sticking (along the side of the curved pieces) was pretty easy. Coping the tiny ends of the individual sections was hard. Those little bits were hard to work with and everything had to be done freehand and – there – were – so – many – little – pieces. It was tedious. I got careless. I forgot which way the bit was spinning. Instead of pushing the wood section against the rotation of the bit (like you’re supposed to), I pushed a piece the wrong way. The bit grabbed the wood and propelled it and my index finger right on through.

You may not know this, but you can whip blood. You can. I looked at the side of my finger and it was covered in whipped blood. It’s the consistency of whipped cream, but pink.

I’ve injured that same finger many times. I’ll spare you any more gore since you’re probably struggling with the image of whipped blood. I’ve stuck with woodworking as a hobby. I enjoy using hand and power tools and turning sticks into furniture and useful objects.

This post is part of Linda Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt.

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “stick.”  Use it as a noun, a verb, or add stuff to it to make it an adverb or an adjective. Have fun!”

Please join us in the fun.


  1. Wonderful stuff Dan. There’s something so marvellous about craftsmanship and what it produces.The tools we produce, especially today are ingenious and invoke all the creative juices. They stand on the beauty of past traditions and what those traditions have given us. Great post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Don. I have used, and I worked to teach my daughter how to use some of the hand tools. Once you do that, you really get a feel for what the modern machine is doing. I love woodworking. I am pretty good at it, but I am in absolute awe of the people who could do it by hand.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Lois. My wife still hates the sound of a router, and she just announced that she will never help me glaze windows again. My poor index finger wants a divorce, it’s taken more than its share of abuse. Actually, whipped blood was far less scary looking than spurting, dripping blood.


  2. Ouch!!!!! I won’t bother saying “be careful!” because i’m sure you were. Good golly, i’m glad it wasn’t worse. Okay now that i’ve peeled myself off the ceiling, that actually was a very interesting lesson in wood working. Thanks to “stick” for prompting it. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Teagan. I always try to be careful. Most of the times I’ve been injured, small (hammer smack) or large, have been when I’ve gotten careless while running multiple pieces. It’s so easy to loose track of what you are doing. It’s why industrial machines have safety guards (and why I don’t usually remove mine).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember well the day my husband’s router sent him to the hospital. It was the day after Christmas. Caught up in his excitement to try it out, he plugged it in before checking to see if it was off. Like watching a horror flick, the thing came to life and chewed up the webbing between his finger and thumb, ran up his arm, got twisted in his shirt and scratched his belly before he got it unplugged. He never plugs in anything now without first making sure it’s off.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am intrigued by whipped blood, because I didn’t expect to learn about that. Sorry for your pain, but I suppose it’s right up there with being burnt while one cooks.
    I am in awe of this sort of DETAIL. All the things you must know. You’re right, glaziers make it look easy.
    Beautiful windows, there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks. I chalk up what I know to how long I’ve been around. Still can’t putty a window. Those are beautiful but they aren’t mine. That’s sad, I would have loved working in that office. Hazard of the trade, like cooking burns and cuts.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Woodworking is the perfect combination of practicality and creativity + testosterone ;)
    Or in your daughter’s case + estrogen. I mean if men can knit, then women can use scary tools.
    Whipped blood—that’s maybe one of the best descriptive phrases I’ve ever heard!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s awesome! In the 70’s I learned to macrame and the hippie who taught me said it began with sailors who used fancy knots for rigging and nets.
        I know a neurosurgeon who took up crewel embroidery to enhance his fine motor skills.
        Let’s all do whatever captures our imagination and helps us grow creatively.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Gosh, those windows are absolutely gorgeous albeit at the expense of your whipped blood. Is this your current house ?!? Beautiful architectural exterior.

    I am sorry you weren’t able to make a living at something you are so passionate about, but glad you have the tools and space to continue creating such lovely home features and furnishings.

    Did your father, or does your brother, share passion/skill for woodworking or did someone else lead you to this? Of course if you have prior posts, please point me to them.

    The French be damned 💞 give us the stickisms. The only ones I can think of are ‘stick the landing’ in gymnastics and ‘Stuck on You’ – was that Lional Ritchie?!? I’ll think of 10 more as soon as I sign off!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish that was my house. Sadly, no. Not only that, but the guy stuck me for the final invoice until squirrels got in his house and damaged two of the windows so badly they had to be remade. At a higher price with payment, in full, up front.

      My father was passionate about woodworking and construction. He made custom golf clubs as a side business. He was quite talented. My brother has a DIY streak but not as wide as mine.

      My father’s favorite stick-ism was his way of describing stuck up women. He would say: “she walks like she has a hamburger stuck up her a** and is trying not to lose the onions.” For a long time, I though that “stuck up” was short for that expression. Im pretty sure there’s no French idiom for that :)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL LOL LOL. That’s the best line I’ve heard in a long time. My Dad would have loved hanging out with a guy who could handtool golf clubs while making him laugh 😉

        You HAVE to write more about Dad’s lines and wisdom. Please !! If my Dad had spouted pearls like that I’d be sharing them …

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Can’t wait. I posted your Dad’s stuck up definition on my FB page (didn’t use your name just blogging buddy’s late Father) because my family and high school friends will love it.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. That’s fine. He loved that expression and we had a cousin who fit that perfectly, so he got to use it a lot. He also managed a bowling alley so I got quite an education in the slightly lower language arts.

              Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah the first time I watched a documentary of a hip replacement and saw the saws and drills and the surgeon on his knees on the table using the saw, then laboriously sewing the guy up, I thought ‘Holy crap, surgeons are hard manual laborers when all this time I had slotted them as supreme cerbral specialists.’

        Not that I don’t still revere them, but I wouldn’t pay all that tuition to learn to sew and saw!!

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Dental tools are medieval torture tools! I bought a set of picks and scrapers on Ebay out of curiosity 😉

            When Raqi was little, she’d freak out the minute we’d enter the doc’s waiting room ( small wonder since the first thing they’d do is strip her naked and put her on the cold metal scales).

            One time when she was sick, her tearful “Go, Papa, Go” pointing to the exit door almost had Us in tears. After they put us in the examining room, we had the inevitable wait. I took the stethascope and the ear tool and the tongue depressor and handed each to Raqi explaining how it would be used. I set her in the scales so she could get used to that.

            We often don’t realize that kids – even babies – are amazingly adaptable with a little forewarning and demonstration. The exam was a piece of cake for Raqi and the doctor.

            Liked by 3 people

    1. A few years ago, I sliced that same finger on my table saw. After a quick visit to the ER, I emailed people to say that I could still count to 10. I’ll be careful Dan, thanks.


  7. Dan, interesting post. I know nothing about woodworking, and now know about it & whipped blood. Probably saw a lot of that in my med/surg nursing days. Also helped out with those surgical hip-pinning tools (years ago). I sometimes learn stuff that I’ll never use! But that doesn’t stop me from reading every post. It’s your fun writing style that gets me coming back every time. Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think I paled at the mention of whipped blood. That sounds really painful! And just…weird. All sorts of weird images going through my head now.

    The windows are beautiful though – I love the detail on them. I’m in such awe of people who can make things. It must be amazing to have a house furnished with things you’ve made and to know that there’s a small part of you in each one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Celine. The windows date back to 1985 when I owned a cabinet shop. It isn’t my house. We do have a bunch of furniture that I have made as well as several home improvement projects and I do like knowing that there’s a bit of me in them. My daughter has also started making furniture and that is a very good feeling.


  9. That’s very interesting! I had no idea what was involved in a project like those windows. They are beautiful! Sorry to hear about your “whipped blood.” What a thing to say…”whew! Glad that’s over. That job whipped my blood!” :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Quality hand craftmanship is slowly dying, Dan, and it fills my Heart with such JOY that you are passing the trade secrets down to your daughter. I LOVE working with my hands and creating. I wish more people would start again to take pride in the work they do. I really enjoyed your post and I am really enjoying your stream of consciousness’ posts. Keep them coming!!! Love, Amy <3

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Amy. Faith is a creative type. Her only problem will be finding enough time to do all the things she enjoys. I think I would rather spend a day in my workshop than almost anything else. I don’t get nearly enough time, but I am working toward the day when I will.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dan, TIME is my issue as well. I would like to have more time to put towards my photography and all I wish to do, yet, I have so many responsibilities still in my Life that I am just not able to walk away from. *sighs* I hope I am not too old by the time TIME is available to give me opportunity to really concentrate on my LOVE for my camera and books. :)

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I don’t know of a French idiom with ‘stick,’ so all is good! But I want to thank you for sticking to proper expressions and also for linking to my series of French idioms.
    Still love this house and the library/den room!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Evelyne. That was one of the hardest projects to walk away from. That office was so nice to be in. I’m not sure that I would get much work done if I was in it all day, but I’d like to try.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Whenever I see such posts, I just go back in time to the first year of my college when I accidentally chose Mechanical Engineering. It was a wrong decision. I don’t say its a boring thing, but my health just did not permitted me to use files and saws and do the cutting. We had an electronic cutting machine, but we were not allowed to use it, at least without faculty supervision. I believe that’s because we were just too young with hormones bubbling inside us. Anyway, I was brilliant at diagrams because I was creative and I have a good sense of how an object would look from side, top, bottom, so I would bargain with someone to do the practicals for me, and I would do his diagram and write answers which obviously would get him good grades. Oops, did I just publicly confessed that I used to cheat? :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for adding a cool story to this Sharukh. I’ll go with you analyzed your capabilities and challenges and you made a practical decision. Let’s not call it cheating :)


      1. You know people. There’s a reason they slow down for accidents, and it’s not because of safety. Not that glazing compounds and panel doors aren’t fascinating in their own right!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Peter. I like that you can see some joints in furniture. That something can be functional and elegant is a nice aspect of this hobby. So often, the mechanics is buried beneath the surface.

      Liked by 1 person

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