As I look around my workshop, I see hundreds of objects that are important to me. Some are favorite tools. Some are jigs and fixtures that I’ve made to make woodworking easier. Some are antique tools that were given to me, as well as some that I’ve just owned for a long time. It’s a shocking day when you realize that something you bought is now an antique. As I glanced around the room, seeking that one cherished object to write about, I kept coming back to this stool.
This stool isn’t hand made. It wasn’t expensive. It isn’t part of a line of stools made by an important manufacturer. In fact, when I first saw this stool, it was in a heap of trash at the side of the road. The cushion was torn and one leg was badly bent, no doubt the result of someone leaning back on it. My father pointed out, as he retrieved the stool from the trash, that: “things don’t break if you use them properly.” It wasn’t the first time I had heard that statement.
My dad cut the bad leg off above the bend and then cut the other legs to match. He added four ill-fitting rubber feet to the end of the legs, put a piece of tape across the tear and set the stool behind the counter at Bridgeville Recreation Center, the bowling alley he managed. Later that week, he cut a piece of material from yet another piece of discarded furniture and used that to “reupholster” the seat.
That was over 50 years ago.
I used to sit on the stool and do my homework when I was with him at the bowling alley on a school night. Once I started helping him behind the counter, I didn’t sit.
“It makes you look lazy. You want to look like you’re ready to help someone as they approach the counter.”
After the bowling alley closed, he took the stool home to his workshop. It spent most of its life holding things like cans of paint, because, if you were helping him, you didn’t sit. You also didn’t sit while working, because “you have to put your weight into that tool” and like that.
After he died, I put the stool in my workshop. Later, I moved the stool to my cabinet shop and, when that closed, I brought it home again. When our daughter was little, she sat on this stool, out of harm’s way when she visited me in my shop. These days, since we’re both working in the shop, neither of us sits very often. Sometimes, when we are working on plans or when my wife brings us toast or sliced cucumbers to munch on, we will sit for a few minutes. Mostly, it holds cans of stain or small tools.
Still, my shop wouldn’t feel right without that stool
This post is part of the 2016 Cherished Blogfest, an event started with a small group of creative friends in 2015. If you have a cherished object, you can join the blogfest until midnight tomorrow – July 31st. I think it’s a thing.
Also, I think it’s appropriate that this is the 500th post on No Facilities.