One-Liner Wednesday – Limitations

That would be as in “know your limitations” and find a way to work through life anyway. The actual one-liner was delivered by me to my daughter Faith, as she worked her way through a fairly difficult bit of woodworking. She gave me permission to post it here and to use some of the wonderful photos. So, I might just be making up for that sub-500 word Cherished Blogfest post.

You are neither plumb nor level

The raw slab. She wants that section with all the damage

This started when Faith decided that she wanted to make a set of bookends for a friend. She liked the ones I had made last winter and was hoping to find a similar hunk of wood to use. The store where I bought that wood is 30 minutes north of our house and Faith is 45 minutes in the other direction. That’s a lot of driving to maybe find a piece of wood. So, we decided to use Facetime. I drove to the store and walked around the wood room pointing the camera at anything and everything interesting. They didn’t have much. This kind of wood comes to the market in waves, and, apparently, we are in a trough.

After ruling out all of the smaller pieces, I turned the camera to some large boards. We spied that mess at the right, tucked in with some thick slabs, and I took it out for a closer look. Faith was sold. She imagined that she could extract the interesting portion around those knots for the bookends. The remainder, she thinks, will make a nice bench.

A little information about that board will soon be necessary. It’s Black Locust. It’s about 6’ high and 2” thick (182 x 5 cm). It’s heavy. That board weighs about 60 lbs (27.3 kg). That wood is hard. Very hard.

Since Faith was thinking ahead to that bench, she wanted to preserve some long stock to use as legs. That meant cutting a rectangle out of the slab. The only tool I own that is capable of doing that is a jigsaw, and it’s barely capable. The first thing she needed to do was to drill two relief holes at the inside corners of that rectangle, so she could turn the blade 90° when she got there.

I gave her a cordless drill with a bit that was about half the size of the hole she needed. It’s easier to enlarge a small hole than it is to drill a large one in a single pass. I made today’s one-liner as she started to drill the first hole, holding the drill at multiple angles, none of them 90°

Realizing how critical it would be to have that hole perfectly perpendicular to the surface, she asked if we couldn’t somehow use the drill press. We wrestled the 60lb slab through the garage and up onto the drill press. Several clamps and outrigger supports later, she was ready to drill. Back on the saw horses, she missed the line a little, but she actually did pretty well considering that the blade only poked through the slab at the very bottom of its stroke. That causes vibration and makes the saw hard to control.

Once she set the target hunk free from the slab, she was on a roll. Surfaced, cut, arranged, cut some more, sanded, sanded and sanded, oiled and voilà, bookends!

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday. Yes, I realize I exceeded 500 words. It felt good. You can check out the other entries, some of which are actually one line long over at Linda’s place.

One Liner WednesdayIf you have 7 seconds to spare, you can watch that slab make one pass through the planer.


  1. I am always amazed, Dan when I see your teeny tiny daughter at the work bench, surrounded by tools. Her friend is going to love the bookends. Thanks for being Faith’s FaceTime dad so she could get the job done – 1,000 points to you for that. Unfortunately, I have to deduct 500 for being gabby.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Mary. I’m pretty sure Linda said “have fun” and the whole “one-liner” thing is more a guideline than a hard and fast rule…I think… Oh well, I’ll pocket the 500 net points. It’s still a good day.

      We have had some funny times in the shop, where Faith’s (lack of) weight has been a problem. Once, when she was helping me with a bit of car maintenance, I told her to push down harder on the handle of the vise, and she lifted herself off the floor. “OK, let’s turn that around so you can pull up on it.”


  2. I give Faith a lot of credit, Dan, because I know how difficult it is to saw through hard wood. Those bookends are beautiful and she did an outstanding job selecting where to make that final cut. I bet her heart was up in her throat hoping that she was making the correct cut and that cut would be exactly as she envisioned it to be. Great post!!! <3

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Amy. It really does make you nervous. You know that, once you make that cut, there’s no going back. She has a very good eye for what will look good. Her photography always amazes me. We take pictures of the same places, but her are always a different composition. I learn a lot from her.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I get involved in some projects like that and once you do it there is no going back. Meanwhile your heart is in your throat. I know I signed up for her blog but I don’t seem to get posts in my reader. I bet you both learn a lot from each other. :) <3


  3. I love wood. I like the look, the feel, the smell … and these bookends are beautiful.
    I’m always amazed by creative people who can ‘see’ a piece of work from the raw material.

    I LOVED Mary’s deduction of points for being gabby. BWAHAHAHAHA!!!
    … but the back story was important :)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The bookends look great! I love the grain, and knot. She picked a great place to cut that slab to show off the knot and pattern of the grain.

    Kudos, for going up to the lumber store and Facetiming Faith the choices! I love Facetime!

    Looking forward to seeing the bench she’s got in mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! The Facetime thing was amazing to me. I don’t use it often, but it really was like bringing her into the store. It’s pretty clear what the bench will look like. It’s certainly going to be heavy.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Fabulous Faith! I’m thinking here that I would never be able to produce such a fine pair of bookends. I can see that Faith truly enjoys her woodworking projects. What a great time for bonding, sharing, and learning for you and Faith. Have a super-duper day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Elaine. She does enjoy woodworking, and she’s getting better and better. I’m looking forward to her making that bench. It’s going to be hard, because that board will have to be planed by hand.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Those bookends turned out beautifully. Faith is so lucky that you she knows her way confidently around those tools. I cannot think of any of my friends or their kids (boys and girls alike) who know this. Great parenting, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lois. I’m so glad she enjoys this hobby. Woodworking is still popular but I don’t know what the age range is. I’m guessing there aren’t too many 30-yr-olds. I hold I’m wrong.


  7. I’m amazed that anyone could take that piece of wood and turn it into such gorgeous bookends. The closest I’ve ever come to woodworking was the wood-burning kit I received when I was 12, and I nearly burned the house down with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I watched all 7 seconds of that video and I liked it. I enjoy the woodworking stuffs. Reminds me of my grandfather and many happy hours I spent in the shop, “keeping an eye on granddad.” lol

    Those are awesome bookends. Faith has a good eye, I say again. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love that piece of wood! I’m always impressed when people can pick up wood (or any naturally occurring object) and imagine all the wonderful things you could create out of it– it’s like what Michelangelo said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” She seems to have developed that skill well! I was thinking– oh standard bookends at the beginning of the post, but the pictures showed the unique grain and knots she thoughtfully chose–lovely work!


    • Thank you. We don’t often do “standard” anything. She has s very good eye and I think she had an idea of what these would look like as soon as we found that slab. It will be interesting to see if that slab yields an interesting bench.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Great pictures and post. Whenever I see such pictures I remember my college days when I had to handle such projects. The only difference is that my projects were metal based, so I never worked on wood. We usually had these workshops Sunday morning 7 a.m. and I used to hate it because I would party around with my friends late Saturday night and I would be in no mood to wake up and head to college on a Sunday morning when people are still lying in their bed enjoying their sleep. However, I love the wood projects you work on. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I also enjoy working with metal, but I don’t have many of the proper tools, so the work is never of more than a utilitarian nature. Getting up for school, or going to work when others were partying or sleeping off having partied, was never fun. I used to have to start work at 3:00 am on Saturday morning. So while friends were partying Friday night, I had to be careful or pay the price.

      Liked by 1 person

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