A Bit 'n a Bench

A hundred degree shop will give you a truthful evaluation of your up-to-snuffness that simply can’t be ignored. And so adjustments are made, as with any tool in the shop. Your humble scribe woodgnome is down 8 pounds. Sweating it off in the shop, taking a walk every day right in the hottest part of it, staying hydrated, and keeping my addictions away. Namely anything to do with olive-oily 'mater sauce, bread (especially spread out into large disc form with a nice crust around the edge), and cheese. And, of course, the lovely golden brewed fizzy beverage that compliments it so nicely. The hardest part is getting started, which is actually getting stopped. Actually reaching for that half avocado or a friggin’ strawberry, and some sparkling water on ice instead of some fiiiine-ass creamy microbrew. Once the scale number starts diminishing, it’s like “Awww maaaan… now I REALLY can’t… I have too much invested now.” We’re not talking a lot here but I’m only 5’3” so keep that in mind. The difference so far is in stamina, and I’ll keep you posted. I will tell you this – a cruise in the old Pontiac up to Canyon Lake to sit out on a deck with a faaaah-rossssteh mug of beer and a pizza the size of my thorax sounds mighty good right now. When my goals are met I will give in, but only in moderation. Not now. For now its radishes and farts like pure little pillows made from springtime garden blossoms.  

Speaking of tools, I want to give some shine to my finishing bench. The metal parts go way back to the basement of my aunt & uncle’s house in Everett, Mass in the 1970s. There was a little work room where my uncle kept his tools and this was his bench, I remember it as a kid. Along the way it came to me and the particle board top disintegrated so I made another out of better material. This was a repair bench in two music shops and the wiring bench in the original Birdsong workshop in town, making its way out here in 2008 to become the finishing bench. On the right leg is what's left of a "Juan y Tu" local band magnet from its years up in Melrose, MA at my first shop.

Rubbing the oil blend into the wood is a very special moment; my woodcraft mentor Johnny felt that was when the wood came back to life. I try to be mindful of this when I work the coats into the instruments-to-be and work in a place of gratitude and wishing the best of this tree, this bench, this workshop, and the best of me to all go out with this bass or guitar, or piece of woodcraft made from cutoffs of the process. I’m not just sending product, I’m furthering ripples of life and lives, of others’ work, and hopefully contributing to new inspirations and their ripples outward. From the bench of my uncle Pat Petipas, long ago and far away, yet here now with me on this journey of wood and wire and good vibrations, we all – present and passed – wish you well. Thanks for being with us!

Listening to: Bob Seger Like a Rock; Aerosmith’s 1st album and Pandora’s Box Disc 1; Pat Metheney Group Quartet.