Woodchuckle: Hobbies - Canadian Woodworking Magazine


Woodchuckle: Hobbies

Illustration by Mike Del Rizzo

Have you ever noticed that very few people manage to turn their hobby into a professional, money-making endeavour? That might be because they have really lame hobbies, but really, how many hobbies lend themselves to professional status? Woodworking does and I was one of the few lucky enough to make the transition. And survive!

Walk into almost any woodworker’s shop and you will see a stack of well-thumbed magazines. Usually the professional’s collection dates back to his days as a hobbyist and you won’t see anything newer than the month he first opened for business. The reason for this is because the professional seldom has time to read magazines. A case in point is the magazine you hold in your hot, eager little hands. (Hint! Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement Magazine.) Unfortunately, just reading the title takes up so much time that only retired woodworkers manage to read the rest of the magazine.

I was different than other professional woodworkers and held subscriptions to many different magazines. My justification was that I could write them off as resource material. The purchase of new tools was likewise justified. Unfortunately, my shop never actually needed the write-offs but I really needed something to do during the long, lonely nights in the Yukon.

Nowadays, my skills are more often put to use as a hobbyist and new home owner. I recently moved to the “Beautiful Sunny Okanagan” (anyone who has visited the place will fully understand why I capitalized it) and renovations have taken precedence.

But for those of you who like to periodically purchase new tools (and what woodworker doesn’t?), I’ve come up with the perfect scam to do so. As a bonus, you can perform this scam often with the full approval of your loved one.
All you have to do is move!

As anyone who has ever moved will tell you, no woman is ever completely satisfied with her new house. Even if she was the one who designed it. Renovations are always desired, even if not strictly necessary, so take this opportunity and plan some large, intricate and/or expensive changes to improve your new home for your special loved one. Moving is an ideal opportunity (or excuse) to “lose” old tools or “accidentally forget” them back at the old house, thus lending you the perfect excuse to head down to the local Lee Valley, Home Hardware, Rona, etc. for replacements. Works a charm as long as you insist that the renos are all about her. (Or him. I got in trouble recently from a reader for not making my column gender- neutral. Apparently there are women out there who woodwork as well.)

So far, since we moved to BC, I’ve had to pick up a number of replacement tools, all of which I swear or otherwise affirm were absolutely necessary to complete the job at hand or in the near or possibly sometime distant future. They are: a wet/dry tile cutter needed to install a heated tile floor in her new en-suite, a wrecking bar so I could enlarge her clothes closet, tubing cutters and propane torch for her corner shower installation and laundry room switch-over, a 435-piece set of screwdrivers of every conceivable size and shape (and a few I have no frigging idea what they could ever possibly be used for) and a new cordless drill/screwdriver I needed to open all the neat wooden boxes I had packed my tools in for safe shipping. (So that’s where I put that saw, hammer, cat, screwdriver and/or spare child). I’ll probably need to get a new lawn mower and a bigger and better compressor because my son-in-law (who was supposed to bring them out for me has discovered a better use for them at his place). And, to top it all off, the piece-de-resistance … a new truck to carry all the lumber, drywall and new tools with. All so that I can better demonstrate my love by doing all these great new renovations, just for her.
Because it’s ALL about her!



Don Wilkinson


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