Good Hours.

I never had a person "teach" me anything about woodworking. I don't remember growing up with a single true lesson or lecture on the importance of reading, self-reliance, work ethic, or being a man. Everything was passed to me by watching my parents, my grandparents, and my aunts and uncles and a couple role models interact with life. 

I've learned what to do and not to do by their successes and their mistakes and I've learned how to carry myself through the lessons I've had to figure out for myself. 

When it comes to making things, it was never a question of "if" It was just a fact that that is what you do. My mother always had a quilting studio where she makes wonderful art quilts but would also sew patches on my jeans and a halloween costume or two. I watched my dad repair car engines, build needed furniture from particle board and 2x4's, and and work very, very hard to make sure we didn't notice how close to the ground we were scraping it sometimes. 

I had uncles who built things, worked construction, repaired their cars, a pair of my uncles in particular started their own business together creating a pheasant and grouse hunting resort and I watched them bootstrap and build all the infrastructure for that endeavor. My Grandpa Olson was a farmer and there is a never ending supply of DIY and "make it work" that goes along with that. 

To me, using your hands to make your life better, regardless of your chosen career or profession, was always, simply, a given fact and I have never understood people who aren't wired the same. 

My injury restrictions have finally been lifted and now I have a month of strengthening before all is normal again so I was in the shop cleaning and prepping to start working again when my dad called. 

My last surviving Grandparent, Ray Johnson, had passed away a short while before. It wasn't a surprise but it is still that kind of thing. Here I was putting away tools I had recently gotten from him and thinking about him and then the news arrived. 

My Grandpa Ray was a lifetime woodworker and car guy. After he "retired" he continued to work well into his 90's. This past March I was able to make the drive north to Roseau MN to spend some time with him. I brought a photo album of my woodworking to show him. We sat at his dining room table while he poured over every page with more wow's and encouragement than I could believe. 

"There's good hours in here," he said patting the closed cover as he finished, "Oh my, so many good hours." 

He is right of course. Everything else aside, time in my shop, time with my wife, time with my children, time with my parents and my siblings. These things are my church. They are all good hours. 

Thank you Grandpa, Dad, and everyone. Not for teaching me anything, but simply for being examples of how important it is to find those good hours and appreciate them. 

Horis Bonum


  1. Well said sir. I was one of those kids that had to be swatted off something before I dismantled it. My dad would bring me old parts from the junk yard that I could take apart. As much as I enjoy woodworking, I am still more at home with metal. I never had more than a drill press, but give me a good hack saw and a couple decent files and I ‘ll get what I need. If a kid is interested, I think you expose him to technique but teach attitude. My two best mentors were my dad and my high school shop teacher. I really do catch myself thinking of them while doing things they helped or showed me how to do. Thank these folks while you can, none of us are getting out of here alive!


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