Well, the magic word will surely depend on the situation.
Quite often the correct answer will be please.
But sometimes please just doesn't do it. A stronger more magic word is required.
Back in 1992 I spent some months in Minnesota, and I had the privilege of being allowed to help out at auctions held by the then oldest auctioneer company in Minnesota: "Fred Radde and sons, auctioneers and realtors"
Fred the main auctioneer knew the magic word for Minnesotan auctions was "Fish house". If an old crappy sofa or chair was unsaleable, calling it a fish house chair would instantly spark the interest in the crowd and someone would buy it for their fish house for the coming winter season of ice fishing (a great sport by the way). Fred's next comment would usually be in line with: "buy it now and leave it on the ice, in the spring it will be gone".
He really knew how to make a good atmosphere and that stimulated people to buy, and all in all it contributed to a nice event with lots of laughter and good deals.
Now in my case "fish house" wont do it. "Please" works sometimes, but "HORSE" works every single time.
If I need to start a new project:
"Honey, I'll go mill some wood to make some saw dust to spread in the stable for the horses to sleep in".
Such an approach will be greatly appreciated, in contrast to e.g.:
"Honey, I'll start building a new workbench"
There are a number of situations where you can use the magic word, tool purchases, classes etc. the imagination is the limit.
In reality you want to say: While I don't really need this tool, I am sure it would impress someone reading my blog.
Chances are that my request will be frowned upon and quickly be discarded as not essential for the household.
If I on the other hand say something like this:
"If I buy this tool, I could make a really nice cupboard for the saddle room, so you can easily organize the tendon boots for the horses."
I am sure you get the idea.
So I am thinking that a lot of the advice offered for aspiring woodworkers start in the wrong place such as:
Advice for a beginners tool kit.
What planes to buy and when.
The first saw you should get.
And so on....
A much better place to start would be by finding the magic word. The very word that will allow you to invest time and money in your hobby and being thanked for it. Now that is something that isn't described in a lot of "how to posts" for people wanting to get into woodworking.
We are not talking complicated psychology here, a good look at your wife's hobbies will most likely give an idea of what the magic word could be, Here are a couple of suggestions that might work, but remember like in Harry Potter, there is always the risk of a magic spell backfiring on you, so be careful!
Gardening (this one is dangerous because you could end up using a shovel all day long instead).
Bespoke baking supplies.
Doll house (this one might make it difficult to justify getting a portable saw mill)
Finally, you shouldn't feel bad about using a magic word, because I am fairly certain that we are under their spell most of the time anyway.
In the village we have a small kindergarten. Our youngest son went there, and though it is some years ago now, I still help them once a year by providing some discs of wood for when they make Christmas decorations. These are just sawed with a chainsaw and the children slap a lump of clay on top and insert spruce twigs and a candle etc.
I talked to one of the staff quite some time ago, and she asked if I ever had any small scraps of wood, because they had a small workbench, and the children liked to saw and hammer on something.
So a couple of times I have driven by them to drop of a load of small scraps of wood.
For some time I have been toying with an idea that perhaps I should make X number of sets of wood that could be assembled into small ships.
Nothing fancy, just a hull, a superstructure, a funnel and perhaps two masts.
I am well aware that most ships today don't have masts, but I know that children think they belong on a ship, and who am I to argue with that?
It won't be an immediate project, because the stock that I have in mind are scraps of the roof boards used on the small barn. I will order a bunch more of those for finishing the inside of the barn too, and I know that I will be getting a lot of leftovers from that.
The wood is spruce which is a lot easier to nail than larch, and given the age of the children that will be an advantage.
If I drill pilot holes in the superstructure and in the funnel, It should be easier to drive the small nails home, and that will definitely be an advantage. Also they can still rearrange those pieces as they wish on the hull.
The hull itself I plan on making complete with a bow and two holes for a mast to be inserted.
Then I'll just have to purchase a bunch of dowels and cut those into fitting lengths of masts.
A small ship like that could be painted when complete, and unless things have changed a lot, children usually like to paint stuff.
Of course I need to check with the kindergarten if they are at all interested in receiving such a set of kits first before I make them, and I also need to start on the interior of the barn to get some stock for the eventual project.
I continue my description of the moral decay of Denmark with a mixture of child labour and arms dealing.
The local shop in the village once a year hosts a market day where there is a social gathering with coffee and socializing with the other residents of the area.
The important thing for our children though is the market part, which allows you to have a booth at the parking lot and try to sell stuff. This year Gustav didn't feel like participating, he is a teenager now, and won't risk compromising being cool by being seen selling odd stuff in a parking lot (at least that is what I believe is the reason)
Asger likes the idea of selling something that he has made himself, and we have earlier sold stuff like apple crates, a home made soap and old no longer used toys.
This year I returned home from the ship some 2 weeks prior to the arrangement, and Asger wanted us to think of something new to sell this year. He takes pride in that we never sell the same products two years in a row.
I quickly had to think of something that would look the part and not be too overly difficult to build, I would of course help, but I wanted parts of the project to be such that the kids could do it themselves, in order for them to feel more of an ownership of the project.
This year we decided on making a small production of wooden toy guns.
I sawed out the stock on the band saw, and after some initial sanding and planing, I used a router to round over all the edges.
Asger sanded the stocks and then we helped each other applying some walnut stain.
We decided to make a few different models of guns, but all using more or less the same stock:
3 shotguns O/U
3 shotguns S/S
2 small carabines (stock shortened by approx 5" for very small kids)
14 sub machine guns inspired by a Thompson.
I made the barrels ready by gluing up those for the shotguns and flattening those for the sub machine guns and the carabines.
Asger drilled holes in all the barrels for mounting and the he painted them all.
I made some magazines for the "Thompsons" and Asger tried to use the router mounted in a router table to round them over on the edges before he sanded and painted them.
The triggers are a screw that has had the end cut off and filed round, and the trigger guards were made out of some zinc plate that I bent into shape.
Finally the barrels were mounted and the guns were ready to be sold.
Asgers friend Andreas helped in selling the guns.
One of the things that happened this home period was that Gustav (14) finished his test exams from 8th grade.
He and his friends all thought that it had been exhaustive, and they wanted to celebrate that it was over and have a get together at our place.
I am fine with that, because they are all nice kids, and an added bonus is that I can keep an eye on them while they are here.
In Denmark it is legal and normal to drink at a fairly young age compared to a lot of other places, and 8th grade is a typical starting point. So this get together involved alcohol.
Each kid brings whatever he wants to drink, usually in cooperation with his parents. That way they will normally get a fitting portion with them, Gustav will normally be issued with 3 beers and a breezer plus perhaps a bit of vodka equivalent to two beers worth of alcohol. He'll consume that during an evening and have a great time.
One of the kids at this party had fairly long hair, and after just one hour or so he exclaimed that he wanted a haircut.
None of them were drunk at that time, and I didn't really think they would go through with it. They found an extension cord and my hair trimmer and headed into the garden to start.
Somehow this kid had managed to sneak a huge portion of rum and coke with him, and he had gulped it all down at once. So within 20 minutes he was regularly drunk. While he was sitting on a garden chair and having his hair cut to a length of 3/8", He lost his balance and pulled the buddy who was controlling the trimmer with him in the fall.
None of them noticed that during the commotion the distance piece of the trimmer had fallen off, so after mounting the chair and restarting, suddenly the trimmer now made a length of 1/16" instead!
I had left the scene for approximately half an hour to tend to the horses, but when I came back he had started getting sick and throwing up. I managed to get a phone number from the kid and called his mother. - She came around and picked him up about 15 minutes later. The time was just half past nine.
The guy who had handled the trimmer must have been inspired, because according to the other kids he had smuggled half a bottle of vodka with him, and he impressed them all by drinking it in one long swallow.
Needless to say, 15 minutes later he was as drunk as he could be, and started throwing up too..
Again I called the parents, and when his mother came to pick him up, she surprised me by saying that: Oh she had noticed that he had smuggled half a bottle of vodka with him. That actually made me kind of irritated. If she knew that he had exceeded the amount of alcohol that they had agreed upon, she should have stopped him from taking more with him. But I wasn't in the mood for discussing that. She was the one who was going to have problems with a drunk 14 year old inside a new car.
A sad thing is that those two kids are not part of the group that normally comes to our house for those parties, they had just been invited because Gustav didn't want to exclude anyone from the celebration. so I felt bad that they couldn't behave as nicely as the others.
The next day we had a little chat about the event, and we agreed that the next time we would just stick with the regular group of 7-8 people.
Mette contacted the mother of the kid with the hair cut the next day, and believe it or not, the kid was real happy about it, and the mother did say that they had discussed the idea of a crew cut for a long time, so at least that wasn't a problem.
Bertha was probably the one who had the best time of them all. Part of the evening involved a bonfire and a bunch of sausages that were to be roasted over the camp fire.
The remaining part of the sausages were left on the plate on the ground, so she kind of helped herself to most of what was left.
As some of you might have noticed, while I am at home I rarely blog. That doesn't mean that I don't work wood. But for some reason I find it incredibly hard to find the energy to sit down and turn on the computer and write a blog entry.
I have sort of reached a conclusion as to why it is so, there are a couple of reasons and why they might not make sense to all, they are nonetheless the fact in my case:
-I prefer building to blogging.
This could be true to a lot of woodworkers. If blogging was the goal itself, then it is unlikely that woodworking would be the theme of a blog.
-I find it exhausting to take a picture of my current project and have it uploaded to the computer.
This is technically ridiculous, since taking a picture isn't hard. All I have to do is to find the camera (most likely it will be in Gustavs room), take a picture, plug in a cable and get it onto the blog. But for some in explainable reason I see this as a major obstacle. I procrastinate if I have to find the camera and often I end up completing a project without taking any pictures, and then it is sort of too late (in my mind).
-I don't like to spend time behind the computer screen while at home.
I feel like I am at work if I have to turn on the computer, so even checking my email account is likely only done every 10 days or so.
This is also the reason why I very seldom comment on anything during my home periods.
-Some of the stuff I do at home is not really interesting blogging material for this blog.
While I do try to spend a great deal of time in my shop while at home, there are also loads of regular tasks that simply aren't interesting to blog about. Stuff like changing the injection pump on our car, changing 37 individual pieces of thermo glass in various windows, mowing the lawn, fixing the lawn mower, re establish the correct air cushion in the hydrophore tank, fixing the horse trailer, treating the porch with a protective varnish, walking the dog etc.
The funny thing is that if I manage to pull myself together and do blog while I am at home, I really enjoy it. The problem is that I am really good at procrastinate when it is "required" and the blog is what suffers from it.
Whenever I get back to sea I suddenly find that I should have blogged about this and that etc. But it is too late at that time, especially since I haven't got any pictures of the projects.
Two years ago I bought my older brothers motorcycle. The deal was that he could buy it back anytime he wanted to, and at the same price more or less.
He had an idea that he wanted to try a Honda Africa Twin instead of his Moto Guzzi. The Honda never really caught on, so he sold that after only riding it for about a month or so. I called him and reminded him that he could get his old bike back - so the bike went back to him again.
Now he has bought himself a Yamaha SR 500, and he seems to be pleased with it. He lives in a city, so an upright sitting position and a bike that is a bit shorter geared is better suited for his commuting than a 1978 Moto Guzzi Le Mans II (There is a Le Mans I fairing on it).
I on the other hand thrive with a bike that requires a crouched riding position, can do 50 mph in 1st gear and feel as stiff as a railroad sleeper to sit on.
So I have yet again bought it from him.
This time I am going to put in a new set of piston rings in it, because it spills out oil like crazy. It is a common thing for old Guzzis to do that since a lot of them were born without air filters, and instead they just had an open intake with a small mesh screen to sift out birds and stray cats etc.
Hopefully the weather cooperates, cause good motorcycle weather is also good weather for working on the small barn at the summer house.
The following motorbikes can also be found in the pictures (somewhat hidden):
Lambretta Li 150 series1, 1959
CZ 125, 1965
2 x JAWA 634 (350 cc), 1977 and 1978
Moto Guzzi Le Mans II 1978
Dual ignition and open air intake.
Not ideal for city driving, but for small roads it is perfect.