Friday, November 30, 2007

Ham, Shem, and Japheth are Hungry for McMuffins

Since today is the last day of November, I went ahead and flipped the calendar on the wall in my office to December. Now before you get the wrong idea that I am some kind of super efficient, anal retentive guy who has to have everything in its proper place and correctly labeled I will tell you the true reason behind the early calendar adjustment. Now, with December showing on the calendar, if I show up to work 4 hours late on Monday and my boss comes looking for me, he’ll think, “Well obviously Skiver is here somewhere, because he’s already flipped his calendar. He must be out in the plant or in the lab or something.” So I am already planning a leisurely Monday. I’ll sleep in and maybe go out for breakfast. Then, I’ll go hang out at Barnes and Nobles for a while and see if anybody wants to pay me to autograph copies of Popular Woodworking. Eventually, I’ll stumble into work with some story about there being problems out in the lab. However, my plans for Monday’s laziness is not what this blog entry is about.

Instead, it’s about my reaction to the December page of my calendar. I have the Lie-Nielsen calendar at work, and today when I flipped it to December I was struck by a beautiful sight. If you have the calendar, you may think I was drawn to Chris Schwarz’s farmer tan flahsing out as he rabbets with a shoulder plane, but actually my slack jawed stare was focused on the main photo.

The December photo on the Lie-Nielsen calendar is the 25th Anniversary 4 ½ Bronze Smoother. Bronze body… Cocobolo handles… dated “1981 – 2006”… truly magnificent. And I beamed with pride knowing I have the same special edition plane at home. Then, I remembered the truth. I didn’t buy the special edition.

Somewhere in the world there is a guy who suffers from a nasty disorder that causes him to relentlessly pummel himself in the face with a ball peen hammer. (I haven’t seen the guy…I’m just going with the odds.) This puffy-cheeked, black & blue fella feels nothing compared to my pain knowing I let the Lie-Nielsen 25th Anniversary plane get away from me.

Every day, I wake up and spend a couple of hours obsessing about my past and the “ones that got away.” The 25th Anniversary 4 ½ tops the list. Why did I not order a 25th Anniversary 4 ½ Bronze Smoother last year?

Look at this photo. That is Tom Lie-Nielsen and me sitting around in 2006 talking about my 4 ½. I believe as this photo was taken Thomas was saying, “That’s the plane we are making as a special edition right now to celebrate our 25th Anniversary.” He told me it was coming. I knew it was coming. I contemplated and then chose not to buy it. Why did I not order a 25th Anniversary 4 ½ Bronze Smoother last year?

I always ask that question, but I remember why I didn’t buy one…because I already have a 4 ½. In fact, I love my 4 ½. I chose not to buy the Special Edition because of my love for my 4 ½. It’s my baby. It’s my hombre. It’s my…. (Wait!!!!! Don’t say that out loud, Jeffery. There may be kids reading this.) How’s this description of my 4 1/2 : If I was going to label my 4 ½ I would inscribe it with the same phrase that appears on Jules’ wallet in Pulp Fiction. (There…that was an acceptable way to say it.)

So with that love in my heart for my 4 ½ last year I chose to not buy the special edition. However, that decision still haunts me.

I’m sure with this posting I will now get 37 emails offering me the opportunity to buy one of the Special Edition 4 ½’s for more than I paid for my first car, but that won’t happen. Because if I am going to drop that kind of money on a plane, it’s going to be a Sauer & Steiner or possibly something with religious relic value like the molding plane used to stylize the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant. That would be nice because it would add to my existing collection of Religious Relic Planes.

Last year some guy named Chuck sold me an old Stanley 45 that he said was used in making the cabinets on Noah’s ark. That bad boy is worth millions and Chuck sold it to me for only $2000. I can still remember every moment of that transaction. As Chuck was busy scribbling out the Certificate of Authenticity on the back of a McDonald’s sack covered in Egg McMuffin grease stains, all I could think was, “Chuck, you na├»ve fool. You’re making me feel guilty. It’s almost like I am stealing from you.” (But all’s fair in the world of tool bartering.)

So during December as I look up at my calendar and see the one that got away, I can at least revel in the knowledge that I have something even John Sindelar doesn’t have: I have a Stanley 45 used in the construction of the vessel that saved every living species on the earth. And I have the greasy Certificate of Authenticity to prove it.


rookster said...

My buddy has that molding plane used on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant, but he's not interested in selling it ;)

Anonymous said...

Long time no post - when do we get more? / The Ungrateful Internets Mob

CK said...

I have the same Lie-Nielsen calendar. Did you notice that there is no day '4' on the inset November calendar on the December page? I don't think the same care was taken on the calendar production as the hand planes.

Jeff Skiver said...

CK...I knew the November Inset calendar was wrong, but I had only noticed that it had a "November 31st" on it. Now, thanks to your insight on the missing "4" I see where the calendar went astray.

This little flawed inset November has been causing me problems with Ford Motor Company for the last two weeks. I send them email that says things like, "We agreed during our meeting on 17NOV07..." and they respond with emails that say, "You're a LIAR, SKIVER!!!!! The 17th was a SATURDAY!!!!" I don't really want to hold Tom Lie-Nielsen responsible for my being placed on Ford's list of untrustworthy suppliers, but down deep I really do.

Anonymous said...

I realize that this post is old, but I can't help myself here...

The following quote has got to be either:

1) one of the most misunderstood quotes in blogdom, or

2) one of the top "most likely to not be used in classic rock" lines:

"That is Tom Lie-Nielsen and me sitting around in 2006 talking about my 4 ½."

Jeff Skiver said...

Well, it should be noted that I was VERY, VERY excited... thus the presence of the 4 1/2 as opposed to the special edition #1 or the more manageable #2.

I suppose I should just be happy to still have a 4 1/2 at my advanced age, given my sedate lifestyle.

But if you remember the Valentine's Day posting, the wife would have Woodcraft deliver a #8.

If you ever have cause to re-tell any Skiver stories, make sure you reference the #8 or #9, since it will sound far more impressive to those not familiar with hand tools.

Nevertheless, the photo from this post shows me with my 4 1/2 clearly visible.