Friday, May 2, 2008

Raising Arizona....I Mean...Raising Peyton

May 2nd is an anniversary date at my woodshop. One year ago today, I opened the doors to that new apprentice, Peyton, whom I talked about on the back page of the April 2008 issue of Popular Woodworking.

One year ago today, Gail and I drove down to Blue Gill Kennels in Allegan, Michigan and just like H.I. and Edwina McDunnough in Raising Arizona, we picked out “the best *&^%$$ one” and brought him home.

We carried Peyton into the house, presented him as a gift to our 10 ½ year old yellow Lab (Abby), and then I dragged all 6 pounds of him down to the shop. I wanted to take a picture of him that would mean something, so I posed him with my dovetail saw and my workhorse #4 ½ Smoother. I also positioned him on a piece of wood that I don’t deserve to own. My thought is that 10 years from now when I am good enough to make something with that piece of wood I will pose the full grown boy next to it, as a way of showing how long I have saved it.

To annually celebrate Peyton’s arrival at our home (and woodshop), I now think that I will take a shop photo of him every year on May 2nd. Here is how he looked tonight…just 105 pounds heavier than last year.

There is one interesting coincidence about Peyton’s addition to our family. The day after we got him in 2007, Gail, Peyton, and I headed down to Indianapolis for a weekend class with David Charlesworth. (I took the class; Gail and Peyton hung out with my parents.)

I knew from David’s blog that he was a dog owner, so I went to great lengths to show off photos of my newly acquired puppy. At the end of that weekend, when David signed one of his books for me, he personalized it with “Jeff, Enjoy the new boy. David Charlesworth.”

The coincidence was when my April issue of PopWood arrived with the story of Peyton on the back page, my friend and fellow dog lover David Charlesworth had written the cover story on Band Saws.

David, your inscription has proven prophetic. Peyton adds great joy to my life.

How is it Edwina described it to H.I??? “I LOOOOOOVE HIM SOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!”


JasonB said...

What kind of wood is that? I had some beautiful 2 1/2" thick walnut that was the color of dark chocolate with highly figured grain. But it was only about 8"W x 4' long. I never could decide what to make with it. When the beagle club I belong to asked if I could make the trophies for a trial, I knew I had the right project. Now four different beaglers each have a small piece of that wood in their home to enjoy. Three out of the four told me that it was the nicest trophy they'd ever won. I made 4 cherry trophies exaclty like the walnut ones; and they didn't earn one comment from anyone. Amazing what a little grain and color can do.

Jeff Skiver said...


Sorry for not getting back to you, but I was fearful of legal repercussions if I answered. There is a story about that board coming up in the August issue of Popular Woodworking, and Managing Editor Megan Fitzpatrick is always playing the role of Bad Cop trying to catch me violating those contracts I sign that gives PopWood the first right to publish.

So if you buy the August 2008 issue you will find out that it is Gabon Ebony. Hopefully, you can wait that long...

Jeff Skiver said... case someone actually reads these comments, it should be noted that my Back Page Feature that references this piece of wood got bumped from the August issue and is supposed to appear in the next issue. Jason, I didn't mean to mislead you if you went to the store and paid full retail price for the August issue...