I’m sure every wife feels it. The pang of guilt when we say “no” to our husbands. It happened to me the other night, as Justin and I were laying in bed. He rolled to his side, and looked at me with hopeful, almost expectant eyes. A gentle smile was on his lips. After he’d asked the question, I sighed and closed my eyes as the wave of guilt washed over me. “I’m sorry,” I said, “but I don’t think now is the right time to buy another machine tool for the shop.”
I could tell he was disappointed, so I tried valiantly to support my response with reason so I didn’t appear too callous. I reminded him that in the past 10 months, he’d purchased a Schaublin lathe, a Craftex mill, and a surface grinder, not to mention the various tooling additions needed to operate them. He’d also been generously gifted a tool and cutter grinder, and while that hadn’t cost any money, the time to drag these machines home and set them up for use was more than a small investment of precious hours. I also suggested that the point of owning these machines was not offer them a humble home in our garage, but rather to make something with them.
As Justin conceded that I might have a small point to support my argument, I opened my eyes. Surprised to see him getting dressed, I asked where he was going. “To make some chips,” he replied, as though it should be obvious. “These machines had better start earning their keep.”
What better way to celebrate a long week-end in the summer than by making a delicious dessert to share with family and friends. I attached a 1 1/2″ spade bit to my husband’s mini-mill this morning to mix the base for this strawberry cheese-cake trifle. The bundt pan for the angel food-cake fit perfectly in the heat-treating oven, and the strawberries were firm enough to slice on the bandsaw (wipe the blade down first!)
Happy Birthday Canada! (and Happy Independence Day to our American friends to the south on Tuesday!)
If you live with someone engaged in the home-shop machining hobby, and you are responsible for any domestic duties involving clothing, you have no doubt found swarf in the laundry. Just the other day, I shook out one of my husband’s sweaters he had worn in the shop, and a cute metal corkscrew resembling a tiny clock spring (no, my husband’s chips don’t always come off in perfect “9’s”) bounced on to the floor. Our children thought it was cool. We then examined a knit sweater that had been worn in the shop and noted several metal chips embedded in the weaves. The next 15 minutes were spent scouring the house for magnets to see if we could pick-up the sweater. It didn’t work, but the exercise ranked higher than our children’s 1 hour allotted TV time for the day.
I could start to nag at my husband for all the chips he is tracking in to the house via socks, sweaters and hair, but have thought better of it. I have observed that the machining hobby has provided an interesting (and even productive) outlet for my husband’s creative energies and stress, while also providing many learning opportunities for our children, and even myself.
The video documentation of this hobby and its results via YouTube has also provided interesting learning opportunities for our family. Its cute to watch the children excitedly bring other family members and friends to the computer screen to show them what Daddy is working on in the shop right now. Our son has even started making his own videos with his V-Tech video camera of his Lego constructions. This has been a great lesson to my husband and I to never underestimate the impact you’re having on those little eyes watching you.
Yes, it would be nice if I could park my car in the garage and Band-Aids weren’t a standard weekly grocery item. But for all its benefits, I guess I’ll put up with the swarf in the laundry.
Megan is the wife of Justin. She has the pleasure and the pain of dealing with a manufacturing gearhead on a daily basis.