Kite Sticks

My uncle tells a story from Grandpa's shop: his friends were all making kites so he went to Grandpa and asked for a quarter to buy kite sticks. Grandpa handed him a yardstick and a saw and told him he could save the 25 cents and make his own. Someday I am going to try and rip a kite stick from a yardstick just to see if Uncle Bob was pulling my leg. However I always think of this story when I am faced with a choice of the hard way or the easy way. Recently I had to resaw a piece of 4/4 catalpa that was 8" wide. My bandsaw didn't have enough throat, the table saw couldn't raise up high enough. The "easy way" of temptation was to drive to the KC Woodworkers Guild workshop. They have a nice Grizzly bandsaw set up to resaw up to 19"! But it is a 45-minute drive each way. 

 Using an 8 tpi Disston D-8 to rip an 8" wide catalpa board for shelving.

Using an 8 tpi Disston D-8 to rip an 8" wide catalpa board for shelving.

The "hard" way was sitting in the sawtill--a nice old Disston D-8. Full disclosure, I ran the board through the table saw to give me a kerf on both sides. And then I used my own muscles instead of dinosaurs (gasoline) to rip 24" of board. I was done in less than 15 minutes.

The story of Uncle Bob's kite sticks is always there to prompt me when I am facing a difficult or onerous task. Do I really need to go buy a new power tool to save effort for one project? (Grandpa--"Save your quarter and just do it yourself"). Should I use the belt sander to remove a 1/4" of wood or should I pull out a handplane?

One of the important elements of woodworking and craft is building character and discipline. Part of that discipline is being able to resist the siren call of "the easy way."