In Shop Blog

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The state of my shop on a brisk fall morning. A few projects in the works for me, the magazine and friends, plus plenty of cleaning and rearranging that needs to happen.

Seeking Comfort

This year hasn’t been easy. There have been times I’ve really identified with Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog’s Day, doing the same things over and over again, with no real end in sight. Wake up. Check the news. Make coffee. Sit at my computer. Eat dinner. Sleep. Repeat. Hope for change.

As the year draws to a close and I’m still not leaving the house, except for a walk or bike ride, or a trip to the grocery store or home center, I wonder how long this will last.

I do feel lucky that I snuck in under the wire buying my first home only a couple years ago. Instead of being confined to a 800 sqft. apartment without much outdoor or garage space, we have about twice that much space now, plus a modest yard and a garage-turned shop.

Now that I’m spending much less time around people (other than my better half), the shop is really how I connect to the rest of the world. When I talk with friends and family, what I’m working on in the shop is the first thing out of my mouth. I’ve made a few items for friends that can’t find (or afford) a pro to help. And offered advice and encouragement to start making stuff to help pass the time at home.

I’m still hopeful that things will get better and we’ll return to freely traveling to see friends and family, going on vacations and smiling at strangers without masks. But I also know things won’t ever go back to the way things used to be. Much of the country has been working/running businesses remotely. People have been forced to innovate, to find new balances between work and life. Advances in technology are still driving us into the future, and the way people think about cities is evolving.

While I’m stuck at home, I’m grateful to have woodworking to keep me grounded and to take my mind off the state of the world. It feels like technology is advancing so quickly and things are changing, but I’m also using my free time to build a project in ways that haven’t really changed all that much.

Making a few shavings, struggling to get a door to hang right, building a bench for a little garden or a gift for a loved one –those things will never go away. My only hope is more and more people find just how comforting working with your hands can be, and how through woodworking, you can provide comfort to others.

– Andrew Zoellner

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