One Man’s Figure…

A man walked into my workshop today, uninvited, unannounced and reeking of stale cigarette smoke. He had apparently heard rumours of the goings-on in my shed and had taken it upon himself to investigate.

He walked straight up to a chest of drawers, the top of which I was scraping smooth and without so much as a by-your-leave, started running his hand over the surface and informed me I should sand it with 320 grit sandpaper. The insufferable intruder then proceeded to instruct me on the matter of applying “blotch control” to the figured walnut prior to “staining and French polishing the piece”!

Me: “I presume by ‘blotch control’ you mean some form of pre-stain conditioner.”
Annoying Man: “Yes. It will even out the blotches and make the colour more uniform.”
Me: “I spent days poring over acres of veneer in search of these vibrant ‘blotches’ as you call them. Why would I now want to diffuse them?”
Annoying Man: “Because they’ll ruin the look of the piece.”
Me: “It’s not a gun, it’s a chest of drawers!”

It was at this point, with uncommon restraint and great composure; I warned the malapert man if he uttered another word and did not immediately set forth whence he came, I would set about him with my walking stick!

Blotches indeed!

Jack Plane


About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
This entry was posted in colouring and polishing, Staining and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to One Man’s Figure…

  1. confur says:

    I was elsewhere ! Tho 320 is not nec.


  2. FIG Woodworks says:

    I would have set the dogs on to him


  3. Norm Beckett says:

    Sir: You are to kind… Just the hint of a cigarette smell in my shop gets a remove yourself post hast or suffer grieves bodily harm and unsolicited opinions brings unsolicited instruction in the art of opinions and sphincter muscles. We all have one and best kept to ourselves.
    Norm B.


  4. jerryolson19 says:

    I find it intriguing that certain individuals feel free to provide “advice” without understanding on our workmanship. I think I need to invest in a walking stick :)


  5. Paul Murphy says:

    I showed somebody a really fine specimen of burl once. The leaf was spectacular, covered with a profusion of finely spaced dots throughout its entire length and width. Their observation, “That has a bunch of knots.” Clearly I had shown them an unacceptable piece of garbage. :-/


  6. daveinohio says:

    What exactly were you pouring over the veneer? Mineral spirits, I presume?


  7. chuckn says:

    For some people wood is only a poor substitute for plastic.
    He’s just one of those people.


  8. I thought this was a joke. I was waiting for the punch line. lol


    • Jack Plane says:

      No, just the story of one bombastic ignoramus who has spent far too much time on woodworking fora and as a result, has been brainwashed into believing wood’s natural figure should be subdued to look like the bland homogenous spray-finished particleboard furniture being sold in high street shops and home stores.


      Liked by 1 person

  9. Warwick says:

    Tee hee. It takes all sorts. He sounds like someone who has only ever worked with Pinus radiata, and probably didn’t even know it was walnut, or the beauty of figured walnut once appropriately finished. Then again, figured wood is thankfully not to everyone’s taste, or there would be none left for those of us who truly appreciate it.


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