red oak

Here in America, we just celebrated a holiday called Thanksgiving. It used to be about over-eating, now it’s mostly about shopping for mass-produced stuff. I try to stay out of it. The other day I was reading the blog from Mortise & Tenon magazine, in which they asked the rhetorical question “Why would you labor at something you don’t love?” – I realize there are many of us who do just that, for various reasons….I’ve done it myself. Making a living sometimes requires that we spend time doing things we’d rather not do…

shop doors


above the bench

I am especially aware how lucky I am to work the way I do & make my living that way. I have great friends who have helped me along the way, a wife who doesn’t need all the latest gadgets and baubles (my kids would like them, though!), readers of this blog & IG, clients, and students in my classes who all help support my work. I appreciate it all, and am eternally thankful. I am unbelievably lucky to spend my days the way I do. Thanks, all.

I went out this morning, lit the fire, filled the bird feeders and took some photos. Now for breakfast, then I get to go to work.

“WS”chest frame test fitted


“WS” chest frame, mitered M&T
shop from the riverbank


down river


from the riverbank
light frost


19 thoughts on “Thank-full

  1. Well, Thanksgiving is about overeating and/or buying massed produced stuff if one chooses that meaning. Simply don’t choose that and you are free. You listed fine things to be thankful for. There’s also the fact that you and your family are healthy, so far as I can tell.

    Personally I choose to be thankful for the people kind enough to be in my family, for the work I do, for the comfort I have, and for the interests I have and the fact that I have the wherewithal to pursue them.

  2. I am thankful for your willingness to pass on your knowledge to all of us. And also for your beautiful photography in and around your shop.

  3. As a Christian, I am thankful that God saved me. i don’t deserve any of God’s grace, but nonetheless, He saved me from my wretched sin. This is the greatest miracle of all.

      • Everything else pails in comparison to this truth, doesn’t it? You can have it all. Tools, career, fame, fortune, but lose your soul.

        For those reading these comments, your life will end, and you will stand before God. What will be your excuse for not serving Him throughout your life?

        • Wow, incredibly preachy and judgemental! If your god exists and is a loving one then hopefully his ego is not so huge that he’ll be overly offended by those who chose not to worship him with given the distinct lack of evidence of his existence that he offered.

          • Well…be thankful he’s free to be preachy and be thankful you are free to not believe the same things and ignore it ;)

            • I will defend to my death your (and my) right to think your own thoughts and express them freely! I just don’t understand the why Paul feels the need to preach fire and brimstone in this context and on this forum!

            • He can say it here because you will defend to the death his right to speak freely.

              And for the same reason that you and I (I’m an atheist) are free to say we don’t believe that stuff; that Peter is free to say the 4th of July means only traffic jams for him, of that he rejects the commercialism of Thanksgiving.

          • Sorry, I didn’t comment to start an argument.I am truly thankful that I am blessed and loved by a gracious God. Whether you believe in Him or not, means absolutely nothing to Him or me. Be happy that He shows His grace to you and allows you to live in spite of your rebellion against Him.

            • @Paul – in the end we are all just trying to find a little emotional comfort in this life and if your god gives that to you, then all power to you.

  4. Peter, you’ve carved youself a nice little niche, and you deserve it. Our society has become cynically perverse; we’ve lost our center, which I believe is the sense of community that Thanksgiving used to stand for.

    That WS chest is looking good–I like that inside bevel around the panels. All the best to you and your family–Andy S

  5. Peter, I am thankful for the time Joni and I had with you over the past several summers.
    You always inspired me to try to make the work better and better.
    I hope we have the opportunity to work with you in the future.

  6. It was not that long ago that the new shop was just a dream, then it was a work in progress, now its photo worthy :) What a pleasant place to spend one’s time.

  7. Like you I am lucky enough to live in a stunning natural environment – in my case, the remote Central Highlands of Tasmania. I have an old timber shed on my property that houses my machines and tools. I dream of fixing it up so that I can be out there year round working with wood. The lovely photo of your shed doors has inspired me to get on with it! I haven’t figured a way yet that I can work from home but it will happen.

    You are lucky to be in the US where there is a long tradition of wood working where those traditions are valued and you have a population large enough that there are enough interested people to buy your work. But of course, your success is not a matter of luck, but rather your hard work both in the shed and in the virtual world. It would be nigh on impossible to make the kind of objects you make and earn a living doing so in Australia. That is starting to change, with people seeking out artisans and willing to pay more for one beautiful item than filling their homes with mass produced, soul-less items.

    Love your blog and read every article. 😊😊

  8. Lovely post! Good work, good life, it seems we all agree.

    @ BlueWren, I’m in the mid north of South Australia and am noticing a growing and serious interest in handmade also. Good luck in your endeavours.

    • It’s lovely, isn’t it that people are recognising that beautiful, handmade items are a treasure – each item displaying not just the skill involved and artistic eye of the maker, but containing a mini history of the maker himself or herself.

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