The Oracle at Lee Valley

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Yesterday morning Husband and I had one of those insanely stupid thirty-second flash arguments, this time about the best way to sharpen the garden tools.  My rule of thumb is he/she who actually does the work has absolute sovereignty – including the last word – over the purchase, maintenance and use of tools/systems around that work.  Both through interest and default, the outside work falls under my dominion.

Our kerfuffle sent me rooting around the Lee Valley website for the 10″ bastard mill file I knew would do the job.  Now I need to bug my neighbour Fairlie to teach me some sharpening techniques.

Or maybe I should just ask the folks at Lee Valley to add this to their ample, cross-Canada list of seminars and in-store demonstrations. I had all but forgotten about their skill-development workshops.  And if it wasn’t for our argument, I wouldn’t have been on the website at 7:32am on Saturday morning and noticed that the Woodworking for Ages 9 to 12 class was being offered twice that day.  I also made a mental note of the Steam Bending seminar in June.

As a construction carpenter, I felt a little ridiculous sending my kid out to carpentry class.   But such is the irony of limited time these days.  My current consulting contract and writing are cutting into my building work at the moment, and so my tools sit idle.  Little Man and I decided to gamble that the 9:30am class wasn’t full, dressed quickly, and made the trek into town.  As luck would have it, there was one spot available.

As luck would also have it, I ended up having an interesting and protracted conversation with Stephen Glazier, who books and coordinates all of the seminars and workshops at the Ottawa location.  I was flattered when he asked me if I might consider becoming a seminar leader.  It is a fun and intriguing possibility filled with potential.

Of course I picked up the bastard mill file and handle I needed, as well as a big-ass aluminum dustpan and the Larry Haun memoir that I’ve been wanting to read.  Need, need, want.  That I got out of the store with only four items is nothing short of a miracle.  The more hands-on skills I acquire, the more difficulty I have differentiating between the carpentry, garden and home products I need vs. those I plain old covet.  And the folks at Lee Valley, with their clever/useful/fascinating new products, books and seminars, certainly don’t make that decision any easier.

But how on earth, I wonder,  can they possibly know what I want before I do?


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