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Count on it…

The more I do woodworking the more I realize I’ve developed a kind of compulsive obsession to count…I mean I count almost everything!

Maybe it started at a young age first learning to play music? Of course you have to count. Count in a tune, count how many measures etc… But here I am, 40 years old and I find it occurs with almost every aspect of my wood working. For instance when I sharpen an iron or blade I count each stroke so I don’t put the cutting edge out of square.

When I’m boring a hole using a brace and bit I never use a depth stop so instead I count. I count the turns for the first hole and then I know how many revolutions I need to make the rest the same depth. I catch myself counting when I’m hand planing-especially smoothing. Two passes on this side, two more on that. Even sawing I find myself counting. I think I may need a therapist!

Do you count while you work?

or is it just me~; )

I wonder…


  1. Posted by David Crowe on May 11th, 2012

    I do! I count all sorts of things in a very similar way.

  2. Posted by tom on May 11th, 2012

    Well thanks for that comment Mr. Crowe-

    now I know I need a therapist!!
    ; )

  3. Posted by Fred Murphy on May 11th, 2012

    Working in the kitchen I find I am counting things all the time, and not just because its essential that I know how much food we have going into service. I sharpen my knives in the same manner that you do your blades, probably for the same reason, but I rarely think about why I’m doing it that way. And I count empty seats in the dining room a lot.

  4. Posted by George Jon (Germany) on May 11th, 2012

    I do! And as a complete weirdo, I only count stuff in multiples of 3, which has something to do with a job I for a couple of years still being in school and then uni, folding pre-fab carton’s….

  5. Posted by stephen melhuish on May 11th, 2012

    Yeah Tom,

    indeed you can count on it……surely it’s one of our earliest learning memories that gets instilled into everything we do….the universe is a mathematical equation and all that jazz, but really I’d worry if people didn’t count….a sure sign of complete sanity….counting is a habit forming exercise that lends itself perfectly to the disciplines of woodwork, in a relaxing way and not a mind bending one.

    Remember…..3 is a magic number…rock on school of rock!

    Put that credit card away for the therapy and spend it on a metronome instead.


  6. Posted by Paul MacEachern on May 12th, 2012

    I thought I was the only one who counted like that. I was starting to wonder about myself. :)

    Good to hear that there are fellow “counters” out there.

  7. Posted by RickB on May 12th, 2012

    I have a friend that used to. The corner of his truck windows before leaving the truck, number of steps to a tree he was going to fall, and other strange things like that. But he also counted useful things, like the file strokes per tooth while sharpening his chain saw. If I’m doing it, I’m unaware. Maybe I should start. I might concentrate more.

  8. Posted by Trevor Walsh on May 14th, 2012

    I count those same things while I work too. I think part of it may be to track progress while working. Take the brace example, if it’s a through hole once the screw gets through the other side it stops pulling and you either reverse or push a little harder but you don’t need to know when that will happen, it’s hard to miss. Counting lets me know where in relation I am in relation, which can be encouraging during the monotonous hole drilling for 4″ deep holes in a bench for example.

  9. Posted by douglas coates on May 15th, 2012

    So I’m not alone. I count everything. It’s so bad I even count the turns on the thicknesser as I wind the bed up. I know from bottom to top it’s 58 turns. And I count aloud. You’re not serious about this if you just count in your head.

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