A "Guide" to Cutting Wood

Do you remember playing the “Post Office” game as a youngster in school? It is a game where in first or second grade you all got in a line and the first kid was given a couple of sentence-long statement. They then whispered that statement to the second person in line, who whispered it to the third and so on. The fun was in seeing what the message was by the time it got to the end of the line and how it differed from the original message. The “point” of the game was to show how rumors got changed the more time it passed and why you shouldn’t pass rumors. At least, that’s what I thought the point was.

At the Dr. Rent household, we got to play that game this weekend. But first a little background.

I may have commented from time to time that my evening project is working in my back shed. Back when I lived out by Lake Dubay, in addition to my little 2 car garage up by the house, I had a 3-car garage out behind the house that I used for my woodworking shop (yes.. I actually do have hobbies). When I moved to the Wausau area, I lost that woodworking shop. That is why last year, we built a “shed” on the back of the property. A “shed” may not be the proper term as it is 40’ wide and 70’ deep and over 40’ high in the center. It has three “bays” running the length of the building. The center “bay” is for winter storage of the camper, the boat, the snowmobile, and other toys. The east “bay” is for parking the work truck, lawn mower, snow plowing gear, etc. And the west “bay” is my workshop… or will be.

As time and money permits, I have been working since last spring studding out the walls and running wire, hooking up lights and outlets. I have gotten to the point in the project where I am ready to insulate the front 30’ of the shop and put sheet goods (pegboard, plywood, OSB) up on the walls and ceiling. On Saturday I picked up the wood on one trip and the insulation on a second trip. I knew Saturday evening my parents were coming by and I also know that my dad has these two guide systems for cutting sheet goods.

If you have ever tried to cut a 4×8 sheet of OSB or plywood with a circular saw, you know how hard it is to keep it in a perfectly straight line. My dad has these two pieces of wood (one for 8’ cuts and one for 4’ cuts) that you clamp onto the 4×8 sheet you are cutting, and then the saw rides along this guide to ensure a perfectly straight cut. Since Mrs. Rent was going to be calling my parents later that day before they came over, I asked her to see if when they came over, if dad could bring his guides for cutting plywood.

A few hours later I was running the last of the wire I needed to have run before enclosing the walls when dad came walking up to the back shed. He had not been back there since this spring so was fairly impressed with the progress that had been made. However, he did tell me that he didn’t have any books on cutting wood.


What was he talking about?

I said I wanted his guides for cutting the OSB. When seeing the large piles of wood on the floor, that actually made perfect sense to him. He said they were actually over at one the apartments they had been working on. But, mom had specifically told him I wanted books. So, off to the house to figure out where the message went wrong.

Something that I tend to forget is that when Mrs. Rent lived in Oklahoma, she spent most of her adult life as a librarian. I also tend to forget that Mr. Rent is not exactly mechanically inclined. Her favorite tool is an 8 oz. claw hammer and if whatever project she is working on cannot be completed with the use of that particular tool, it is outside of her level of expertise.

So, when I told her that I needed guides for cutting the wood, in her mind, “guides” are books with how-to instructions on the inside. And since she has no idea how to cut wood, having a book that explains how to do it does make perfect sense. So, instead of her calling up and telling my mom to tell my dad to get his “guides” for cutting wood, she told her to tell him to get his “books” for cutting wood. Changing the word from “guide” to “book” was no big deal to her because for someone who worked with books for 17 years, a “guide” and a “book” are the same thing.

I suppose it could have been worse. She could have been an avid outdoors person and assumed that in wanting a “guide”, what I really wanted was someone to come over and show me where to cut and tell me what to do.


About drrent

Wausau, Wisconsin Landlord, past president of the Wisconsin Apartment Association, Host of the Dr Rent Radio Show on WNRB-LP, 93.3 FM, Wausau, WI
This entry was posted in Construction, Hobbies, Mrs Rent, Shed, Woodworking and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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