First things first … and this is the last

Nine years ago, I was but a wee lad, bright-eyed and bushy tailed full of vim and vigor. Marc Spagnuolo, my woodworking svengali, asked if I would be interested in writing a few guest posts for him.

Once I started writing three articles a week for him – and he had only asked for maybe one every two weeks or so, he asked me, “Dude, would you want to set up your own blog?”


Oops, I guess I went a little overboard with the writing. And, for the first seven years of this blog, I adhered to my rigid posting schedule of four posts a week. Articles on Monday and Wednesday, the Link of the Week on Friday and the Quick Poll on Sundays.

Believe me, it was a ton of fun, but it was also a ton of work. On average, I was spending anywhere between 12 and 15 hours each week – every week – on the blog to meet my self-imposed deadlines. It was a thrill. I was in demand, asked to speak at – and later serve on  – the board of directors for the local Woodworking Guild. I started attending woodworking meet-ups.

Heck, I even got the attention of sponsors. Companies such as MicroJig, Infinity Cutting Tools, Tormek, Bora Tools, Bell Forest Products. Laguna. Eagle America.

I was asked to join Dyami Plotke and Chris Adkins on the Modern Woodworkers Association podcast, and I have met so many interesting and awesome folks.

Wood Magazine even approached me and had me write a column for their magazine. I was doing online content for Popular Woodworking. It was crazy…

LucyThen, I realized something. It wasn’t all of a sudden, but it had been building over the past year. I am starting to feel a little like Lucy Ricardo, joined by her friend Ethel Mertz on the candy wrapping line. Suddenly, instead of getting all of the candies wrapped beautifully for packaging, I was rushing to just get them out.

Sunday night would roll around and I would look into the shop in terror and panic, realizing I hadn’t done any woodworking, but I had to write SOMETHING.

Basically, I’m discovering that I just can’t maintain this second job, my primary job and my  sanity all at once.

That being said, it pains me to make this announcement. Effective today, I will be putting Tom’s Workbench on an indefinite hiatus.

Does this mean the site is going away?  No. I will continue to maintain it so you can go back and check out the articles I have written. Does this mean I am going to crawl away into a cave and disappear from the face of the planet? Nope. I will still post to Twitter and Google Plus as I finish projects and seek the wealth of advice of the woodworking community.

What it does mean, however, is that I am going to get a little much-needed balance back into my life and spend some of the time I have been writing about woodworking to actually get back into the shop and do some of it. Isn’t that why I have all of those tools in the first place?

In the meantime, please e-mail my Trained Shop Monkey at if you have any questions, and be sure to get some time for sawdust therapy.


Trust me, you need it!

33 thoughts on “First things first … and this is the last”

  1. Godspeed Tom…I hope the blog will be back someday, but I completely understand. Are sure this wasn’t your third of forth job? 🙂

  2. Glad to see someone recognizing their limits and putting the right priorities first. When you come back don’t feel you need to stick to a rigid schedule, keep it fun. Also, what does this mean for the MWA podcast? (Also it would be nice if you guys might mention what happened to Chris…)

  3. Best of luck in returning the balance to the Force! I had a similar moment recently that was brought on when I realized I hadn’t gotten to hang out with my wife a lot recently… Hang in there and stay in touch as much as sanity and time allow!

  4. You deserve the rest.
    I’ve enjoyed Tom’s Workbench and wish you well.

    Now go & enjoy your shop.

    And thanks again.


  5. Thank you so much for all your hard work over the years! You’ve been a huge inspiration to so many woodworkers and I hope you know how much your contributions have been appreciated!

  6. Tom,

    My friend. You’re a good man doing the right thing. Take care of Rhonda, Steven and Dominic. We’ll keep the woodworking community around for you.

  7. I know this isn’t an easy decision for you to make, and I’m very happy to see that you aren’t shutting it down entirely.

    Sometimes a little breathing room is all you need.

    Take care, and enjoy a little more time with the family and your shop!

  8. Wishing you and your family the best my friend! Thanks for the friendship and contributions to the woodworking throughout the years!

  9. Doing what’s best is never easy, I’m just glad I got to hang with ya a few times. I am sure this won’t be the last and I will look forward to the next…Cheers good Sir! And hit me up next time you’re in Chucktown,SC

  10. Perhaps this means you’ll get a little more quality time in the shop, too. It’s more enjoyable – and a lot faster – when you don’t have to stop every five minutes to take a picture 🙂

  11. I’ve loved your content in here as well as postings on Facebook, Tom. You’ve always provided a grounded and humorous view to woodworking that I know myself and so many others have really appreciated. You can rest on your laurels, now. Balance is everything.

  12. “I like when people know who they are, know their limitations and what they want to do. It’s the same thing for me.”
    Dita Von Teese

    Good on ya Tom and thanks for all the work you have done! You have been an inspiration and a wealth of knowledge to not just myself, but to a community spanning the globe.

  13. Tough call but it’s good to get some balance…and maybe even some sleep.

    Enjoy it buddy.

    I do however expect a full commitment when you are retired. A long time from now. Lol


  14. Your work here will be missed. But enjoy the needed hiatus to build a few things just for sport. You’ve added nothing but a smart and positive voice to the woodworking world and something tells me we’ll be hearing more from you. And I don’t mean a postcard. Godspeed.

  15. Thanks Tom for the years of great content and helping me to re-spark my interest in woodworking. Now go make something!

  16. Well Tom the only thing I can think to say is thank you. You have given the community much over the years and I hope that you find the time to blog again in the future. Until then, take care of the things you need to and make sure that one of them is yourself.

  17. Good luck mate.. its never easy to change direction especially when its become a major drive in your life, but as I have discovered it brings new joys and a sense of momentum. Take it easy Tom and keep in touch.

  18. Tom, there are a handful of folks that have influenced my woodworking interest and in bringing me to my current place in the craft, both in my ability (perceived) and media sharing. You and your blog are one of those folks and you have had a large impact on my interest in starting a blog to share my projects.
    Thank you for your dedication. I will miss your posts but I am excited for your future growth as a craftsman.

  19. Tom, it always amazed me the pace you kept up with on this site. Thank you for all the great contributions. I wish you and family the best in you gaining back balance in life, including shop time!

  20. Tom, you will be sorely missed but I believe the community completely understands why you’re doing it. I’m actually surprised that you had time for a real job! When I first “joined” the woodworking community almost 6 years ago, you were one of the voices I gravitated to-after all, you’re a hard man not to hear. And being a Terps fan didn’t hurt your case. Best of luck to you and I’m sure we’ll be hearing from you one way or another soon enough.

  21. Tom, it took me a few day to get caught up to this. I know this was not an easy decision for you. Thank you for everything you have contributed to the community and the friendship. Take care my friend.

  22. Tom,

    I wish you good luck getting back to doing what you really need to do. I’m only sorry that I just found your site as a link from Todd K, who was announcing the start of a new endeavor of on line teaching for him. I know you intend to keep the site going and I thank you for that so I can read all of your previous posts.

    Good luck and best wishes for a more sane pace of life.

  23. Tom,

    Sad you hear that you won’t be active on this blog. However, there is so much gold already here on this blog which I can refer and internalize.

    All the very best Tom & in case you change your mind, I would be one of those who will check and read your blog post first.

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