Coniscliffe Carving Club

A Carving Calamity

(A cautionary tale for woodcarvers)

One day, as I was carving inside my wooden hut,
the piece that I was working on fell, right onto myfoot.

I hopped around my workshop with cries of agony,
then crashed into my workbench and badly grazed my knee.

Overbalancing and falling, I reached out for support,
but the handle of my mallet was the only thing I caught.

It flipped out of my fingers, into the air it rose,
described a parabolic arc, then hit me on the nose.

With streaming eyes and throbbing knee, I fell down to the floor,
face down into the plastic bin left standing by the door.

The bin contained the sawdust and the shavings I'd collected,
and the damage that it did was much worse than I expected.

I inhaled large amounts of it and, coughing fit to die,
I tried to haul myself erect, wipe dust out of my eye.

Once up, still coughing, blinded, and reeling from the pain,
I stood upon my mallet head, descended once again!

This time, as I was falling, I caught my chisel case,
and ten assorted gouges rained down around my face.

I thought I'd got away with it, but no such luck, I fear,
as a 7 sweep Henry Taylor took a lump out of my ear.

I rolled around the floor, near crazy with the pain,
then realised that I was in grave danger once again.

I rolled over the chisels, causing cuts, and even more so -
getting lengthy lacerations to my legs and to my torso.

Suffering severely, and fearing further fall,
I dragged myself across the floor and up against the wall

and, using its solidity for steadying myself,
I stood up rather quickly, but I forgot- the shelf.

I came up underneath it and hit it with my head
it wasn't fixed and so it fell, its contents all were shed,

it's where I kept my screwboxes and they all fell, but worst,
when they all hit the workshop floor they didn't bounce, they burst!

The bad blow to my cranium caused swelling and a bruise -
I sat down, very heavily, on to the fallen screws.

A lot of them, of course, were pointing upwards as I fell,
and folk a hundred yards away could hear my anguished yell.

The final straw, I'd had enough, heard fury's angry call,
picked up a fluteroni and flung it at the wall.

It struck blade first, and bright sparks showered to the floor
down into that same plastic bin I mentioned here before,

and then, so quickly, and to my alarm and consternation,
there was right there in front of me, a frightening conflagration.

I had no time to save a thing, ran, staggering, for home
and broke my left big toe against a concrete garden gnome.

I lay there on the lawn and saw my work, my dreams, my aims,
were vanishing beneath the bright and all-consuming flames.

Two firemen with a hosepipe, or maybe there were four-
I closed my eyes, lost consciousness, remember nothing more ....

I'm starting to feel better now, but my left ear is numb,
and they've unscrewed twelve 2" x 8s embedded in my bum.

The dust is clearing from my lungs, but I still have a cough,
and I can restart carving when the bandages come off.

The Assessor from the Pru thinks that I have got a claim
for shed, for tools; for everything, but it won't be the same.

And the moral, dear carver? Please heed to my advice always
ensure your workpiece is clamped firmly in your vice!!

By Keith Hardisty
(Published in the BW A "Gazette" Issue No 10 Winter 2009)