Posted in Longreads and Essays

Finding My Place In Life’s Pattern – Relearning Inlay from Grandpa

In a recent post, I wrote about visiting the North Country and missing my grandfather, who passed away ten years ago this month. Upon my return, I resolved to be more diligent in applying the lessons I learned from him in the making of wood inlay. I had done a few smaller items over the years, but doing it as an ongoing craft had eluded me.


The acclimation of the multitude of life’s experiences is an ongoing process. The difficulty lies in determining what remains on the fringe and what is invited into one’s central core. My time in New York has reawakened in me one such invitation.

Once home, I dug out the three boxes of wood pieces and book of patterns from the attic in my shop. I’d pretty much used up all of grandpa’s inlay over the years in renovating the Homestead cottage at Rolling Ridge and other small projects.


So most of my time has been spent sorting and otherwise getting reacquainted with the patterns and various types of wood I have.

I set the table saw to 1/4 inch and made some tentative cuts. Then I decided to make a pattern. Over the course of the week, I glued each strip separately until the section was completed.


There is deep sense of completion within me as well. I turn the piece over in my hands and remember grandpa saying in his booming voice that my being there was “a shot in the arm.”


Here in my 50th year, it is time that I let his teachings flow through my veins and out into the works of my hands.

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