(Not a) Christmas miracle

Die Hard is my favourite Christmas movie. It doesn’t seem to make other people’s lists, but there is no better modern parable about Christmas miracles.

I’m thinking about it NOT because of a miracle, but because of the flaming mess my wife’s Christmas present has become. I’d already put some thought into a fun gift, but I wanted to make her something, too. Should have made her a box, but she’s getting tired of the idea. She has always wanted a wood comb. How hard could that be?

Too many tools evidence of muddled thinking

I looked online for some ideas and how-tos. Everything required machines I do not have. Plus useful advice like “if you use a dovetail saw, try to keep the kerfs straight.”

Trial and error it was. Emphasis on the latter. I had a vague idea of what I was shooting for. Teeth need to be along the grain, same with handle. Two pieces. Maybe 7 teeth?

After tiring of sketching, I went hands-on. I like trying something out without knowing what I’m doing. It’s how I learn. I can test ideas and scrap them, or go in a different direction. The important part is that I don’t worry about the end goal. It’s the process. When I mess up and have to chuck a piece I’ve been working on for an hour into the trash, I’m not as put out.

This project is really stretching my brain, though. I worked out angles on scrap until I settled on 90 degrees to be shaped later. Then I was vexed with waste removal. No coping saw. 1/8 of waste. Apparently an important piece of my saw wandered off during our move from the US, and I haven’t used the thing in 8 months so I didn’t know. Can’t go buy one here. And so on.


On my second attempt at the teeth I was beginning to see somethings I liked. And then I went against the grain and ruined it. Had to start over. On the third attempt I felt like I might have it. Then I split the damn thing in half.

Beginning to see a comb in there

The comb in the trash and Christmas is 6 days away. My wife may not get a finished product. But, through all the trial I’ve got a lot more ideas and a much clearer sense of direction.

Given sometime with pencil and paper I think I can nail this. Fourth time’s the charm.

Or fifth.

Yippe ki yay.

2 thoughts on “(Not a) Christmas miracle

  1. ctregan December 19, 2014 / 7:30 pm

    Thats a unique idea. Your wife should be pleased!
    Where I am from, we wear too many hats and scarfs in winter – making it impossible to comb our hair until spring!


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