In middle school I took woodshop, one of my favorite classes. The pens were my final and proudest accomplishment in woodshop. Until that point, I had done well on my projects, but I just couldn’t get the lathe down. I excitedly chose padauk and bloodwood as my stock for the pen, but wrecked wood block after wood block. I repeatedly came in after class until I finally got the technique down. I got my first A+ on a woodshop project and proudly gifted it to my dad for his birthday with the teacher’s grade still affixed.

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