K is for Kneepads

For my other posts about woodworking tools, follow this link. Don't forget to read the story based on this post, "On Bended Knee".

K is for Kneepads

Much like I didn't used to wear gloves, I didn't used to wear kneepads. Unlike with gloves, the "no kneepads" thing was pure testosterone.

I couldn't be bothered, didn't need them, didn't want them. Wusses and rookies wore kneepads. Callused knees were a sign of virtue and work ethic.

Kneepads got too sweaty. Kneepads were too binding. Kneepads were too awkward. Kneepads never fit right. Kneepads always slipped. Kneepads looked dorky as hell.

The cheap foam kneepads didn't last and didn't do any good anyway. The slightly less cheap kind with the hard plastic pads were unstable and uncomfortable, worse than no kneepads at all. And the high-end kneepads? Who in his right mind would pay $30 for a pair of kneepads? Silicon gel comfort wide elastic strap velcro adjustable blah blah blah... forget it!

Above all else, kneepads were for old men, the kind of guys who made those old man grunting noises when they got up off the floor where they'd been laying tile or setting floor joists. Kneepads were a mark of weakness and decline.

All of this I believed, and not just believed but lived out to the fullest extent. That makes this bit of self-examination somewhat awkward.

I'm not quite sure when I came to my senses. Was it when I laid the Pergo in my kitchen? Laying the flooring in my bedroom closet? When I laid fiberglass insulation in the attic joists and then installed flooring on top of it to get more storage space? When I did the oak flooring in my bedroom?

I know I wore kneepads to lay the drystone walk in the backyard, and I was wearing them for any hands-and-knees job by the time I did the tiling by the front door.

These kneepads you see in that picture up there... when did I buy them? These are the third or fourth set, and they're a serious cut above the previous ones, which are still in use by Mrs. Noland for her gardening and DIY projects. When did I buy these Cadillac kneepads? It was certainly long before I did all the restoration of the downstairs shower, which was many months before I did all the tiling and plumbing for the master bath.

When did I start wearing kneepads? Probably when I got tired of bruised knees, numb thighs and being stiff-legged for two days after every big job.

I guess these kneepads make me an old man who has to pace himself on a big job, working through the hours with measured pace rather than the simple furious energy of a young buck.

Funny how I don't much give a shit about such categorizations anymore. Must be the kneepads.


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  1. Maybe you're just experienced enough now not to care what people think so long as your comfortable. It's liberating; isn't it?

    1. They say that middle age is the time when you get more comfortable in your own skin, even as you get less comfortable in your old jeans. 8-)

  2. Comfort beats pride any day! Taking up rollerblading taught me the value of kneepads the minute I landed on them. And it didn't hurt. It took a while to convince myself that my elbows needed similar protection.

    I'll use my skating pads if I'm on my knees a lot, especially if the surface is uneven. The foam pads are sufficient for crawlspace work, though.

  3. Yeah, if you're going to spend a lot of time on your knees, then it's a good idea. We don't have much natural padding over those things, and they turn against us fast.

  4. Hope you're more comfortable now! My grandparents used to have a gardening stool you turned upside down and there was a cushion for knees on the underside. Very useful!

    Louise @misswriteuk


  5. Isn't it funny how "looking dorky" can be a viable reason not to do something when you are young?


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