I really want to woodwork. I just never do and it seems I mostly end up collecting tools and have a rather poor set of skills that I don’t feel ever increase. I’m hoping by writing this down, it will encourage me to actually do something about this.
Partly, is my own doing. The other is due to work. Take this year. It is now June and I’ve spent 5 of the last 6 months in Africa. Several thousand miles from my shop. There was a “Get Woodworking” week pushed by the woodworking community. I missed it because I was trapped in the third circle of hell known as Angolan Immigration. When I do get home, I really just want to sit on the couch or catch up on the life I’ve missed when I’m gone. I’m pretty depressed about the fact that I’ve spent more time with certain coworkers than I have with my family. I’m actually writing this in notepad to get my thoughts down because I’m stuck in the Atlantic, off the cost of Congo with no internet, no TV and no phone. I downloaded a bunch of episodes of Woodtalk Online and that is my entertainment.
It doesn’t help that my shop is a mess. Again, my own doing. Most of my shop furniture is either hastily bashed out bits to address a specific need at the time(I swear I’m going to finish those drawers soon) or cheap plastic shelving units I’ve gotten from Target. Most of the time it just depresses me when I enter it. It looks horrible and is usually in a condition that at work I would yell at somebody about.
Not surprisingly, I tend to find excuses for myself to not spend time in the shop. But I’ve decided I’m just going to get at it. When I get home, I’m just going to get in the shop and start making sawdust. I’ve got a few projects that have really suffered from procrastination.
This year I’m going to:
-Build a coffee table I don’t loathe.
-Finish the garden swing.
-Build a workbench.
-Build out the shop better.
-fix the walls of the shop.
I’m working out of a garage. Thankfully, I don’t have to share with a car, but I get embarrassed because we also use it as the main entry for the house. So all my friends walk through the superfund site I try to call a shop. I want to make it nice enough to be proud when people walk through. And the garage is really a converted carport, so there are quite a few things that need to be done to turn it into a workspace. It had lattice work in between brick columns. I put up plywood on one of them, the other I replaced. I need to build out both of them and either paint the wood or put bricks up. I hate to lose the space, but I’m not sure if I want to sheet rock the walls. the other is I want a wooden floor, but I’m not sure about the price I’m going to pay for that.
I don’t really have a workbench. I’ve got a little toolbox thing with a piece of MDF on it. But that isn’t really good for anything other than as a flat space to put things when I’m too lazy to put it where it goes. I don’t quite have the space so I think right now, I’ll build a Moxon style vise and clamp it to the table saw. That should give me enough weight to do some basic hand work until I get to the point where I can get a proper workbench.
The garden swing I started to build, but got sent out. So it set out mostly painted since October. Part of the problem has been I really wasn’t too sure about how to build the frame. I did build a garden arbor, I’m just not sure I trust that design to holding a swing. I did find a *bracket at Home Depot* that I think will work. The other problem was that at some point, it got blown off of the sawhorses I was using and the arms got broken off. They were held on with screws, but I think I’m going to convert that to a mortise and tenon set up.
The coffee table I was trying to go for a mid-century modern design, but I’m not happy with how it is coming out. It doesn’t help that my attempt to turn the legs and mount them to the table has created a really rickety table. Oh well. At least I get to set fire to my mistakes. I’ve got a better idea I want to do, the design is radically different, but I think it is more along the lines of what I can do.
There are still a few tools I “need”, but I’m not going to get them until I get my shop together. I want to replace the irons on the No 7 plane to a thicker, newer iron. I want to replace my modern Stanley number 5 with one that isn’t garbage. I want to get a bandsaw, but that can wait. I might look at getting a handsaw for any resawing I need to do for the time being. I’m thinking I want to build a *toolchest* and fill it with a loadout similar to what the Schwarz recommends and use them to increase my handtool skills. I don’t want to switch to all handtools, I feel that power tools have replaced the tasks that were done by worms. But I do want to get less useless at using handtools.