Welcome to the Shop!

Watch the step down…sometimes there’s a dog there.

So when folks hear I’m a woodworker, they tend to imagine a couple of different extremes when it comes to my shop.  One is the Norm Abrams idea.  High-powered machinery screaming along, eye and ear protection a must, dust collection mandatory.  Everything revolves around biscuit joiners and feeding sheet goods through a big table saw.

The other pole is sepia-tinted: white aprons and neckties, centuries of tradition distilled into a single masterful stroke of a lovingly fettled plane that was hand forged by the elven smiths of…

Sorry.  Tolkien bleeding through there.

The truth is a little more mundane.  My entire shop is a single car garage, measuring about 12’x20′.  And it’s pretty workaday.  IMG_20160808_195559_339[1]

I’m standing in the far corner, pretty much on top of my little bandsaw.  There’s some wood stacked up on your right out of frame, and a rack for firewood on your left out of frame.  Everything else is there in front of you.  My lathe is bottom center: an old Delta made in the mid ’30s.  A panel in clamps is leaning on it.  Once it dries overnight, I can work on it tomorrow.  There’s about six or seven different projects in different stages going on all at the same time, which is why it looks like a Weyerhauser facility blew up.

My tools are mostly vintage.  Disston saws I bought for ten or twenty dollars because they had busted handles and needed sharpened.  You’d need sharpened too, after a hundred twenty years.  So I restored them and use them almost every day.  My planes on the bench are all vintage Stanleys (5, 7, 4), but I got them for a few dollars because the castings had cracks or chips, and the totes were broken.  They work.  I did buy new chisels because getting vintage ones that aren’t worn to a nubbin were more expensive.

The humble bench there is a 2×4 frame with a piece of plywood on top.  Fancy, huh?  Those propane tanks?  Yeah, those get filled up in fall because there is no heat in this shop other than a little propane heater.  That and working faster.  That (no longer) oscillating fan is the only concession to the muggy summer.  There are no windows, yet.  It’s on the list…but it’s a long list.  And my wife keeps adding to it!

Everything you see on this blog comes from this little space.  It’s usually pretty quiet, except when one of my saws automatically detects contact with human flesh.  And it’s a LOT less dusty than a machine woodworking shop.  Mostly I put out shavings.  It’s easier on my lungs.  More on this stuff tomorrow.

So now you know where I come from.  It might not seem like much, but it’s enough…and isn’t enough as good as a feast?