Unfortunately, various events of late have kept me from getting into the shop as much as I would like. From end of summer and back to school, to giving my dad some extra help as my mother has experienced increasing health issues the last few weeks, I haven’t spent too much time in the shop from mid-August onward.
I did however, get a few hours on a Friday a couple of weeks ago to attend the Lie-Nielsen hand tool event in Manchester, CT. I have to say it was nice getting back into a woodworking setting and mindset. This particular event in Manchester, CT was hosted at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. I’ve been to a few other Lie-Nielsen events, but this one by a good margin was the largest. Lie-Nielsen will often have another vendor or two with them, but there were several at this event: Tico Vogt (premium shooting board maker), Fine Woodworking Magazine, Catherine Kennedy (Tool Engraving), and others who I forget their name, but dealt with molding and wooden hand planes. If you have never been to one of these events, you owe it to yourself to try and get to one. You can test drive any tool they have there, and you get a great feel for what a quality, sharp tool should feel like. Ask a question, and you’ll get a detailed answer and/or a great demonstration.
So here are a few pics:
Thanks to Google+ “auto-awesome”, a panoramic of Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. Lie-Nielsen area is on the left, and other vendor booths along back wall.
Some furniture on display at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking.
Deneb Puchalski of Lie-Nielsen answering questions on hand planes.
Mike Pekovich of Fine Woodworking magazine doing a demonstration on card scrapers. It was nice to chat with Mike for a bit after his demonstration.
And of course, I couldn’t NOT post a pic of my new #4 that I ordered at the event and arrived the other day!
First things first… Happy New Year! I hope that you have a great and safe New Year, and that you all had a great Holiday season!
In looking back over the last year, I have made some improvements to the shop, attended Fine Woodworking Live, and completed a couple of projects, but I wanted to outline some goals I have for 2014…
Since I’ve turned my table saw around 180 degrees from what I had before, I now have the space available for a true outfeed table. The roller stand I have is nice, and will certainly use it elsewhere, but it will be even more nice to not pick up offcuts off of the floor. The outfeed table will add safety and convenience.
This improvement is already in the works: I finally ordered an RF remote unit for my dust collector. No longer will I have to walk over, turn it on, then walk to the tool with the hose connected and then turn it on. Because of where the dust collector is, after I build the outfeed table, this will be a huge gain in convenience, since once the outfeed table is in place, the dust collector will be that much harder to get to.
A workbench. What I have now is not impossible – it’s an MDF top on a metal cabinet base. It’s flat, well, except the corner that got wet and is now swelled. It does though, seriously lack in workpiece holding ability. While I haven’t ironed out all the details, I do know that this will be a “bench on a budget” so to speak. I don’t expect to have the resources for a large Roubo with expensive vise hardware, but I do think I can complete a bench that will be a huge upgrade over what I have, and not break the bank. I am coming from no specific experience, and therefore bias, toward certain vises or other wood holding systems, or styles of bench. My “vise” has been a wooden screw clamp that is clamped to the bench top. I’m leaving on the table the various types of vises: metal jaw, twin screw, leg vise, etc. Face vise with planing stops? Face vise and end vise? Some combination? Expect some further posts on this as things roll along.
In keeping in what I try to do with every project, whatever further furniture projects I end up doing, I will continue to incorporate some new joinery that I haven’t done before, or perhaps some other new technique I haven’t tried.
Continue to attend some woodworking events or classes. While my personal circumstances with a special needs child may prevent me from any significant travel, I do hope Fine Woodworking will have FWW Live close enough to home that I can make that drive again, and offer day passes. The Woodworking Shows will be coming to the area in the next couple of weeks, as well as perhaps the Design Build Show in Boston in February. I understand why WIA doesn’t typically move much beyond the Cincinnati area (there’s a LOT of stuff to move), but if they did find their way to southern New England, I would certainly try to attend that. There is also the fairly new Woodcraft in Walpole, MA that is now offering classes, so I plan on looking into their offerings as well.
And of course, anything can happen during the course of a year, so will keep an open mind to anything that comes along!
So Happy New Year everyone! Take care, be safe, and happy sawdust in the new year…
When I posted the Intro and Shop Tour video, I had some plans on how I could improve the shop. Since that video, I’ve been able to do a few things in the shop to get things further organized. I thought now might be a good time to share some of those updates.
I hope everyone had a great Holiday season and that the New Year is treating you well. I haven’t posted much since the Holiday season kept me pretty busy, but I actually did have some things I did in December and beginning of January that I think are worth posting.
I went to a Lie-Nielsen tool event in October of 2009 which I was really impressed with, so when they were coming back to the area (this time in Beverly, MA), I went… with a budget. While there, I picked up this sweet dovetail saw – my first Lie-Nielsen tool.
I also got some time in the shop to work on some organization. I have one section of wall in my basement that was an ideal place to put a French Cleat system, which makes it much more functional than looking at a stone foundation wall. I got this idea from The Wood Whisperer (Episode 106). Basically the idea is to have a cleat cut at the top at 45 degrees toward the wall, then you make custom hangers for your tools with a mating 45 degree hanger.
For my setup I put up some 2×4’s, then mounted pine panels to them. I then put up some basic trim the same thickness as the cleats (3/4″). Of course I had to make it “official” by putting up my “The Wood Lab” sign.
And what was my first hanger? One for my shiny new Lie-Nielsen dovetail saw of course! I’ve posted some pictures below.
One thing I’ve always been bad at in the past is taking “before” shots before starting a project around the house. I figured now though, I would have a shop tour early on in this blog, and down the road as I hopefully update the shop, I could do another shop tour and see the difference between now and later.
One of the biggest challenges of my particular shop is that I have to be creative on where I place my tools. My house was built in 1860, and the basement has plenty of spots where you have to duck your head to avoid ductwork, pipes, etc.
What better way though to start a shop tour with a picture of my “May ‘The Schwarz’ Be With You” shirt!
This is one of the first things I built for the shop when we bought our house in 2002. As the family “IT Guy”, I wanted a bench to be able to open computers and work on them.
Just behind the computer bench is my floor drill press, with a bit of a mess in front of it.
Turning around 180 degrees from the drill press, you see my benchtop bandsaw, workbench and pegboard. On the portable stand to the right of the bench is my mitre saw.
To the right of the workbench and pegboard is the air compressor, with some shelves I am in the process of completing to store tools.
Turning back toward the bandsaw, are some shelves for tool storage as well as a radio with aux input setup for my iPod (gotta have tunes!).
Between the air compressor and the shelves leads to the second half of the basement where the “big tools” are… although that is just a jointer, contractor style table saw, and dust collector. This area has less of the ductwork, etc and therefore has more headroom.
Turning right from the jointer is the table saw and dust collector.
A view from the other end of the second half of the basement. The open area is where I plan to put a planer.
And turning slightly to the left, another shot of the dust collector and table saw.