The Slightly Confused Woodworker

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Monthly Archives: June 2016


Selfie Ban

On Memorial Day, my family and I went to a Church Service at Valley Forge National Park. While most of the attendees were adults, there were obviously children there with their families just as my daughter was with me. I saw a few of those kids on their cellphones before the service, and that in and of itself didn’t necessarily bother me all that much. I’m not a curmudgeon and I don’t think today’s generation of kids is doomed. I do think they are a little less athletic, a little too educated (for their ages) and a little more self-absorbed than kids of past generations, but those things are hardly signs of the apocalypse.

One thing I’m not fond of is the “selfie”. This may be cliché’, but I’ve seen kids walk into walls, into the street, and into other people while taking selfies. I personally think it is the worst trait of the cell phone generation, and when I saw a kid take a selfie it in the church it did bother me a little. I’ve taken one selfie in my life, which was a photo of me in a Halloween get-up, and the first was very likely the last. I’m not knocking the occasional selfie, just the people who spend hours of their day taking them.

So what am I getting at?

This blog became my own woodworking selfie.

If I can recall, I started this blog for two reasons, one being that I started to hate what I was reading in woodworking magazines, and two because I wanted friends of mine to see and read about what I was building. I won’t lie; vanity certainly played a part in that. In my defense, I don’t consider myself a vain person, at least not in an unhealthy way. A little vanity is, in my opinion, a good thing. A little vanity can keep you driven; too much vanity can make you a pathetic jerk.

Anyway, seeing that kid take the selfie in a church struck a chord with me for whatever reasons, so recently I made the conscious decision to hold back on the blog and not worry about documenting my every woodworking move. In doing so, I’ve gotten more woodworking during the past 3 weeks than I have in quite a long time. I can only attribute that to the fact that I’ve been far less worried over writing about what I’m doing and instead concentrating on actually doing what I’ve been doing. Don’t get me wrong, I still took some photos of my work, but when I did I wasn’t really worried about captioning them, and I sure wasn’t worried about showing the “steps” of the process. I just took a photo when I felt like taking one, and it made everything far more enjoyable. And that is how I think I will continue to work from now on.

I hesitated in writing this post, because I’m not trying to insult those woodworkers who also enjoy blogging. I would bet that in many cases blogging may actually help woodworkers by giving them new inspiration, or by helping them focus etc. And of course professional woodworkers may use a blog to promote their products or reach new markets. There’s nothing wrong with any of those things. But for me, blogging had become a distraction, and I think I will become a better woodworker if I stop worrying so much about documenting it, and rather focus more on just enjoying it.

My “ingenious” clamp rack/shelf. I plan to write a post about this later…

My long lost Enfield Cupboard finally has a finish coat of paint…

#4 sole after its initial “probing”…

The #4 “out of the box”…

As flat as it needs to be….

The iron and chip breaker after the initial clean-up…

Starting to look like a working plane…


Under the radar

Yes, I’m still here; I’m still kicking. The report of my death was an exaggeration, as has been said before. So what’s up?

In short, nothing.

In a crazy scheme to earn a living and support my family, I’ve been going to work every day, though in truth my work schedule has not changed much (yeah, I still complain that I work a lot, however). What I have been doing is spending a lot of time outdoors, which is no surprise considering that this is the nicest stretch of June weather we’ve had in recent memory. I’ve also been going to the gym because I still think I’m 23 years old, and yes, I’ve been getting in a pretty decent amount of woodworking as well; what I haven’t been doing is blogging about it.

I read a lot of amateur woodworking blogs, or at least I used to. Amateur blogs were a great source of inspiration to me, and I always enjoyed seeing what was being made by other woodworkers like me. The problem there, from my point of view, is that I’m no longer seeing many woodworkers “like me”. To be fair, maybe I’m the one who has changed, that is entirely possible, or maybe it’s a combination of the two. As I’ve said many times before (and many will say that it’s not my place to say this) but I do not like where woodworking media has gone, or where it is going. It all seems very rigid, and one dimensional, to the point where I’ve seen articles written telling woodworkers when it is acceptable, in a ‘real woodworker’ sense, to use sandpaper– In a side note, thanks for that, because I’m too stupid to figure that out for myself– My point in all of this being, many of the blogs I’ve come to enjoy reading seem to be going this route, and that is fine. I’m not a sensor, and I’m the last person to tell anybody what and how to write, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to keep reading  it blindly, either.

With all of that being said, I really have been woodworking quite a bit.

Firstly, I drew up the plans for my latest “tin panel” cupboard and I just need to pick up the material. I’m leaning towards oak, but I do have a small yet decent stash of construction lumber that I’ve been slowly turning into boards for furniture making, though even without a moisture meter it is easy to see that it still needs to dry out quite a bit. I’m hoping to start that cabinet in a few weeks, so that means I will likely need to purchase the wood from a dealer.

I’ve also filmed several new woodworking videos and I hope to do a few more. I recently came across some vintage woodworking tools that I’ve begun restoring, among them are (2) Fulton #3 planes, one Stanley #4, an Atkins #6 spoke shave, a spoke shave of thus far unknown make, as well as a no name rip saw. The price I paid for these tools was so ridiculously low that I will not even mention it here; I will just say that it was less than half the cost of a decent ½” chisel. The truth is that I really don’t need any of these tools. I will likely keep the #4, sell the two #3’s, keep the spoke shaves, and give the rip saw to my dad. The cost for these tools was so low that they are worth saving, and I also think the restoration will make for some interesting videos.  And when I say sell I don’t mean for profit, I would just like to get the money back I spent on them. On that note, I am trying to keep the woodworking videos short, 15 minutes or less being my goal, both for the sake of succinctness and the ease of upload.

Some of the tools that I recently picked up waiting to be restored. Not pictured are the Stanley #4 and the no-name rip saw, both of which are currently not at my house…

Restoration on one of the #3’s begun, and the other is also under way…

Otherwise, I’ve made few small but useful items around the house: a new ‘Sellers’ box, a hat rack (for baseball caps, not Stetsons), an ‘ingenious’ clamp holder that I will hopefully write about in a future post, and an American Flag from some craft boards as a decoration for Independence Day.

So that is my update, if anybody cares to know. I’ll try to post at least once a week as well as put up videos at the same rate. And I’ll do my very best to be true to myself, and to continue to not be or become the woodworker that I don’t care for so much.

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