Considering that this is my first blog entry in some time, I thought about writing a “controversial” post. I won’t do that, however. Rather, I will provide a brief explanation of what I’ve been up to over the past summer. Woodworking wise, I completed a handful of smaller projects, but nothing large. As I’ve said many times on this blog, summers in this region of the country are generally long, hot, and humid, and this past summer was no exception. When I woodwork, I don’t want it to be “work”, I want to enjoy it, and woodworking in 90+ degree weather in a space with no climate control is far more work than I want to do with my free time. So my project list over the summer, while fairly long, really added up to a half dozen or so small boxes.
However, this past summer was a summer of tools.
Last spring, we hired a new employee who happens to enjoy going to area auctions. When he found that I enjoy woodworking, he mentioned that he had quite a few woodworking tools that he purchased at these auctions for very little cost. I was more than happy to have a look at them. Needless to say, I came away with dozens of old tools, including half a dozen bench planes, some saws, several spoke shaves, a really cool hand-cranked grinder, and an old wood-bodied jointer plane. And it was that jointer plane that lead to my first power tool purchase in many years.
During the spring, I had noticed a sharp pain in my right forearm, often running from my wrist to my shoulder. I found out that it was tendonitis, which is hardly the end of the world, but it’s not something I would recommend having, either. In the meanwhile, the jointer plane, a Howland & Sons, was in pretty rough shape. The strangest part was the iron, which was completely rusted over. Most old plane irons I’ve come across look like they were sharpened by somebody who held it with their teeth as they ran it across the grinder. This iron, while slightly skewed, had a bevel that was pretty straight, or at least much straighter than many I’ve seen. Still, it took me several hours of hand grinding just to get the bevel to the point where it could be sharpened. And after the fact my arm was hurting pretty good. There and then, I decided that my days of hand grinding old tools were over.
In the meanwhile, I received a few hundred dollars in Visa gift cards from a promo. With that money, I purchased an 8 inch slow speed grinder and a Vertitas grinding wheel jig. For the sake of full disclosure, I will admit that I would not have purchased the grinder if I hadn’t had the gift cards, bad arm or no (sorry, but I’m cheap). In any event, the new grinder has done a lot to make restoring old tools more enjoyable.
On another note, I also scored more than 100 board feet of walnut and around 50 board feet of cherry all for the cost of nothing (next to nothing at least). I have two projects in the works that I will be writing about over the next few weeks, and I want to do one last post concerning tool trays…