The Slightly Confused Woodworker

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Spielberg.

Last night for the first time in more than a week I was at my workbench.

I had a long, long week of work last week, and this week is has not been much better. The truth is that I will not usually woodwork during a work week regardless if I worked a ten hour day or a fourteen, so the longer than usual work days have not really affected my woodworking time in that sense. But my favorite hobby is usually on my mind, or at least it is most of the time.

I’ve always considered woodworking as much a form of stress relief as well as a creative outlet. But over the past year or so I’ve found that going to the gym and working out after the work day makes me feel better mentally; there’s something about lifting weights, or pounding a heavy bag  that make me feel good. I only bring this up because friends, family, and even commenters on this blog have wondered why I don’t often woodwork during the week. Some people find out there can find “after work” relief in woodworking, which is something that I admire because I wish I could. I may be the exception, but over the course of time I’ve come to the conclusion that I do far better work (woodworking wise) when I am well rested and I start early in the morning, which means most of the productive woodworking I do happens on the weekend (if I don’t happen to be scheduled to work).

But last night I did enter my garage for reasons woodworking related.

To preface, at the beginning of the year I made a half-assed New Year’s resolution to not purchase any new woodworking tools this year. I’ve stuck to it. In fact, I’ve only purchased two vintage tools this year: a Record 043 plow plane and a superior hand saw ($8 at the local antique store). Lately, I’ve been having some fun restoring old hand saws, and getting in a lot of good saw-sharpening practice doing it. I have a Lee Valley saw file kit (which I highly recommend) which did not included the dbl x slim file because it was out of stock at the time. Now, nearly a year after the fact, it appears the Lee Valley still does not have that file, so I ordered one with a handle from Traditional Woodworker last week that arrived on Saturday. And I entered my garage last night to put it in the tool rack.

I also did some cleaning and a little more organizing. This wasn’t just for organizations sake, rather, I was hoping to make a few woodworking videos, nothing instructional (I’m not a teacher and I’m not getting paid to do this). Instead, I’m only doing this because people have asked me to do it.

For the record, I’m honestly pretty shocked  that so many people have wanted me to do this. Some have wanted to see my “shop”. Let me disappoint you immediately. I don’t have a work shop; I have a garage that happens to have a workbench in it. Some woodworkers have a perfectly lovely garage which they’ve converted to a perfectly lovely woodworking shop; I don’t. My garage is very much a garage. It is neither attractive nor comfortable, but it’s all I have. There are those that may say that I’m lucky to have what I do, but “lucky” is relative in this scenario. I’m lucky to have a wife and family, I’m lucky to have a decent job and place to live, but as far as woodworking is concerned, my garage sucks.

Then there are those who have even wanted to hear me talk!?! Let me disappoint you again. I grew up in Philly; I sound like a thug. I have a decent vocabulary; I have a decent education, and though I spend a good portion of the day talking on the telephone, I don’t have perfect elocution. I grew up in Philly and I sound like I grew up in Philly.

I know there are video woodworkers out there who spend a good deal of time practicing enunciation and the prerequisite hand gestures you often see in woodworking videos. I give them all the credit in the world. But that’s not me.

I did a few practice videos and the problem is two-fold. Firstly, the lighting in my garage is just not good enough. My plan in that regard is to do it on a nice, sunny day where I can open up the garage door to allow some natural light in (it has been raining for 5 days straight currently). The second problem is the lay out of my garage. My workbench is against the back wall, and that is the only place for it.  You may have noticed that most of the photos on this blog are taken from the right side of the bench. That’s not because it’s my “good side”, it’s because that is really the only place where a clear photo can be taken.

All of that being said, I still am going to do the video. I think the subject will be a saw restoration I am doing. Once again, I’m hardly an expert. I am only attempting to show that even an amateur like myself can take an old saw into put it into working condition. Hopefully it will be ready to go in a few weeks, and those of you who have requested it will be able to see, and hear, their “idol” in action.

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