Monday, March 22, 2010
On Shop Inertia And A New Project
It's been over two weeks since I've done any woodworking. So, finding myself with some free time yesterday, I eagerly headed out into the shop - only to run smack into Newton's First Law of Shops: "A shop at rest tends to stay at rest."
Maybe you've experienced this too, but I just couldn't get focused. I swept up some shavings hiding under the bench. I filed a few cardboard templates that I had left sitting out. I put away some leftover hardware. I cleaned and oiled the new marking gauge that had just arrived in the mail. In short, I puttered my time away.
No matter how hard I wanted to get things moving, it just wasn't happening. I had been away too long. The problem was certainly not a lack of projects: the partially finished set of blocks, the Arts & Crafts lamp, or even the long dormant bench. Nor was there any lack of potential projects I could start: the file box, the traveling tool chest, the small box, the shaker shelves or the wall cabinet. I could even work on tools: the chisel handles, sharpen the saws, fix the dovetail saw, or replace the missing boxing on the moulding plane. No, a lack of things to do was not the problem.
Finally, with almost no time left, I got things moving in one direction. I settled on making a new knife holder to replace the one that arrived broken. Two Christmases ago I placed a large order with Lee Valley. One of the things I ordered was a knife holder with plastic rods that hold the knife blades. Well, Lee Valley packs their stuff well, but not always well enough to insure survival through whatever the Alaska division of the USPS does to boxes. The box was practically crushed, and while everything else made it out alive, the knife holder did not.
Here's a picture of the broken holder:
Now, Lee Valley has some of the best customer service ever. And I know that if I had asked, they would have replaced it. But the thing was, I didn't really like the way the original wood looked. So I decided to just keep the plastic rod innards, and build a new case - a simple, fast project that I could have done in no time.
And then it sat there. And sat there. And months went by, and then a year. In the meantime, I saw (I think over at Schwarz's Woodworking Magazine Blog) a version that used bamboo skewers instead of the plastic rods. I liked that even better.
So now that I have had this broken holder for over a year, I finally decide to scrap the whole thing and build a new one from scratch. Sheesh!
I decided to use pine for this project. And so the first step was to resaw 3/4 inch stock to 1/2 inch. For this I use my frame saw. Here's a shot of the process:
And another - this time "sawyer's eye view":
After this, I decided that I need to make a longer frame for a longer web. I also need to file some more aggressive teeth on the next web. The bandsaw blade works fine most of the time, but in a long, wide board like this one, it's too slow.
So in the end, I only got through step 1 in the new project. But I did finally get things moving again in the shop. Now I just hope that the other part of Newton's Law will apply: "A shop in motion tends to stay in motion."