Thursday, October 28, 2010

Blank No More!

The slate is blank no more! Progress has been slow, but things are shaping up. As every little piece falls into place, the shop takes one small step towards finally being functional again. Small steps, but noticeable. Yes.

Here's what I accomplished last weekend - Clamp-O-Rama!

For the first time ever, my clamps (of which you can never have too many) are actually making me happy. They used to be a jumbled mess that made me crazy if I even looked at them, but no more.

The clamps on the lower rack are clamped on firmly, while those on the upper rack hang loosely, trapped behind a raised lip on the shelf edge.

Louis enjoys his newly relocated shop nest.


  1. Ahhhh... I think a cat probably does much better in a hand tool workshop than a power tool one.

    I have a black long-haired cat who loves to be around me when I'm working around the house - that includes my shop time in the basement.

    Unfortunately, she inadvertently does a bit of light cleaning in the shop along the way, much to my wife's chagrin.

    When I was drywalling and sanding the workshop walls, we came home one evening to white paw prints all over the 1100 square feet of our dark hardwood floors on the main level of the house. There was an occasional PUFF of white where you could see she'd sat for a period of time.

    Hope Louis is better behaved...

  2. Mind if I ask a couple questions?

    I love the clamp racks, but how are they attached. That is a lot of wight. I've thought about doing this but always worried about not being able to attache the otems firmly enough. Did you just use a couple cabinet screws directly through the racks or did you do something more substantial?

    Also, what is up with the garage door? Is that some sort of insulation blanket? Can you still open and close the door? How well does it work and where could I find one (assuming the door can still be opened and closed).

    These are some great updates. It took me forever to do my small upgrades with power tools. I can't imagine how long it would take me with hand tools.

  3. Looking great, Dan! I am so envious of your nearly infinate amount of clamps! Keep the pictures coming!


  4. Dan...
    Great work as always. Looks like giant steps to me. Keeping it going!

  5. Ethan - Yes, Louis heartily approved the shift from power tools to hand tools. Most of the time he is the ultimate shop cat, napping in his nest and occasionally doling out advice or encouragement. But sometimes he must remind me that he is a cat, and magically appear underfoot as I am trying to move a heavy, awkward load.

    JC - The racks are just 2x4s with 45° ends, although there is no reason you couldn't fancy them up. I attached them to the wall with a 6 1/2" Spax style lag bolt at each of the three studs crossed. At that point, it was pretty solid, but I decided to add the 45° brackets and now it is rock solid - I can hang on them.

    Yep - that's insulation on the garage door - still works just fine. They're fairly common up here in Alaska and I think it helps greatly. I think you can find them online - try searching "garage door insulation kit", and most likely at Depot etc.

    As for the work, I differentiate between shop projects and general carpentry. Shop projects are human powered only. Carpentry is a mix - for this wall all sawing was done by hand, including the plywood, but screws were driven with a electron burning cordless and the holes in the cement floor were drilled with a corded hammer drill. I don’t normally post on carpentry work (deck, shed, roof etc.) unless there is an interesting hand tool angle included, such as using the draw knife on the bamboo flooring. In this case, since the carpentry is related to the shop, I’m posting it. That said, if I had used a brace for driving the screws, it would definitely have been slower, but maybe not by as much as one might think.

    Dan - Thanks! But the supply is not infinite, you'll see I left room for more acquisitions :)

    Mitchell - I know, darn opportunity cost! Sigh.

    A&J - Thanks! It is coming along, but so is baby #2 and then things will really get crazy! Yahoo!

  6. Carpentry vs. "shop projects": Makes sense. Personally, I'm not a purist -- e.g., own a few "eggbeater" hand drills, but much prefer cordless drills: one-handed operation can be a definite advantage. :)

    Personally, as a regular reader of your blog (and a fellow home-owner), I'd be interested in postings related to misc. carpentry.

    Baby #2: Hey, congrats! Started accumulating old tools for kid #1 yet?

    Tip from a parent w/ three kids: start color-coding things that you have one per child of, to minimize later arguments. In our instance, one kid gets green stuff and the other gets blue stuff; if it doesn't come in green, then the green kid gets blue and the blue kid gets red or orange. The daughter gets pink (or, if unavailable, red).

    One advantage is that you can "code" items (e.g., tricycles, books) with just a swipe of an approriately-colored permanent marker, or a band of colored electrical tape.


  7. Also: **Niiice** collection of wooden clamps! I don't have any, yet -- but they're on my "To Get" list.


  8. Thanks for answering all the questions. I know I left you a bunch!

  9. Gye - Well, misc. carpentry makes it in once in a while, but I don't think it will ever be a large part of the blog - which is really focused on hand tool only woodworking. Maybe I should start a second blog - Dan's NonShop. Yeah, no. Not enough time as it is...

    Thanks for the tip on kid stuff, I haven't even begun to think about that stuff yet. And yes, there are some tools already set aside for kid #1 :)

    I highly recommend getting at least a couple of the wooden handscrews - they are incredibly versatile.

    JC - You're welcome - ask anytime!

  10. With all your things this way I mush say that you are a very organized man and I am very impressed with those clamps. I wonder how long it took you to have all those things. I think you are already my idol even if this is my first time to read and see you works.


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