Small Shop Adventures #9: Winter Blues.....Or Is It?

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Blog entry by BrockF posted 11-30-2014 09:18 PM 1404 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: Another Pause, But For a Good Cause. Part 9 of Small Shop Adventures series Part 10: Spring 2015! »

Thanksgiving. A wonderful holiday. And even better when you are not sick with a bad ear infection. And after the holiday, everyone else is sick too. That pretty much sums it up, after two weeks of getting everything ready things are now quiet except for the sound of sniffles and coughing.

Last year I stool in line outside of Rockler for 6 hours and was rewarded with being first. And a 10 dollar gift certificate. I planned on a repeat this year and maybe picking up a GR Gripper, and hopefully a better gift certificate but it was not to be. At just a few degrees above single digits and me on cold meds I weenied out in favor of not wanting to make myself much sicker. Dissapointed with myself? Maybe a little bit, but the gripper was not even on sale so not much of a loss. And after studying it for a bit online, I think I could build several equivalent shop made models for less than the cost of one.

Considering how cold it now is, there is no pressing need for a gripper or any other push stick right now. The shop is pretty much shut down for the season, with the exception of those strange warmer days that turn everything to slop. Had a good one yesterday, and no real strength or energy to do anything more than finish the last clean up from Thanksgiving I certainly did not want to begin any projects only to have to stop right away and then wait till spring. That final real cold temperature drop is coming when everything will freeze up for the duration.

Living in the Northern United States certainly dictates workflow and priorities. Long gone now is the early morning sunshine and the after dinner work out on the driveway. The shop has been organized, cleaned and condensed to allow the family automobile to use most of the space. The only work that is going to happen out there is maintaining and storing the snow blower for the next few months.

In most regards I find this to be depressing as I love woodworking and now find myself sitting on my hands doing nothing. But it need not be. This is a great time to catch up on a lot of reading, planning and research. Last year I busied myself with studying modern designs for workbenches and then drew up plans of my own.

I also think it is good to raid the woodworking library, either my own or my public libraries. for new ideas and refreshing general knowledge and techniques.

Speaking of which, what can be better on a cold day then keeping warm with coco or hot tea tinged with lemon and sugar while watching woodworking videos online? Maybe a little New Yankee Workshop, or those Wood Whisperer episodes I have been meaning to see.

My friend Chris has a wonderful website and Facebook page called Cool Tool Shed at:

I would highly advise stopping by. It has become a delightful microcosm of the the woodworking world from which I have seen examples from all across the globe. And of course Chris himself is a gracious site host. Following his woodworking journey has given me invaluable information and ideas for my own.

And then there is the bottomless well that is Pintrest.

Do I have to mention Lumberjocks? You are here, you know:)

Once the holidays are over and the crowds are gone it will be nice to visit Rockler and Woodcraft, after carefully assessing what woodworking tools and supplies I need to stock back up on.

Where does this leave us all on those very cold days when working in an unheated shop is impossible? Router maintenance on the kitchen table I think, followed by taking apart, cleaning and inspecting corded and cordless drills. And If I am really gutsy, maybe set up the glass plate sharpening thing inside and sharpen all the chisels. Soak and clean all the table saw blades? Plenty of things to do, and all important, even if they don’t give the satisfaction of actually making anything. If I am diligent then I can spend that first real opportunity for woodworking next year actually making sawdust and not staring at the shop wondering where in the world to begin.

Until then, stay warm, recuperate and keep busy.

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