Small Shop Adventures

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Blog series by BrockF updated 03-13-2018 01:55 AM 13 parts 21058 reads 16 comments total

Part 1: Small shop adventures.

08-22-2014 08:28 PM by BrockF | 4 comments »

The construction of the new garage last fall gave me a clean slate for setting up my small shop. The lone survivor in terms of shop furniture from that leaky, damp mess was my workbench. It survived several months in public storage and the trip back and forth. The top is solid and heavy and I don’t like to waste. It reminded me of how far I have come in my wood working and how much more I still have to learn. I scrapped the base but kept the top, thinking about how best to ...

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Part 2: What was....

08-24-2014 03:30 PM by BrockF | 1 comment »

I seem to have started this blog in the middle and I should do the right thing and give you the meat and potatoes of why it is a real small shop adventure. Let me go back to the old garage. It had survived being whacked by tree branches in some pretty big storms, but it was old and literally rotting so anything valuable had to be kept in “dry spots”. The concrete had been put down on what looked like sand and soda ash and in some spots I found chunks of wood thrown in, like they were c...

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Part 3: Mud, concrete and sawdust.

08-24-2014 04:47 PM by BrockF | 2 comments »

Before something nice can be made, you have to clear away what was. Finishing the demo. Breaking up the old foundation. Mud. This was hard to deal with because it just looks bad. Made my wife sad. For all you construction newbies contemplating your first major project like this, I want to point out planning with the contractor started in late July, clean out took a month, another two weeks from total demo to pouring foundation and then almost another two weeks till constru...

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Part 4: The quarter loft.

09-11-2014 01:42 AM by BrockF | 2 comments »

I was reading that the upper section of the garage walls right under where the roof joists meet the sidewalls is often wasted when it comes to storage. The article advised that building a wrap around shelf would amount to hundreds of square feet of storage space. Problem was all the plans I saw were very expensive and cumbersome looking without much strength…about 30 pound boxes max. I like the concept itself even though it is not practical in a smaller garage where the door tracks...

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Part 5: And Now We Pause For Station Identification.

09-25-2014 06:38 PM by BrockF | 2 comments »

As you might have guessed by now, I have been doing a lot of thinking about workshops. While some more glue dries out in the shop I wanted to talk about this idea for a bit. My Dad was (is considering tool makers rarely identify as anything else) a tool and die maker for at least 40 years. Not the newer incarnation with calculators and a CNC predilection, but an old school craftsmen who learned his trade and spent much of his career using machines built in WWII or before. This is a spec...

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Part 6: Organization Madness!

10-07-2014 01:32 AM by BrockF | 3 comments »

For reasons science is incapable of answering, tools don’t seem to be capable of hanging themselves up. I investigated big box tool hanging widgets and found it would end up costing me a bundle and likely not meet most of my tool needs. On the other hand, thanks to a good friend I have an abundant supply of 2×4 1/2 inch plywood sheets and pre-painted 3/4 cedar. I took a glance online at what others had done and decided to make a traditional tool wall for my hand tools. I woul...

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Part 7: Working Hard and Hello Winter.

11-16-2014 03:43 PM by BrockF | 1 comment »

(Note: This blog is the most current, as of November 16. It should be #8.)* Hello winter. We have snow on the ground but nothing like to the north in Wisconsin. Still, timing is everything. I have spent the time between my last blog and now racing the weather to complete the bench and get shop ready for the car to come back. If I had one of those little compacts this would be no big deal, likewise a large garage. But the car is a Durango and the shop is only 18×20. And my pl...

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Part 8: Another Pause, But For a Good Cause.

10-22-2014 12:12 PM by BrockF | 0 comments »

* Hello again fellow woodworkers. It’s now officially 1 year since the new shop/garage was built. I should be completing my big bench build this week and bringing the car back in at night, but sometimes things get put on hold. It just so happens we helped a friend with an elderly parent and the entire front of the shop is filled with bags and boxes to be donated to the Chicago Epilepsy Foundation. Gives us a wonderful feeling to be able to help them in their cause. A lot of...

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Part 9: Winter Blues.....Or Is It?

11-30-2014 09:18 PM by BrockF | 0 comments »

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 h...

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Part 10: Spring 2015!

03-28-2015 10:08 PM by BrockF | 0 comments »

With great delight, I can announce spring has officially come to Chicago-land. Of course, this is highly subjective, considering we went from being in the 20’s to a day in the mid 70’s and then crashed down into the teens, followed by 5 inches of snow. A week along, and while the snow is still in a few patches here and there, it seems moderately warmer weather is here to stay. And this means WOODWORKING! For those of you still locked in snow and ice, you have my sympathies. ...

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Part 11: A Long Pause and a New Year

01-06-2016 06:53 PM by BrockF | 0 comments »

Hello everyone. My sincere apologies for being gone for so long. Last year I had am ambitious list of projects to work on, and truthfully, almost nothing got done. This isn’t to say I was not busy, although who could know it would be at someone else’s house? My in laws, being older folks with medical issues, wanted to move closer to us so we could be of help to them. So instead of woodworking, I spent the better part of the late spring and fall property hunting in my own neig...

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Part 12: It's 2018 and I'm back!

03-13-2018 12:36 AM by BrockF | 0 comments »

Sorry for the very long time away. I have been very busy. After a lot of discussion my parents began looking for a place close to ours. They lived in the same house for 38 years and I know moving was a hard choice but they are older people and being near family is very important. I helped find them a nice place almost within walking distance of my own house. It was a well cared for rental, but very dated and in need of a lot of work. So began my transformation from a hobbyist woodworker...

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Part 13: Hand Planing Trim Boards.

03-13-2018 01:55 AM by BrockF | 1 comment »

For the ceiling trim in my parents place I am going with 1×4 boards with a 1/2 inch square strip along the upper edge, all painted white. I am using poplar because it paints great and is such a pleasure to work with. One of the challenges I face is that the ceilings have a few spots where they are not exactly flat, either because of time or because of muddling, paint, repairs or both. This would be essentially invisible except when you try to put a trim board up. I can’t do...

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