George_SA woodworking journey #1: My woodworking journey

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Blog entry by George_SA posted 05-05-2012 03:28 PM 6725 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I started woodworking at a young age when I was in high school (many years ago) after my brother bought a combination woodworking machine (table saw; lathe; thicknesser; disk sander). Later on I bought a secondhand radial arm saw and a lathe from a guy I worked with. At that stage eagerness was my main skill. I wanted to build a dining room table and chairs. I purchased some Iroco wood for the project. The only thing that got made on that project was 1 chair leg that I turned on my lathe. Much later I used the Iroco to make a blanket chest for my daughter’s 16th birthday.

Through the years I have made various things from wood. Unfortunately digital camera technology only started being part of my life later on and therefore I don’t have pictures of my earlier projects. I will post some pics of my later projects in the projects section as time permits. I enjoy making jigs and tools just as much as making a project from wood. (Maybe this is due to the fact that tools are expensive and that there is always something else ahead of tools in the family budget.) Anyway I would rather make some tool (if I can) than spend big bucks on it. A further factor in this is that the availibility in South Africa is also much more limited.

Unfortunately my time for woodworking is very limited and it become even more limited when I made a life change to become a full time minister out of a career in marketing. Six years full time studies took their toll on woodworking time and I only recently started again. My shop is in a very unorganised state at this stage with only my table saw and drill press in proper working positions.

I have a unique table saw and to me a very special one. It was made by my wife’s grandfather who was a mine engineer in one of South Africa’s coal mines. He had some very talents in this regard. He also made a steel lathe and one of his bigger projects was a home made caravan (I think it is called a camper in the states). One big limitation on the saw is that the blade can’t tilt.

Fortunately I still have all my fingers and only had one accident where I cut my thumb. The cut didn’t go deep enough to damage any bone as I always adjust the height of the blade so that the teeth are just above the piece of wood being cut. This happened because I was in a hurry and wanted to do just one more cut before rushing off to fetch my daughter from school. (Here I broke one of my cardinal safety rules: when you get frustrated or you are in a hurry- close the shop and come back another day when you are more relaxed) Due to lack of concentration I reached over the spinning blade to take the push stick and the result was a lot of blood and pain. Fortunately there was no permanent damage to my thumb.

In further blog postings I will ad some more details and pictures of the table saw and mods I intend to make to add functionality that later year table saws have.

-- Sometimes life gets in the way of one's woodworking :)

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