A real wood working shop, something I have always wanted. However, time, money and location have yet to be on my side.
While no stranger to wood and the useful/ wonderful things you can create from it, most of my working life to this point has meant portable tools loaded into a company van parked out front of the house.
That’s how I have fed my wonderful better half and our 5 kids.
That era has ended, and the modest “storage shed” I hastily built a few years ago is about to become something more.
While money and location are still not working for me, with only our youngest still at home and a seasonal warm weather job, Time is finally whispering in my ear.
I’m the guy the neighbors visit for that odd bolt or some strange piece they need to repair something, and the 16×20 soon to be workshop reflects that.
Piles of wood, shelves mounded with tools of my trade, outboard motors and crates full of interesting trinkets the wife refers to as junk left nothing but small path ways to navigate around.
And then it happened…
Our second oldest married and bought the place next door. Then last September she walked in the door with a piece of folded paper and a red faced and smiling husband in tow. That paper was proof from the Dr. that our second grandchild was mere months away.
Along with that terrific news came a request.
“Dad, I want you to build a crib. Not just any crib, but one we can use for all our kids, and that will be a family heirloom.” (We have since spoken about the time frame, and she knows the crib will be ready in about 2-3 years depending on the dry time of the cherry I have not even cut yet.)
While I’m good with my hands, I fear her request is still out of reach when it comes to the finer points of furniture making. I didn’t (and I won’t) ever utter that thought to her. (or Mama for that matter.)
And so the first day of January found me sifting through mountains of uh… stuff. It’s time to clean up and make my daughters dream a reality.
But there are some troubles that need to be overcome.
1) The mess- Nearly complete, after a huge give away and a couple trailer loads hauled off, i have space to function.
2) Money- With 2 kids still in college and one starting next fall I have to work around that one. I have pennies not dollars.
3) Heat- Much thanks to an old 60# propane tank and modest welding skills combined with a roadside chimney, I can now knock the chill off.
And finally 4) sourcing lumber- I’m not a fan of box store lumber for many reasons, and I needed a better option.
My research for better options led me here to the vast knowledge you all have shared.
I must say thanks to everyone who made this site possible, since the knowledge I obtained thus far has opened new doors to lumber and keeping the promise I made to our daughter.
What follows will be the journey I am just beginning, it will be a long one no doubt since I am literally starting from scratch. Feel free to follow along, and even chime in if you wish. I am always open to new ideas, better more efficient ways, and even constructive criticism.
While I’m not quite ready to post pics of my still a tad cluttered work space, let’s start with the first piece I built after digging through this site for a spell- My take on the Alaskan chainsaw mill.
After several late nights of research in front of the computer, I had a drawing of what I wanted. Thanks to a boss who doesn’t mind me using the maintenance shop I run for personal projects after hours, and the scrap bin behind it, I have my mill for a total cost of ZERO dollars.
I made it adjustable, as I don’t own a saw with enough power yet, up to a 36”bar. That Stihl with a 25” bar belongs to the company I work for, and yes I have permission to use both it and the maintenance yard to do my milling.
The very first cut came off a cotton wood log from a tree the crew and myself fell in late fall.
The mill performed better than I expected, and with more cotton wood logs than I care to count at my disposal, I can say with certainty I will have plenty of practice wood to play with after it dries.
Next up came some american elm. I have used elm before and love the stuff. Its very durable and tough.
I can say its hard work, and I see a bandsaw mill build in my near future!
And before I left work for the season, I pulled together the scrap to build one piece for my shop, a unique swing away wall mount for my drill press since both floor space and bench space are at a premium in my shop.
Again, I have ZERO dollars in this. Just fabrication time.
Much more to come, stay tuned!
-- Proud owner of an electronics free workshop. Please check your cell phone at the door!