I think this blog is aptly titled to reflect what I feel every time I go in my shop. Rarely do I go to my shop with nothing in mind planning to do absolutely nothing. As a matter of fact, that has only happened once, and it was when I was prepping this house to move in. The shop was the temporary home of my refrigerator while I finished the laying floor in my kitchen, and since it has a/c it was a nice and cool place to sit on that hot June afternoon and get a cold one out of the fridge. I was so wore out that day I took an hour nap sitting propped against the wall. At that time it wasn’t a shop, it was a 12×16 storage shed that had been used as a mini man-cave by the previous owner. Before we signed on the house, I made a pact with the wife that I got the shop building and the house was hers. She reluctantly agreed, and that day I started planning and plotting…... chasing after would be accomplishments.
I set forth laying out and stocking my shop with power tools and accessories, maxed out a couple credit cards and what I had to show for it was a building of large tools I owed money on, and no room to use them. I spent months hitting my head on a wall trying to organize tools and shelf my shop so that I could use them to no avail. I spent too much time reorganizing my shop to make a cut, only to realize that now the drill press was blocked. It was at some point that the idea of “less is more” hit me and I began selling and trading tools. From that I met William, Tubmanslim, and jasonjonesis. I sold my Ridgid jointer, lathe, a router table and router, my R4511 tablesaw, and I traded my drill press for a unicorn (set). I haven’t regretted it once mostly due to the awesome people I met and the debts it cleared up. Aside from that, I got my shop space back, and am able to work now.
The limited space has pushed me to use hand tools more, due to the small footprint and the overall longevity one can expect from reasonable good hand tools. The biggest thing holding me back for the past year has been my complete lack of sharpening skills. The recognition of my own ignorance led me head first into researching and learning to sharpen tools. I’ll spare everyone here the extent of my plight, but suffice it to say that after scary sharpening and hand grinding using a jig(s), I have finally found my system. It is not perfect, it probably is completely wrong, the edges probably won’t hold up, and my teeth will fall out, causing mass flooding in Vicksburg and poor William to go without lights for another week or two. All I can say is that I’m sorry William.
But here is my latest accomplishment that I couldn’t be more proud of. I NOW HAVE A SHARP AND USEABLE BLOCK PLANE, with about 18 more planes and a box of chisels to follow. And to top it off, I ground the blade on a crappy wheel on a dry grinder, and I honed the edge freehand on a set of oilstones. That’s right, I used a crappy 60 grit hardware store wheel, four oilstones, and a leather strop to get my shaving edge. I was so proud to have done it, I had to send William a text message. Now, I have sharpened tools using my white wheel, a jig and a whole lot of elbow grease, but after doing it freehand and getting decent results, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to a jig. TAKE THAT ALL YOU SHARPENING SNOBS. I know that the method isn’t for everyone, but it works for me. It’s something I’m proud of and it has gone from being something I wanted to learn all the way to something I can do on a whim. Guess it’s time to start chasing the next dragon, my workbench…......
-- Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. Vince Lombardi