If your shop doesn’t have a comfortable corner with a chair and a place to sit and look upon your woodworking domain, you should find a new hobby. There is one thing that I like to do more than make sawdust, and that’s sit back in my chair and look at all the tools and benches and piles of wood. I feel like the king of a wooden kingdom where I can choose which piece of oak lives, and which one gets brutally cut in half. I am all powerful and I have an army of machines to protect my rightful place as ruler for life.
But as I sit I remember that the danger is not reserved only for whatever unlucky piece of wood catches my eye. I, myself am in mortal danger as well. Because I am bound to see some way to upset the carefully balanced ecosystem that is my workshop. My gaze will, more often than not, fall upon some bench or machine that I think may be better located on the other side of the shop. And that always leads to moving every bench, tool and fixture in the whole kingdom.
My wife and I couldn’t be further apart on this issue. She likes things to stay as they are in the house. I think she’s obsessed with it. While I like to move things around every other day, she wants them to stay where they are. The dog hasn’t been allowed to move in months. It’s getting out of hand.
She sees it differently. To her, I’m the nut-job. Yesterday she caught me moving the drill press for the fourth time this week and just shook her head with disgust. She pointed out that the sharpening bench, both band saws, the jointer, the planer, the lathe, the mortising machine, the sanding machines, the tool cabinet and the big scroll saw have all been moved at least twice in the last month. I tried to tell her that I got some new hand planes and I needed to make them fit into the layout of the shop. But she clearly doesn’t understand.
A workshop is a living, breathing environment. When a new tool is introduced, no matter how small, a place has to be made for it. It’s not as simple as making a spot on a shelf. Other tools may be uncomfortable with the newcomer. You have to take rivalries into consideration, cultural issues, it’s very complex. A set of antique molding planes can’t be placed next to a router! But if you move the router, what about the mortising machine? It’s already upset that the router is used to cut mortises, which used to be its exclusive job. Now it sees me giving special consideration to it’s arch enemy and it wants to move too. The implications are endless.
So today I am sitting in my chair with a terrible back ache from carrying a bunch of cast iron machines from one end of the shop to the other and back again. I think I have it all the way I want it now. But then again… I thought the same thing a few days ago. And I have been thinking of buying another router…
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