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Ponderings

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Blog series by Tomcat1066 updated 10-07-2011 12:37 PM 31 parts 46265 reads 306 comments total

Part 1: The Great Wide Open

01-05-2008 01:48 AM by Tomcat1066 | 13 comments »

So. I just put a bid on a #71 router plane on ebay. I have my #4 and #5 within arms reach, as is the POS block plane I bought from Tractor Supply Company that is better than I thought it would be. My Japanese saws are just outside of my reach, as are my chisels. Since my workshop is in a house I’ll be moving to, I have no where else to put them. That’s OK. I like having them nearby. It makes me feel like I’m working toward my goal of being a woodworker. There is ...

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Part 2: False Start? Or Divine Intervention?

01-06-2008 02:56 AM by Tomcat1066 | 6 comments »

My childhood was…unique. Now, before I get to far into this, let me let you know this won’t be a post about how I had a crumby childhood or anything. It may be true at times, but it wasn’t necessarily because of my parents. My mother was great, though a little odd. She was an artist though, and that seems to go with the territory there. My Dad was never a contender for Father of the Year, but he tried and that’s what counts in the grand scheme of things. One th...

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Part 3: Inching Closer to Building

01-10-2008 04:35 PM by Tomcat1066 | 4 comments »

Every day, I’m a bit closer toward being able to finally build something! I want to finalize my workbench design. I want to get familiar enough with Sketchup that I can design some of the other stuff I have bouncing around in my head and see how they would work. And each day brings me just a bit closer to that. Tomorrow I’ll pull the trigger on a jointer plane I found at a killer price. Details will follow after thee purchase, just in case someone else things it’s a g...

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Part 4: Getting Antsy!

01-14-2008 09:24 PM by Tomcat1066 | 12 comments »

So, yesterday found me in both Lowe’s and Home Depot. I finally found Home Depot’s selection of non-construction wood. I also found Lowe’s oak and birch plywood. Why was I wandering through these sections? Because I’m getting pretty damn impatient!!!! I don’t have a shop to use, but I’m antsy! I want to build something now! A tool chest, or something small and easy to move. I almost bought a Workmate yesterday just to have something to work with. ...

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Part 5: "Essential" Shop Machines?

01-16-2008 01:18 PM by Tomcat1066 | 14 comments »

I was just looking at Popular Woodworking’s site a few minutes ago, and noticed they have an article this month on power jointers. The synopsis refers to the power jointer as “essential”. However, have we really lost sight of what the word essential means? es·sen·tial /əˈsɛnʃəl/ Pronunciation Key – Show Spelled Pronunciation[uh-sen-shuhl] Pronunciation Key – Show IPA Pronunciation–adjective1. absolutely necessary; indispensable: Discipline is essenti...

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Part 6: A Romanticized View of Hand Tools?

01-18-2008 11:26 PM by Tomcat1066 | 26 comments »

It happens from time to time, a new woodworker asks the inevitable question. The question is what tools are the bare minimum needed to produce quality work. Depending on the particular forum (i.e. internet forums), he’ll get different answers. Recently, this question was asked in the Neanderthal forum of one of the bigger sites. The person wanted to know about hand tools. Now, normally, the answers are tools like a #4, #5, #7 planes, chisels, etc. This time, however, someone respo...

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Part 7: Boundaries

01-23-2008 04:30 AM by Tomcat1066 | 13 comments »

For some time, I have been setting boundaries for myself. What kind of furniture I would do, and what I wouldn’t do. What materials I would work with, which ones I wouldn’t. Even what kind of tools I would use (although tiny shop space sort of made me have to set this boundary). Even though there are no set rules on most of this stuff, I still seemed to want boundaries. Why? Honestly, I don’t know. However, as of tonight, I throw off all boundaries that are NOT invo...

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Part 8: Woodworking for Women?

01-25-2008 08:56 PM by Tomcat1066 | 22 comments »

I was just surfing through Amazon.com and came across this book called Easy to Make Organizers: Woodworking for Women. Now, I know I’m a guy, so perhaps I should just keep my mouth shut, but I suspect by now that some folks here realize that that is just not my style. Frankly, this title bugs the hell out of me. First, there is the implication that women are more likely to be interested in things like organizers rather than coffee tables. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that...

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Part 9: Saws Aplenty

01-28-2008 04:59 PM by Tomcat1066 | 9 comments »

Recently, I’ve been asking myself, “Self? How many saws do you need, and why type of saws do you need?” Now, obviously, I’ll never have enough saws. However, there should be a minimum set that a hand tool woodworker who’s going “old school” should have, I’m sure we can all agree. Now, I’ve got two crosscut hand saws, a Disston D-8 and a Norvell-Shapleigh’s Diamond Edge that looks like a Harvey Peace P-26 Crosscut. I also have ...

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Part 10: Does how bad you want it affect the price?

02-02-2008 04:20 AM by Tomcat1066 | 7 comments »

So, I find myself looking at two different saws (yeah, I know what I wrote earlier, but that was a minimum…who wants just a minimum anyways?). I’m mostly checking out the dovetail saws and the rip saws on eBay. Guess what? The style dovetail saw I want? They seem to shoot up in price bigger than snot. I top bid $45? They go for $46. I don’t bid? They go for $30. What’s up with that? However, I’m not despairing though. Every time I have gotten a setba...

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Part 11: Fortunate for my Wife!

02-03-2008 02:53 PM by Tomcat1066 | 7 comments »

In my last blog, I mentioned I should write a whole blog about my wife. I know I’m not alone on this one, but I’m damn lucky to have her. You see, my wife and I have an unusual history together. We first encountered each other when she was just 6, and I just a lad of 13. I was a Boy Scout, and our troop was camping on a private farm. One of the assistant Scoutmasters knew the owner and had arranged the whole trip. It was a fairly fun trip, with the exception of me almost d...

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Part 12: Coming to Terms

02-08-2008 04:09 AM by Tomcat1066 | 9 comments »

Four eBay listings in two days. All have gone right in front of my eyes. Most for just a hair more than I had bid just at that moment. The sad thing is, I was settling for most of these tools. That’s right, they weren’t exactly what I wanted. The handles looked good, the blade looked good, they were pretty rust free…and yet, I didn’t want them. Why? Well, they were in good shape, that’s why. Earlier today, I said on a forum, “Give me your poor too...

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Part 13: Who am I? Why am I here?

02-08-2008 04:49 PM by Tomcat1066 | 11 comments »

A conversation with MsDebbie on my last blog entry got me to thinking about why I’m here. Why do I want so badly to build fine furniture that will last for generations? Why do I want to use tools that are 60+ years old when I could get shiney new stuff instead? It’s simple. Just one word really. Rebellion. I, my fellow LumberJocks, am a rebel. I’m rebelling against the current thoughts that pressboard furniture and $1.99 hand tools are just fine. I’m rebellin...

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Part 14: The Most Important Tool

02-13-2008 02:49 AM by Tomcat1066 | 6 comments »

There’s always talk of what tool is the most important in any workshop. Is it the table saw, or the router, or the bandsaw? Well, as a hand tool guy, I’m screwed if it’s any of those. Nope…I think the most important tool is one that never shows up on the lists of important tools. It’s easily upgradeable to some extent. No matter what you need it to do, with a little research and perseverance, it will rise to the occasion. This tool will never let you down...

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Part 15: The Slippery Slope

02-15-2008 06:27 PM by Tomcat1066 | 9 comments »

As of right now, I have completed exactly one woodworking project. I’ve restored tools to working condition, sure, but only one time thus far have I put steel to wood and create something. However, now I have tons of projects flying through my head. I want to build a simple box, just as an excuse to cut dovetails and get used to them. I have my 2×12 bench challenge. I’ve got tons upon tons of ideas flowing through my head. Honestly, I’ll probably forget most of th...

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Part 16: The Certain Feeling

02-17-2008 02:39 PM by Tomcat1066 | 8 comments »

I don’t smile much. Well, let me rephrase that. I smile all the time, but only when amused, so it’s always obvious why I’m smiling. I’m not one of those people you will see smiling for no obvious reason. I need a reason to smile, and honestly that leaves a lot of time when I’m not smiling at all. That was, until yesterday. I started building my bench. I put in about 6 hours yesterday, and was frankly exhausted by the time I went in for the day. As a new...

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Part 17: Staying the Course?

02-18-2008 02:39 PM by Tomcat1066 | 5 comments »

I’m tired. Only two days of working on my bench, and I’m tired. Physically, right now, I’m well rested. There’s a little stiffness in my hand that will get worked out as soon as I get out there and start working, but I’m tired. The thing is, I now have a newfound appreciation for tools like bandsaws and table saws. A bandsaw would have made some of the cuts I needed a lot better than the jig saw. A table saw would finish up those tenons I have on tap today ...

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Part 18: Being to Hasty

02-20-2008 12:06 AM by Tomcat1066 | 12 comments »

I’ve always been a bit of an extremist I guess. No, I don’t strap bombs to my chest and blow up stuff that I’m ideologically against. I just tend to go toward some extreme subculture of any hobby I get into. My other passion is backpacking. There, I’m what they call an ultralight backpacker. Minimal equipment, minimal weight, and admittedly minimal comfort. However, I have a blast with that extreme. When I first looked into woodworking, I was leaning toward be...

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Part 19: Where to start back

11-19-2008 10:27 PM by Tomcat1066 | 7 comments »

So, I find myself here contemplating how to get back working on wood. I’ve spent so long painting and patching drywall at this point that I frankly am having to start from scratch to some extent. So, I figured I’d ramble on a bit here because I know how great the advice has always been here. With Christmas coming up, I had thought of building a tool tote for my son, to go along with a few tools I’m buying for him to work on his own projects. I still want to build my si...

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Part 20: The Problem with B&D Firestorm Stuff

11-20-2008 08:25 PM by Tomcat1066 | 10 comments »

I’m shopping on the ‘net earlier today and found myself at the BORGs’ sites. I’m in the market for a new jig saw and a router (yeah…need a few tailed apprentices to make woodworking a bit more enjoyable for the time being). One of the saws was the Black & Decker jig saw. At about $60 less than the Dewalt or Bosch I was looking at, it had all the same features or a few more. Here’s the problem. None of the specs actually tells you how it works in ...

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Part 21: Grand Plans and Harsh Reality

11-26-2008 08:57 PM by Tomcat1066 | 9 comments »

I’m a man with a dream. That dream is a beautiful tool cabinet that makes all others pale in comparison. Yes, it’s a piece of shop furniture, but I want it to be built and styled the same way I would any high priced commission. I want a piece that will withstand the test of time and can be a source of pride for my family for generations to come. And really…that’s only part of the dream. The harsh reality is that I don’t really know how to build it yet. I&...

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Part 22: The End Result Versus The Process

12-02-2008 12:29 PM by Tomcat1066 | 11 comments »

My hand tools have been a bit frustrating, and I think I know why. Partially because they need some more sharpening, but that’s not all. There’s a good bit more sitting beneath the surface, waiting to be exposed, and more and more work with wood has started exposing that to me. I think I’ve finally realized the issue, and now it’s time to deal with the long, expensive journey to fix that. Working outside like I’m forced to do, weather becomes a major factor...

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Part 23: Table Saw Versus Bandsaw

12-06-2008 04:13 PM by Tomcat1066 | 18 comments »

Decisions, decisions, decisions. Luckily, I was finally able to make mine. As many of you know, i’m extremely space limited. Any stationary power tools (a) can’t be stationary and (b) must fit within a 6’x6’ room that also contains a freezer and hot water heater. Granted, at some point I’d like to convert to a tankless hot water heater, but that’s a subject for another day. This space limitation is part of the reason I focused early on hand tools. Let...

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Part 24: So Many Sketches That I Think I'm A Painter Or Something!

12-18-2008 02:56 AM by Tomcat1066 | 2 comments »

I hate it, but then again I don’t. I get random ideas for pieces of furniture that run through my head and I have to at least jot down a rough sketch or else I’ll lose something, and I really don’t want to do that. I don’t want to lose the table I came up with to house the onyx chessboard I inherited from my Uncle when he passed away (he was only 12 years older than me…we were more like brothers). I don’t want to lose the entertainment center with doors ...

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Part 25: Another Year Older

12-25-2008 12:35 AM by Tomcat1066 | 7 comments »

Almost a year ago, I came to LumberJocks for the first time. In that time, I’ve learned a bunch and met a lot of cool people. I’ve developed a great deal, despite my few projects. Since it’s Christmas Eve, I thought I’d take a moment and reflect on some things I’ve come to understand. 1. There’s More Than One Way To Skin A Cat I’ve heard this saying all my life, but no where is it truer than in woodworking. Think of something like a dado. ...

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Part 26: Do We Ever Have Enough Stuff?

12-26-2008 08:36 PM by Tomcat1066 | 4 comments »

A bookcase. Seems like such a simple project. I looked at the tools I had, or were going to get anyways, and I either had it or could get one inexpensively. So, I made out some rough plans in my head. I’ve had a ton of help with the actual design over on T-Chisel’s forum. The design discussion was mostly on specifics, nothing that required new tools (perhaps new router bits, but that’s a continuing thing for life I suspect). And yet, every time I turn around, I find mo...

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Part 27: Reflections on 2008

01-01-2009 02:55 AM by Tomcat1066 | 8 comments »

So, we find ourselves with only a few hours left in 2008 (here in the US. Elsewhere, it may be 2009 already!) Personally, I’d like to take a moment and think of what 2008 has been for me. To start with, it was the first full year without my Grandmother. I miss her terribly. I don’t have a big family, so every loss hurts that much more. I had hoped to build her a piece of furniture. Unfortunately, that wasn’t meant to be. Still, since her father was a woodworker him...

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Part 28: An Open Letter About Safety

01-03-2009 02:52 PM by Tomcat1066 | 7 comments »

It was 365 days ago I posted my first blog here on LumberJocks. In that time, I took a prolonged hiatus in order to get my home finished so we could move in. However, in that 365 days, I learned a lot. Some of it has already been recounted. However, what I’d like to pass on to fellow woodworkers about safety equipment hasn’t, so why not do so here? To Whom It May Concern: You don’t know me from Adam’s house cat. I’m just a fellow woodworker who makes u...

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Part 29: Taking setbacks in stride.

09-05-2011 03:13 PM by Tomcat1066 | 18 comments »

Almost three years. That’s a long time to walk away from something that had consumed so much of my time, money, and desires. However, that’s what frustration will do to a man if you’re not careful. Since there are a lot of people who joined after my disappearance from this site, let me recap. I was trying to build a book case for my mother. I saw how it would go together and had the tools. The dad-blamed router was kicking my butt. Power tools are supposed to be eas...

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Part 30: The path to enlightenment

09-23-2011 01:19 AM by Tomcat1066 | 9 comments »

I’m a hand tool guy, at least for the most part. While I can see myself using power saws to break down stock, I’m just not interested in machine made joinery for the most part. I won’t rule out pocket screws here or there, because they do serve a purpose, but for the most part I want my tenons and dovetails hand cut. I even want my mortises finished out by hand. The trick is learning how to really use the tools. Once upon a time, as we all know, these hand tools were ...

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Part 31: H.O. Studley was a freak of nature

10-07-2011 12:37 PM by Tomcat1066 | 3 comments »

Most folks who love woodworking have seen the H.O. Studley tool chest. Well, Christopher Schwarz has been dropping video after video of it. He’s actually there, with others, to document the chest for a book slated to come out in 2013. Yes, it’s already on my list to buy. I’d pay now for the book. I never thought I could be as blown away by anything as that chest…until Schwarz posted this: https://lostartpress.wordpress.com/2011/10/06/h-o-studley%e2%80%99s-wor...

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