Amateur Hour #4: Completionistic Fixations

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Blog entry by agartzke posted 10-02-2010 05:26 AM 10656 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Dirty, dirty... Part 4 of Amateur Hour series no next part

What an exhausting couple of weeks! Between work, family and the shop, I’ve been non-stop for what seems like forever.

Cramming woodworking has been a way of life now for the better part of 5 months. Since my second daughter has been born, it has been a challenge getting some shop time. Obviously I wouldn’t want it any other way, as I thoroughly enjoy my family. But I do admit getting away to the shop feels all that much sweeter now. In doing so, I’ve found myself much more efficient with my time.

Just last week, I was starting early and bugging out of work to get home one hour before I had to pick my daughters up from day care. Though my wife makes the wonderful suggestion of “hey, why don’t you get the girls a bit early,” I say no way. I explained to her that given the situation, I will gladly take that 45 minutes of precious shop time, if only to put a coat of finish on. Or do some other putzy task. Or something noisy. She doesn’t like me going downstairs when everyone is home and awake – which runs from about 5pm to 8pm on weekdays. That would be fine, except that my oldest’s bedroom is directly above my shop. BUZZZZZ! Wrong! Can’t use power tools after I am allowed to escape to the shop. Well, how is one supposed to separate pieces of wood from other pieces of wood?? (Scream loudly, hand tool junkies! :)) That only leaves that chunk of time between when I get home and have to do the pick up. It certainly leads to some creative workflow…

On a more interesting note (at least to most people), I have developed a weird completionism fetish as I approach the start of my shop remodel. I’ve completed a cherry and koa cabinet (mentioned in the last post), a child’s table (still need to complete the two chairs), several trivets, and lots of shop organization. For some reason, i can’t stand to think that I’ll have projects in mid flight when I start ripping down walls and whatnot. I have no idea why… I suppose I get the feeling that if I leave something undone, it’ll stay undone for many more months because it’ll be a bit more difficult to work in the shop during the remodel. Even stranger is that it probably isn’t even the case, as the whole larger shop area (I’m expanding from the existing shop) is already walled off, and I’m not boxing up and tools, really just spreading things out further. Oh well, whatever it takes to get projects done! I’ll post the completed projects once I get a chance to photograph them.

The triumph of today, however, and the primary reason I just HAD to post this is I have now discovered the fine art of sharpening. Grinders, oilstones, etc. None have really worked for me. Of course I’ve eyeballed the Tormeks of the world, or the Shapton stones. Just a bit out of my price range at the moment, so I couldn’t go that direction. I just couldn’t bear to read another article about how a really sharp blade should be able to shave hair off your arm! I decided to bite the bullet (a cheap bullet at this time), and figure it out… I hit Ace, HD, Woodcraft and came away with an inexpensive honing guide, a marble tile, tons of wet/dry sandpaper up to 2000 grit and some spray adhesive. Who knows what the checkout girl thought I was making with one tile and spray adhesive! That’s for her to ponder.

At any rate, I had it all set up today in the shop. Started with the 220, moved to 800 and then 2000. Boy did that work! Of course I’m starting with inferior products (Buck Brothers anyone?), but the dang blade shaved hair off my arm. After taking it to some scrap mahogany, it made the thinnest ribbon shavings I’ve ever created. One happy dude, right here!

I think that’s enough for a couple weeks worth of effort. I’m going to take a day or two off and spend time with my youngest, who is unfortunately on the mend after a bummer of a fall. Till next time…

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