Hello folks. Been frequenting LJ for a while, looking for answers to questions, inspiration and to view the many interesting and truly craft worthy and artistic projects posted here. I’m somewhat retired from the construction industry – trained architect turned developer. I’ve run large scale projects on the Empire State Building to small development projects. However I’m mostly a frustrated woodworker at heart.
My first attempt ever, at woodworking was back in 1978 at the age of 18. With paper route money and some savings from the usual lifetime events, I purchased my first new car – a Toyota Celica, where I proceeded to rip the center console from it in order to make room for my own rendition, fabricated from wood. I thought it would add a “classy” appearance to the interior. I have to say it didn’t turn out all that bad. The tools I had at the time were inexpensive and manual – a plastic Stanley mitre box and saw, an old electric drill and a few screwdrivers. A local builder who happened to be visiting my folks saw the drawings I produced and what I was accomplishing and asked what I was doing. I told him I was building a console for my car. He said no, he wanted to know what I was doing with my life. I had dropped out of college and that was the reason for my being home at the time. He asked if I had ever given architecture a consideration. Suddenly a lightbulb when on and the rest is the history of my employment career.
Back in 2008 I completed a development project in Brooklyn that I would eventually move in to. Since then I’ve been doing small projects in the yard when the weather has permitted, as I do not have a suitable space for an indoor shop. Once in a while I cheat and attempt to do what I feel wouldn’t be too invasive inside, but always find out the hard way that my sanding and sawing has caused more dust than I’d care to think about.
A few years ago I joined a place in Williamsburg Brooklyn – a community based workshop – had monthly fees for using their well equipped shop. However there were some issues that eventually made the experience more frustrating than enjoyable – jockeying for bench space and machine time became problematic. Some truly first class stuff was being produced there, but the “fight” for space took the fun out of it. I couldn’t blame those guys that were grabbing the lion’s share of the bench space. They were all younger and hustling for a buck. I was there for other reasons. This prompted me to look to rent a suitable space to be creative and to scratch that itch I think most any woodworker gets when they’re not making use of their hands.
Ah, I call myself a woodworker, but really I feel I’m just a novice at best. During the construction of some of the homes I’ve built and development projects I’ve conducted, there were opportunities for me to pick and choose what I would want to do myself. That allowed for me to not only keep the real craftsmen doing what they do and moving the job forward, but also let me develop some of my skills and get assistance if needed. It also allowed me to feel as if I were contributing to the effort in a tangible way aside from just managing the project.
Last week I finally found a pretty neat space. It’s in an old, reconditioned factory in Williamsburg Brooklyn. Today I moved the first few pieces of equipment into it – two weeks ago I purchased a 6” Rigid jointer for $100 from a local contractor and I’ve been driving around with it in the back of my pickup since then LOL Said he used it twice and it’s been sitting in his garage for the last 6 or 7 years and he wanted rid of it. I was happy to oblige :) Inspected the blades and fired it up. It hummed beautifully. There’s a bit of surface scale on it, but no pitting. Should clean up just fine. Maybe I’ll replace the blade with helical cutters, down the line.
Well here’s a few pics of the space and a few projects completed along the way.
The new space
My messy desk of mostly mahogany
A stand for a 50g reef tank using black walnut
Working on it in the community shop
This blog will serve as the record of my shop build. I hope to get feedback and guidance from the many knowledgable members here on LJ. It’s my intent to build all of the shop fixtures as my initial projects, starting with a station for a Bosch 4100 job site saw. It’s a little beat upon, but still makes nice cuts. It’ll serve it’s purpose for a few more years and incorporating into a saw station should give it more utility.
Well thanks for reading!
Oh almost forgot to post a pic of the layout I intend to build. Most all of the fixtures will be on casters and most all of the equipment served duty on job sites so they’re a bit rough around the edges. Hope to get some feedback on the planning as it proceeds.
-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn :)