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Music In The Shop

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Blog entry by handsawgeek posted 12-04-2014 09:37 PM 1091 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Over the past couple of years, I have read many a blog and forum post on the subject of what kinds of music woodworkers listen to while working in their shop spaces. Most of these posts ignited an extensive thread of replies by woodworkers describing the particular soundtrack to which they preferred to perform their sawdust-making activities.

As can be expected, the responses described just about every known musical genre, and every well-known artist, dead or alive. Musical tastes are as many and varied as the woodworkers themselves.

For the handsawgeek, the preferred music is that of the shop itself…

Not the sounds of a noisy power tool shop, but those of the hand tool world.

The whisper of the plane slicing off a shaving from the edge of a board.

The steady rasp of saw teeth slicing through a piece of stock, the sound changing noticeably as the cut progresses.

The percussive strike of mallet to chisel as a mortise is being knocked out on the workbench.

The mechanical sounds of various tools such as hand drills and vises produce while doing their work.

In short, I enjoy the silence of the shop, broken only by the sounds of the work being done there.

This may appear unusual for a guy who is a musician, and enjoys listening to a wide spectrum of music, much of it cranked up to pretty substantial volume levels.

But, when I am in the shop working on a project, I just don’t have a need for music burbling away in the background.

Just a geek and his thoughts….

Actually, this is a fairly recent development. Until I moved most of the woodworking operation to the Basement Annex, I always had some sort of music going in the garage shop.
Once set up in the basement, I thought that the same was necessary. In fact, I went a step beyond just music.

In the basement storage space sat a huge 50” rear projection TV that was long out of use – shunned in favor of HD flat screens. I wheeled this monstrosity out to the vicinity of the shop and gleefully cabled it up to the house Sat TV distribution device, and programmed a universal remote control to operate it from my workbench. Now I could have full TV programming and Sirius music channels in the shop. I went even further by installing a spare DVD player I had hanging around so I could put on some movies, concert videos, and play music CDs. Even my little MP3 player could be connected into this TV via a mini-plug to RCA cable. I have my entire extensive music library at my fingertips in the shop.

Awesome….!

As it turns out, I have powered on and used this system all of two times since I have been working in the Basement Annex. And one of those times I wanted to keep track of a Broncos game while I was working.

The funny thing is, I don’t miss having music in the background, whatsoever.

Maybe I’m getting old… Naaaah, no way.

Maybe it’s a by-product of embracing traditional ways…after all, our woodworking ancestors didn’t have Led Zep blasting away in their shops….

Maybe it’s just because I’m a geek….

-- Ed



4 comments so far

View Paul Bucalo's profile

Paul Bucalo

623 posts in 822 days


#1 posted 12-05-2014 01:25 AM

My situation is so different from yours right now. My normal operating gear while in the dungeon consists of a heavy sweatshirt to fight oof the 50 F temp, a billed cap, a 3M Chemical mask (to filter out the airborne wood dust, concrete powder, mold, mildew and asbestos lying in the aforementioned), safety glasses and ear muffs. I have a portable sound system/radio that can run on battery power or off the DC adapter. The best station to pickup, that doesn’t play Country, is a PBS about 50 miles south. They play Jazz when not giving the NPR broadcasts. I play it loud enough to hear through the muffs.

The reality of my environment is that I will never have the resources or the conditions to make my dungeon like your basement annex. The next home we move to, it will be a priority. For now, I’ve accepted my place to get away requires environmental protection. The music and radio broadcasts keep my mind off the discomfort. :)

-- -- Paul Bucalo, Norwich NY USA

View handsawgeek's profile

handsawgeek

591 posts in 858 days


#2 posted 12-05-2014 02:27 PM

Hey, Paul,
I know your pain. For years I’ve had my operation in an unheated garage shop. Usually, all woodworking came to a screaching halt in the Dec – Feb time frame because of the cold. I tried using an electric space heater, but, in a large 3 bay garage, that just didn’t cut it.
I remember a couple of years ago, when I was building the fire station bunk bed, the pieces were too large to sand in the garage, so I ended up taking them out on the front driveway. This was in late November, and I had to get these done by Christmas. I recall that one of those days hit all of 35 degrees with a stiff wind blowing, taking the windchill down to 20 or so. That was miserable! The only good part in the deal is that the wind swept all the sanding dust away quickly. The neighbors probably thought I was insane. Meh..what do they know?
Even today, with most of my activities done in the basement, there are a few operations that are still confined to the garage, namely completing work on the lathe stand, and actually turning projects on the lathe, which are virtually put on hold until things warm up.
Oh, well, we do what we can.
Hope your shop environment woes improve. Thanks for following my blog!

-- Ed

View Paul Bucalo's profile

Paul Bucalo

623 posts in 822 days


#3 posted 12-05-2014 02:47 PM



Hey, Paul,
I know your pain. For years I ve had my operation in an unheated garage shop. Usually, all woodworking came to a screaching halt in the Dec – Feb time frame because of the cold. I tried using an electric space heater, but, in a large 3 bay garage, that just didn t cut it.

Electricity is expensive here. The cost in electricity for a space heater is probably prohibitive, but I may have to look into the most efficient one I can afford if glue-ups become a problem in the temps I have to work in. Even in the heat of the summer the dungeon is in the high 50s. It’s the field stone walls that sick the heat out of the space.


I remember a couple of years ago, when I was building the fire station bunk bed, the pieces were too large to sand in the garage, so I ended up taking them out on the front driveway. This was in late November, and I had to get these done by Christmas. I recall that one of those days hit all of 35 degrees with a stiff wind blowing, taking the windchill down to 20 or so. That was miserable! The only good part in the deal is that the wind swept all the sanding dust away quickly. The neighbors probably thought I was insane. Meh..what do they know?

I hear ya. I had planned on doing pallet destruction outdoors whenever weather permitted, which in my case means dry, with no snow on the ground. Temps, within reason, are less a concern.

Using power tools in temps like you mentioned may not be advisable for me. I am using extension cords to bring power outdoors. Even though I’m using a 12 gauge cord I have to be wary of the temps causing the tools to draw too many amps. The weather this winter will decide for me.


Even today, with most of my activities done in the basement, there are a few operations that are still confined to the garage, namely completing work on the lathe stand, and actually turning projects on the lathe, which are virtually put on hold until things warm up.

I still have a lot junk that needs to be hauled out of the dungeon and some of that will have to wait until Spring brings warmer temps. Heat loss is a major issue with basement workshops.


Oh, well, we do what we can.

A truth that can’t be denied. :/


Hope your shop environment woes improve. Thanks for following my blog!

- handsawgeek

Thanks. You’re welcome. I enjoy reading what’s happening in your shop.

-- -- Paul Bucalo, Norwich NY USA

View NormG's profile

NormG

5499 posts in 2466 days


#4 posted 12-06-2014 05:39 AM

I have a clock radio that is many years of age. Just to have on

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

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