Revamping and Updating my Old Shop #1: Lumberjocks - will I fit in?

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Blog entry by Jim Bertelson posted 09-28-2009 12:46 AM 2232 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Revamping and Updating my Old Shop series Part 2: Situational Awareness - it's about Space and Time »

Well, thanks for the great welcome. Found this forum searching for solutions to some issues as I started upgrading the shop, and thought it would be a good source of information and camaraderie.

I checked out some of the threads, such as “You know you’re LumberJock if/when…”. That made me wonder…would I fit in. Am I … er, ah …. crazy enough, you know…obsessed?

Then realizing that yesterday I dumped a whole quart ($15) of Watco into the bottomless pit of MDF that is my new radial arm table, and then decided it will look much better if I edged it in oak…

and the day before yesterday… I went to buy a can of sanding sealer at Lowe’s, and of course had to wander through the power tool section. Guess what! The small (and cheap) Delta Shopmaster series planer and joiner were on clearance sale. And I mean cheaper than Amazon, even before the outrageous shipping charges for Alaska. Got to look at things differently up here. Bought the sealer, went home and read the reviews. (My next blog section will explain my rationale for sticking to the small stuff and the old stuff). It looked like they would be about right for my space, needs, and experience. So I trotted right back to Lowe’s, and they actually had sold out of the planer in the last hour. I had to pick that up at the other Lowe’s store in town. So I got my very first planer and joiner. Looked at the bill…

Why it came to less than $500 for the two of them. That would never do.

Those of you that are married know that justifying and maintaining a hobby like this one requires some careful planning and consistency. You have start it out right, and bite the bullet and make a big purchase and put up with the flak. But it better be big so that your spouse thinks that’s what tools cost. I hadn’t purchased any workworking tools in years, unless you count the new fence and digital read-out for the contractor’s saw last month, but that wasn’t a whole tool, just an add-on. So what’s a guy to do?

Well, my wife is into quilting (and knitting and spinning and weaving), but into quilting big time, and understands the concept that you have to buy a tool, and the attachments, and other tools that are essential to some facet of the hobby, so it always seems to be a group of stuff.

I think I understand quilting better than she understands woodwork, so I thought I could make a case for one more tool. I had a very old “toy” scroll saw (think I made kids toys with it, and my youngest is over 30, so not used in many years) that I wouldn’t even turn on any more because it vibrated me more than the workpiece. Well I lust after the DeWalt, but the price was totally out of line with my anticipated use. So I bought the Hitachi CW40, a reasonable compromise, especially for very occasional use, and but will need it…soon.

Now the bill is over $500 and looks better.

So the three new tools sit in their boxes…aren’t the boxes pretty? It is the one and only time in a tool’s life that it reaches perfection. It’s all down hill from here. I have let new computers sit for nearly a week before opening them. Into computers for over 30 years…it takes me about 100 hours, not an exageration, to set a new one up. I have a lot of stuff in my computers. And it will take a lot of time to set up, install, and learn about those new tools. A lot of expletives about the instructions, about their short-comings and quirks. Building stands, finding room, building jigs, trying them out…....isn’t that part of the fun?

I suspect that I will fit right in. Whatcha think?

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

13 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3818 days

#1 posted 09-28-2009 01:36 AM

Jim, it sounds as if you do belong here!!! Getting a new tool in the shop is always an exciting event that really boosts the adrenaline level. But getting 3 at once only confirms that you are a true LJ.

Welcome aboard. Have fun and enjoy. :)

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3573 days

#2 posted 09-28-2009 01:40 AM

Hey Jim Welcome to LJs and the Jim club LOL sounds like some great updates for you shop.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3266 days

#3 posted 09-28-2009 02:01 AM

Sounds like you have found your niche….this is indeed the place for us tool obsessive wood addicts….but in all seriousness…this is one of the best sources for information and inspiration I have found on the internet….great folks and the proliference of experience and talent here add up to some very helpful tips and wonderful sources of techniques…Welcome from another fairly new to the LJ’s…..

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View thiel's profile


387 posts in 3288 days

#4 posted 09-28-2009 02:17 AM

LOL re “careful planning and consistency”... I know what you mean.

Every time I go to Home Depot, my wife expects a bill for about $200. Occasionally I only need to buy a board and a hinge and bucket of paint… at which point I think: “What tool could I buy which would bring me up to the expected balance?”

-- Laziness minus Apathy equals Efficiency

View Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3592 days

#5 posted 09-28-2009 02:17 AM

yeah you fit right in. Last month or so I was in the mood to join the air tool ranks(the fact that I needed one for my current project didn’t hurt any either), so I went looking around and found a 3 gal air compressor with a 2.5 inch brad nailor for 99.00. So I called the Mrs. and asked her in a very sweet voice if I could buy it. It does help to justify a tool purchase.

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View mikethetermite's profile


596 posts in 3262 days

#6 posted 09-28-2009 02:19 AM

Hello Jim,
I am new here too. From day one, everyone has
treated me like an old friend, and never like an outsider. The very first day cabnetmaster said
“Be aware…this site can be very addictive” How right he is.

-- Mike The Termite ~~~~~ Working safely may get old, but so do those who practice it.

View NedB's profile


659 posts in 3562 days

#7 posted 09-28-2009 06:34 PM

Sounds like you have the correct procedure down. Enjoy the new toyls!

-- Ned - 2B1ASK1

View lumberdustjohn's profile


1263 posts in 3163 days

#8 posted 09-28-2009 06:58 PM

Welcome Jim,
Nice entry!

-- Safety first because someone needs you.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3330 days

#9 posted 09-28-2009 09:44 PM

Don’t worry about this site being obsessive Jim. Look at me, I can quit any time I want to. Welcome to LJ. I think one of our other members “Grizzman” lived in Alaska quite a while. Maybe you two could reminisce about freight prices to Alaska or whatever.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3581 days

#10 posted 09-28-2009 09:47 PM

Welcome Jim if I can ever help you just let me know the guys-gals here are great.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View johnnymo's profile


309 posts in 3202 days

#11 posted 09-28-2009 10:45 PM

Yep! You’ll definately fit in. Welcome to LJ’s. Would love to see what your shop looks like.

-- John in Arizona (but it's a dry heat!)

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3161 days

#12 posted 09-29-2009 01:43 AM

Definitely a sociable bunch here. Thanks again for the welcome. My #2 entry starts framing the questions I have, so there is something to bite into. Now have my radial arm saw totally in working form again….since the quart of Watco dried. Actually it never had a chance…even with sanding sealer…it was like something was in that MDF sucking it down the drain! Wouldn’t do that again…MDF has more pucker power than I have Watco….(don’t think that makes a good quote)..but it makes the point. Onward with the shop and the blog.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4157 days

#13 posted 09-29-2009 10:05 PM

haha you’re a natural!! Oak frame?
Strategies to get support from the spouse??
Yah… you fit right in!

Somewhere in this site is a list of strategies to get approval for new tools (or to get them in the house unnoticed. Very helpful! :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

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