The Slowest Farm Shop #1: The rules of the day

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Blog entry by Will Mego posted 02-11-2009 07:48 PM 1144 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of The Slowest Farm Shop series Part 2: Little Pieces (scary sharp) »

So I’m calling this the slowest shop, because thanks to the “econemy” (misspelled deliberately because it’s more enemy than economy) and other life issues, just as many/most of us on here are, I’m unable to do most of the things I’d really like to do. In an earlier blog I listed all the jigs, fixtures and such I wanted to assemble, along with reforming a tiny shop in my garage…well, family tussle over how that should happen, lack of funds, work trouble…you know how it goes.

But I (as always) refuse to surrender to the obvious.
I decline to fail.
In fencing, there’s a technique called a bind, where the opponent seizes your blade, and violently spins it around against you, spiraling into your flank with a point attack. The only defensive technique for it is called a “ceding parry”, where you ALLOW them to take you half way, then you bend, and the leverage changes and the spiral stops. You stop the attack by yielding some, but not all. Bend, don’t break.

I have managed over this past summer to get ahold of a porter-cable 890 series router, with fixed and plunge bases, a couple of bits, and a dewalt impact driver I needed for a roof job. Also:
Stanley #5 and #7 planes from a deceased friend
A set of cheap marple chisels to abuse while I improve my technique and learn sharpening properly.
a couple of small saws (tenon, dovetail, flush)
Stanley #78 rabbit/pullnose plane from ebay
A set of old socket chisels, for which I’ll make handles from an assortment of lovely hardwoods I’ve scrounged.
A starret combo square.
Other assorted tools I’m not able to think of at the moment…
So I haven’t done TOO badly, considering how my income has dropped by so much this past year.

So why “farm” in the title? Because I’m working towards my life goal (at least in terms of house and shop) of owning a farm in the countryside of Illinois, on which I’ll have a large shop, all of which I’ll build myself.

So why slowest? Because it’s clearly going to take about a million little tiny steps to get there, ranging from picking up some small tool or technique here or there, to just learning something useful about traditional land management, and traditional regional farming. So I know that if you read this far, you either share my interests, know me and are really bored, or just have too much time on your hands. Unless you’re really interested in some varied topics like how I ordered a piece of glass today, or learning about how I plan on planting a row of osage orange trees using a traditional method, or about how I plan on growing some “bloody butcher” corn, and WHY that breed, you might want to consider not reading this blog series again. And if you share my interests, then please comment, complain, or otherwise engage! All comments are more than welcome, and I enjoy talking about things.

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

5 comments so far

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3692 days

#1 posted 02-11-2009 08:58 PM

This blog really intrigues me. It sounds like we may share some interests. I may not always post, but I’ll be reading. Of particular interest is the planting you are planning. What would osage orange be for? Are the ornamental, agricultural, or something you plan to harvest someday? Thanks for posting!

View Will Mego's profile

Will Mego

307 posts in 3677 days

#2 posted 02-11-2009 09:04 PM

Well, it’s a really long story, call it something between historical and ornamental, with some harvest to boot. It’s a lovely wood, and the story of the seeds for mine is interesting, I’m planning a full blog post just about the trees, the ones I’m growing (if they grow! cross fingers), and such, hopefully in a week or less, depending on weather.

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3251 days

#3 posted 07-07-2009 12:03 AM

Will, I just ran across this, and want to encourage you to keep it up. This economy has affected all of us to some degree, myself included. Being in the woodworking business for years has allowed me to collect a lot of nice tools. It has always been my hobby, as well as my career. That said, this past year has been very tough financially for us, but I really believe this is a great time to grow in a lot of ways. I think I have appreciated what I have now much more than before. You’re on the right track making do with what you have. Lately I have found great joy in building jigs for the shop, instead of buying them. I also look for ways to use scraps that I never worried about before. (If you’ve seen my work, you know I’m very lucky to have the kind of scraps that I do.) But that’s not relevant, using what YOU have is.
Don’t give up—-ever. You’ll get there, one step at a time.


View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 3406 days

#4 posted 07-07-2009 12:19 AM

I fully understand where your coming from Will. I,m going thru a similiar experience here. I too refuse to surrender. One tiny step at a time.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View a1Jim's profile


117062 posts in 3541 days

#5 posted 07-07-2009 01:46 AM

Hey Will
More power to you many want to give up if the don’t own the new Yankee workshop the first day the start
but like Kent I have a couple of tools but it’s taken years of trading up from having the ? that just works to the ? I really want. Just keep on keeping on and those million steps will be behind you before you know it.
You have the drive and the passion that’s a great place to start. There’s always some hurtle to leap but the prize will be yours if you want it bad enough.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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