I'm getting better


I'm relatively new to woodworking, less than 10 years dorking, but am starting to see improvements in my skills. Some of the indications that I am getting better:
1. Actually completing projects instead of lying to myself that I will get to it later when I get stuck.
2. Doing less measuring and doing more fitting and marking of pieces for cutting.
3. 'Leaving the line' and then tuning with chisels, files (sorry rasp) or sandpaper.
4. Have more than just satin WB polyurethane in the cabinet.
5. Used a hand plane to scribe a piece instead of a belt sander (twice).
6. Am starting to become torn between spending $ on better wood instead of better tools. Used to be, "It will look great in pine if I just had a 3hp, hydraulic driven, left handed router...", and I'm right handed.
7. Bought a quart of Titebond and poured it into two smaller empty bottles.
8. DC has now made the list of "tools I *need*"
9. Shop (garage) gets swept and blown out more than twice a year.
10. I might pull out paper before the saw for my next project.
Some areas I still need to work on:
1. Getting that darn pencil to stay behind my ear. This frustrates me because I think I am not genetically disposed to dorking because the pencil won't stay there.
2. Using something other than a stanley 99 to sharpen my pencils.
3. Sharpening more than one chisel at a time.
4. Building a real workbench. The old dresser is tough to clamp things to but the drawers are great for storage.
5. Learning more about staining and finishing.
6. Sweeping and blowing out the shop more than once a month.
7. Using chalk to mark pieces like David Marks does. This doesn't work for me because the pieces get 'moved out of the way' so many times, by the time I'm ready for the piece the chalk is rubbed off.
8. Visiting the eye doctor to see if my 'close one eye' method is really improving my vision.
9. Completing at least 50% of one project before starting on the next one. This of course excludes sanding & finishing time.
10. Spending more time in the shop and less time reading magazines and watching Norm, David, and Tommy.
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"RayV"

These are the best ones -
Dave
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great post - you could be describing me except the workbench used to be a dining room buffet.
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net says...
[funnies snipped]

You must be a young, or extremely lucky person. Behind my ear is where the reading glasses hang on - no room for pencils. Not to mention the fact that I am wearing earmuffs a lot of the time. Really learn to live with it - even if you learn to manage now, in a few years you'll have to re-learn anyway ;-)
Pencil #1 lives in a magnetic paperclip on top of the radial arm saw, 0.5mm Rotring pencil #2 in the pencil pocket of my overalls, but for exact marking I use a scalpel anyhow.
-P.
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I'm about ready for glasses, but still too young for overalls. I may get an apron for in the shop. How the hell does Norm work with his carpenter's tool belt on anyway?
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That was my solution. No reading glasses for me yet, but I try to make a habit of wearing safety glasses all the time in the shop, and often hearing and breathing protection as well. I got an apron from Duluth Trading for Christmas, and I like it a lot - keeps most of the shavings and some of the dust off my clothes, and keeps a pencil or 2 handy at all times. I'm still working on getting in the habit of RETURNING the pencil to the nice little pencil pocket, but it's getting better. I don't load up the pockets too much, but it's also nice to have my little 4" square, a small tape measure, and a utility knife always handy. Thanks for the post - lots of it sounds familiar to me too. I'm definitely starting to enjoy hand planes (thanks Steve Knight!), but now I need to work on sharpening a card scraper. Andy
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Keep ONE, above floor level, horizontal surface clean and clear unless you're actually working on it - right now.
Refine the criteria for "I can do something with this at some point." in order to significantly reduce the precarious stacks of small cut offs, scraps of baltic birch plywood, boxes of little useless pieces of To Good To Throw Away Or Burn special wood.
Stop moving the same stuff around the shop - all day long - and either find or make a home for it - or - get rid of it.
Stop leaning things against the wall, cabinets, benches, machines. Build shelves for them or stash them behind something. Better yet - make a run to the dump.
Make and put up a sign that says "I can buy more wood - but more space is EXPENSIVE!"
Empty the dust collector BEFORE you start noticing that it isn't working very well or not working at all.
Clean you saw blades - and while your at it - the router bits whose manufacturers colors can no longer be seen.
If you've have to shift your planer or joiner blades two or more times to offset the nicks in the knives - it's time to install the "good ones" (and order another set of new good ones).
If you spend more than an hour a month makings stickers for drying a pile of green wood - stop acquiring more green boards - you have enough already.
charlie b
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www.homesteadfinishing.com and his latest book are great tools!

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Followup:
I had a $50 gift certificate for the Borg (actually the blue one not the orange one), and stopped by today. Left out of there with a bagful of stuff, none of which plugged in or went into something that plugged in.
partial list: Stanley block plane - first one I bought the one was a freebie Cloth 'tool' pouch - I guess I'll keep the pencil in there scribe/compass - the school type doesn't stay in position mini wonder bar - that 14" prybar in my bucket doesn't have much finesse cheap 90 deg clamp - Resisting the temptation to build another jig
I also spent a good bit of time looking at chisels and rasps. Not as much time as I spent looking at 'tailed' tools but hey, its a start.
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I'm getting better too. The doctors say if the pills keep the voices away they will let me out in public sometime. 8>}

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Do you have the big Lee Valley Woodworking catalog yet? If you want to have fun looking at "real" rasps, chisels, and planes, that's a great place to start. You'll want a gift card bigger than $50, though! Andy
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For a plane, I'd start with their block plane (http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&pG881&cat=1,41182,48942). I nice tool, and will only cost you two of those $50 certificates.
To get started with files and rasps, I'd suggest a four-in-hand (http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&p 137&cat=1,42524). It'll cost you about the same as a couple of slices of pizza and a beer. It is absolutely not a sexy tool, but it's very handy.
I notice Lee Valley doesn't have the Marples blue handle chissels any more. Are those no longer made? I know people look down their nose at them compared to the fancy Two Cherries or whatever, but they are (were?) quite reasonably priced and perfectly good tools. Actually, one of my favorite chisels is a Stanley butt chisel I bought about 30 years ago.
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On 5/2/2006 7:30 PM larry mumbled something about the following:

I've found that by talking to the voices in my head convinced the doctors to let me out early :)
--
Odinn
RCOS #7 SENS BS ???
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