2003 is winding down. Time, perhaps, to take a moment and reflect on the
woodworking year gone by - the good and the bad.
Good: I acquired a few nice, new tools, but, much more importantly, I have a
wonderful new shop to use them in : )
Bad: All that time spent building the shop left little time to use it :
( Oh well, I'll have more free time in 2004 : )
How about you? What kind of year did you have in 2003?
Good: I started woodworking! I got started in June, and boy am I hooked.
I can think of 14 things that I've made since then. I have most of them
photographed on my website below.
Bad: I spend all my time dreaming up new projects. I hardly get anything
Well, acceptable, I guess. Business was the best I've had in four years of
being self-employed, but then, my stress level was at it's highest. Kids
went all year without being sick and out of school. Bought new car for my
wife, new tractor for me, and started site work on a new house because we
want to add to the family.
As far as woodworking goes, I spent the first three months of 2003 puttering
around the shop and then managed to fill up all of the available space all
at once with remnants of another engineering business that went under, as I
bought out their equipment and files. I managed to squeak out most of a new
deck for the house before the shop got buried. It's still buried.
Next year promises to be a bit better for the woodworking - new shop planned
(960 square feet) with 10' ceilings and a loft for the 8 year old's drum
set. My Woodmizer sawmill is running smoothly and I have to find room for
several thousand board feet of lumber. I committed myself to building all
the kitchen cabinets, built-ins, trim and flooring for the new house, to
save money. I guess that's where all of the lumber will end up. I'll be
spending this weekend and the next several after that cutting timbers for
the house frame (32 x 44 raised post timberframe cape). I guess that
constitutes woodworking.... Plus, I'll finally have shop space so I can set
up my lathe (my favorite woodworking tool) and use all the chunks and burls
I've been squirreling away for the past three years.
- enjoying warm sunshine in southern VT
Hate to do this to you Jon, but I'm hoping for snow up there. Coming up the
weekend of the 16th for a romantic Vermont weeked, sleigh ride, (hence the
need for snow) fireplace, and all the clean Vermont air I can breathe.
Almost lived there a few years back, but couldn't find a decent job, sounds
like that's still an issue.
Very good, considering the bad stuff that happened.
My wife had major surgery in July after three trips to the emergency
room. Now we know we'll never have kids. I broke my shoulder
mountain biking in May, and missed the best part of the cycling
season, and all the major organized rides I usually do. The company I
work for is still in a downsizing mode, while I don't think I have all
that much to worry about, as the cuts go deeper I could get canned.
Why was it good? <G>
My wife has recovered and she's the best wife in the world. My
shoulder grew back, at least it wasn't my face. Several years ago, we
made a team decision to live debt free. All of our possessions,
including two newer cars and all of my tools are paid for, our
reasonable home is nearly paid for. If I get canned, the minimum
severance package my company pays would leave me mortgage free at 38,
with plenty of retirement and non-retirement savings. If I don't get
canned, I can still follow our plan and retire to something different
in another 3 years.
That's where the woodworking comes in. I've made several pieces
lately that sold for what I would have expected to pay someone for
them. I'm enjoying this as much as I did as a sound guy, but with the
advantage of sleeping in my own bedroom each night. Over the years,
I've realized that what makes me happy are pursuits that combine
technical problem solving and artistic "gut feel". If you're here on
the 'wreck, you probably understand.
Going forward, I'm trying to get as much experience as I can, via
formal training and informal work with locals, and scoop up all of the
written material that fits in my bucket, including the gems I find
I truly thank everyone here for all the help I've received. I'm off
into the woods to start making up for all the miles I missed last
Thanks for reading, and I wish everyone a Happy, Prosperous, Safe, and
Healthy New Year,
All in all..... a good year.
I was "volunteered" to make a few projects for the family which were both
challenging and fun. Sister-in-laws kitchen has new raised-panel cabinet
doors and drawers (40 total), made some 3" wide custom moldings for their
new bay window. Niece has a new double-glazed French door set, a matching
single door and window - all made out of maple to blend in with a home that
was built in 1805 (major renovation going on).
Country kitchen table (4'x7') for my sister's kitchen renovation project
but got put on hold. The top is made but still need to turn the legs (need
to borrow Tom Plamann's lathe...;-) and finish the frame for that project.
Also made a short stool with a fold down foot rest inspired by a Stickley
stool I saw at their store. This is for sitting on to take your shoes off
(no shoes allowed on you know who's carpets..) - still need to glue it up
and finish it.
Some new toys in the shop which were absolutely necessary to do the other
projects.... I think the wife saw right thru that line...
The personal pluses outweighed the minuses by a bunch, so I can't complain -
and if I did, who would listen...
Life is what you make it - enjoy it now.
Wishing you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year,
I realized I may not be a "traditional woodworker." That is, someone who
builds beautiful things that will be passed on from generation to
generation. I seem to derive great pleasure from building useful things,
using minimum effort and minimum investment of materials.
I have built a couple things SWMBO doesn't mind having in the living room
where strangers might see them, but most of what I do is slapping useful
stuff together quickly.
I thought what I was missing was more tools. <g> Surely if I had a
jointer, planer and bandsaw I could start building beautiful furniture and
cabinets. I was fortunate to find someone wanting to sell those items and
having room on a credit card I got 'em.
What I've found is that these tools help me do a faster / better job of
slapping stuff together. For example, SWMBO had an ironing board hanging in
the gar^H^H^Hshop. The BORG hanger was soon to fail so I selected a piece
of 2x6" scrap (of course <g>) and made a simple holder. When I tried to
hang the ironing board I discovered the 2x6" was a little too thick. Just a
few seconds later the bandsaw took a slice off. It did a great job of
resawing, but the purpose wasn't resawing -- it was just to make a big piece
of wood thinner. Without the bandsaw I might have fired up the belt sander
or -- horror of horrors <g> -- I may have pounded on it with a hammer to
make it a little thinner where it needed to be. ;-)
My router table lets me make monitor holders with good rabbets from scrap
pieces. When I'm not building something specific, maybe 50% or more of the
cuts my table saw makes haven't been measured at all! I use the TLAR method
a lot -- That Looks About Right. The inclined bookshelf on my desk was made
from two pieces of scrap and was 100% TLAR.
I guess I'm Og the caveman with electric rocks. <g>
I thought I had retired in 2001, Government job ended (cutbacks)
Didn't want to move to D.C. to keep going with a Govt. job so I took an
early retirement. Meant more time with my kids.
So then I started dabbling in Real Estate. Sort of like dabbling in power
tools, one just isn't enough.
So in 2003 I got real busy buying some, (14 this year) rehabbing most,
selling some, being a landlord, a developer, an accountant, and an amateur
2004 promises less.........much less, gotta get the boat finished, gotta wet
a lot of fishing line, take SWMBO and visit my Brother in Hawaii (he doesn't
know yet) And enjoy this house right here on the water!
I've been both a U.S. government employee and a contractor to the
government. (Some people I know call the contractors "Trough Feeders" --
references to pigs.)
IMO the "Privatization" didn't save much, if anything. What's the learning
curve for a flock of contractors who don't know squat when they get the
contract, and don't have the authority to do anything anyway?
I have to tell you, after being with the Gov't for a while I am truly amazed
that anything gets accomplished in this country. There are so many chiefs
and chief wannabe's protecting their little slice of the pie, and absolutely
will not allow anyone else to cross that line.
Sort of, I do my job, you do yours, and when we are done, then and only then
will we get together to make it work.
You're so right about contractors having no power. Especially the ones that
have the best ideas. "That's not how it's done, no matter how good it is."
or, "Submit your ideas and documentation, we'll take a look at it someday
On 12-29-03 I had my best suggestion killed by the contractors. (We are
sub-contractors.) There is no doubt in my mind my idea is in line with
legislation and the intent of the legislation, but it's simply not possible
to get it through the multitude of levels to get it to the point a
*government* employee would say, "Yeah, that's what we want."
Your tax dollars at work. :-(
I built a pile of jigs, tuned up my TS, and tamed it, sort of. I started
the year slapping stuff together out of whatever junk I could salvage. The
hobby came back to the forefront of my attention when my son came back from
Cub Scout camp with a cheap catapult kit. Some free plywood and a desire
to do it better eventually lead to the "Rock Chucker Mark IV" displayed on
my web site. I posted some discussion about it to my then-current haunt on
alt.os.linux.mandrake, and the links that followed eventually inspired me
to build my endtable-on-a-handtruck railroad track trebuchet.
From the trebuchet, some BRIO-style trains, and assorted odd items. At some
point I left AOLM and started hanging out here on the Wreck again, after
having been away for quite a long time. Eventually, a pineywood chess box.
After that, I finally used up several years' worth of accumulated free
wood, and I had to suck it up and spend some money for lumber.
That was a real turning point for me. Lumber meant surfacing, and surfacing
meant I had to have some way to do it. I bought a hand plane, then spent a
month figuring out how to sharpen and tune it. I discovered the sublime,
near-orgasmic joy of working with walnut. I cut my first dovetails, made
my first finger joints, got some decent chisels at last, and mastered their
care and use.
I spent the last quarter involved with two projects. One a walnut/pine
checker box with a fake one-piece kerfed pine board. The other, my /chef
d'?uvre/, a chess box made of glorious walnut, with maple for contrast.
I picked up a 15" drill press, a JET mini lathe, a Delta 16" VS scroll saw,
a #4, a #5, and several good books on subjects like joinery and box making.
Oh, last but not least, I used up my last can of poly, and adopted shellac
as my default finish. Hand surfaced walnut, never sanded, finished with
shellac. I are uh real wood wrecker now, Chief.
Medical bills out the wazoo. Three people sick three times at $100 a shot.
Not enough to touch the deductible, so the insurance paid dick.
Humidity problems, drainage problems, termite problems. My house needs
about $20-50,000 worth of work if I want it to last as long as I do. I
don't have it; can't get it. I'm going to have to just sit back and hope
nothing falls apart before I can afford to fix it right.
Got my son a compound bow and some arrows, made him a target, and he hasn't
even touched the thing yet. I figure this long after Christmas if he
hasn't asked about it yet, he doesn't care. I wouldn't have been able to
keep my hands off of it at his age, but I suppose I have underestimated the
compelling power of Pukeyman.
Discovering the joy of walnut will cost me a fortune. I quickly lost
interest in the game of making stuff out of free junk wood, and have
developed an appetite for serious hardwood lumber. It's expensive, and I'm
all conflicted about it too, because I love trees so much, and hate to kill
and cut up the poor little trees to make stupid things that I don't
actually need to survive. Couple that with getting a lathe, falling prey
to turning addiction, and realizing that I'm going to need some serious
dead trees in whole form, and will have to butcher the babies myself. Add
to that the discovery that I *enjoy* butchering trees. It's sort of like
waking up one day and realizing that you're gay. So much for all my
rhetoric about only using recycled wood, and never anything that was killed
just for me. Not unless they start making pallets out of FAS grade walnut
and packing the trucks with 5" square walnut dunnage anyway. :)
Anyway, all in all a good year. I even got laid some.
(No, I'm not gay.)
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < email@example.com>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
it had its ups and downs, but overall, my wife is now cancer free, my
house is still in my name, my truck still runs, my dog didn't die this
year, and i still have most of my hair and sanity
sheesh,,, is this the start of an "anti-country" song?
peace to all in 04
Great news about your Wife, or anybodies significant other in those
Good health to all, may you be happy with who you are, comfortable where you
are, and celebrate with those you care for.
Bring our troops home as soon as possible!!
"Traves W. Coppock" <newsgroups-AT-farmvalleywoodworks-DOT-com> wrote in
Left a good job with an excellent company (voluntary downsizing) to
follow SWMBO's and my dream to migrate to Boise, ID. (her family is
all here, mine's scattered). Lived with the inlaws for about 4
months. (EVERYone should do that at least once =^S ) Experienced
being unemployed. Worked as a consultant/contractor for 3 different
companies. About to start a F/T job with a 4th. Had a new baby.
(well, SWMBO did, not me) Sold a house. Bought a house. New house
has a dedicated 10x16" shop attached to the back of the garage.
Found an old (12" ? 14" ?) craftsman benchtop scrollsaw at a garage
sale for $5.
Found about...oh...15 or so BF of red oak tounge-in-groove flooring at
a garage sale for $5.
Bought a HF DC and added .03 micron bags.
Bought a magnetic base + dial caliper to tune the TS. Discovered the
joy of a tuned saw.
What? Whaddaya mean did I _build_ anything?!! =^) I'm hoping to get
to that in 2004. (when the shop starts to look like something other
than a tool catchall) Ok, that's not entirely true:
Made a 3 shelf "cleat-system" shelf unit for the shop. (resultant MFD
dust was the impetuous for the DC)
Built some corner shelves in the rec room/playroom for the kids' TV.
(keeps the pb&j out of the DVD and VCR)
Overall, after a year of chaos life is settling down. All 5 of us are
healthy. Everyone is sane. God is good.
"if it dosen't kill you it makes you stronger"
Cool. Vintage WHAT from '57? (An 8"er is almostacarrier.)
I ordered that Shop Fox mortiser at 10am Monday morning
and it arrived this morning, almost precisely 48 hours later.
It's quieter than I imagined and the speed differential over
hand-cut mortises (especially MINE) is amazing. Guess what
I'll be doing next year? (That's 16 hours from now.)
Please return Stewardess to her original upright position.
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