Stepping Stones

This morning, as I wait for LOML (Love Of My Life) to finish her design consultation, I am ensconced in a warm and comfortable coffee shop of world renown.

Hot Pike Place coffee next to me, and ailing tablet warmed up finally, I have elected to ponder over what my next steps will be vis-à-vis the new shop and current/future projects.

As it stands, my little garage…or…”little shop of horrors” , is still without power. Additionally, it is also about 3/4’s of the way cleaned out. That last 1/4 is the most important as it is in an area of the shop that will be home to the aircraft carrier I call a work bench.

Key tools sit quietly, waiting for their promised makeovers. The saw needs bearings, a dedicated dust collector/vacuum, power, and to be fully assembled. The Inca jointer planer just needs to get power fed to it, and another dedicated dust collector.

I really need to clean the whole place out and reconfigure the whole shebang. There are a couple of Gorilla Racks that either need to be relocated in the shop, or moved to the basement of the house. They are nice to have, but take up a great deal of space as well. There is a makeshift “workbench” (8-0 door on saw horses) that needs to be broken down and either repurposed, or disposed of. Also, there is a pile of detritus in the very back of the garage, left over from the previous owners, that needs to be sorted and dealt with. This is where the “real” work bench is going to reside.

At some point, when the weather consists more of Colorado sunshine rather than the endless Seattle rain we have been enjoying this spring, I plan to move EVERYTHING out of the shop, and do a real, thorough deep clean. Then I can assess where things will go.

This kind of needs to happen soon. The workbench is making slow, but steady progress. The top is sitting and resting after being laminated and flattened. So far, there have been no appearances of any checking or of the glue joints letting go at all. There IS a slight “cupping” beginning, but I will more than likely re-flatten the top again before final assembly. I attribute this wood movement to a combination of the nature of Douglas Fir and the recent humidity being fairly high.

The trestle pieces have been rough cut to size, tenons cut, and mortises roughed out. I am hopeful that I can have the two leg assemblies put together soon. Then the only things left, will be deciding on either using 4×4’s as the trestle stretchers, or go out and buy a couple of 2×6’s, and building the tool well.  I plan to laminate several 2×4’s edge to edge to give me the needed material for building the box. Once the box is built, it just needs to be bolted to the back of the bench top.

After all that, I will bring it home, and begin finishing it. Watco and wax will be the order of the day. I am planing to need quite a lot of Watco though. The bench top material was VERY dry when I bought it, so there is no doubt in my mind that it will be quite thirsty.

I have rather enjoyed piecing this shop together. From the thrill of the hunt for major machines, to figuring out what efficiencies will best serve my needs. I have given/am giving … much thought to every detail. I feel that I am on track to building a much improved, if much smaller, wood working shop than my first one was. Maturity and experience have proven to be great assets despite my ongoing addiction to tooling.

Lastly, I am spending a good deal of time seeking inspiration for upcoming projects through the shop. I used to have a very definite predisposition to Shaker and Arts and Crafts style furniture. While I still love both of these styles very much, I am itching to explore other design directions. More on this later.

There you have it. I am sure you will sleep much more soundly having read the above rambling. I guess I should just admit that I sometimes need to type out what the “PLAN” is in order to draw it out in my head. This blog has been a great way for me to flesh out various ideas even if the reader doesn’t realize it…

Let’s all keep our fingers crossed for good weather. If I can remember to do it, I will shoot a couple of “before” pictures to show the shop space and what I am starting out with….call that a “note to self”.

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