Worksharp...That Is All.

I have managed to blow the dust off my camera and get my butt in gear just enough to start making videos for the PHW Blog again.  There will be some slow but steady improvements to the video set in the coming months (lucky for me) to include a way to heat and cool the space which will make it much easier to shoot more videos in a shorter amount of time.  Currently, it is hot enough to melt lead in the workshop and as such, sitting in front of large lights for an extended period of time while I film gets unbearably hot (read: sweaty and smelly).  Once things cool off a little it will also be possible to start some additional larger projects in the shop to include the promised joinery bench (months ago) and the Roubo monster.

This video is a combination overview and review of the Worksharp 3000.  Upon first borrowing this gadget from my father in law (he didn't mind the extended borrow time...I promise!) I wasn't sure I was really sold on its operation.  I filmed an initial overview which wasn't very favorable.  I held off on posting the video long enough to try some accessories and get some practice with the Worksharp.  Once I was able to get a rhythm down, and figure out its idiosyncrasies, I found out just how versatile and useful this tool can be.  This little guy is basically electronic sandpaper sharpening.  It does have some drawbacks which I cover in the video, but all around this tool excels at sharpening and honing chisels and plane irons in a fraction of the time many other tools take.  I hope the video is informative and useful for anyone who owns a Worksharp 3000 or is considering a purchase.   Enjoy, and thanks for watching!

Set the video to HD!


Time Machine

I recently had the pleasure of looking through about 2000 old family photos.  The photos were from my father's side of the family, members of which were historically farmers.  A surprising number of the photos were from the late 1800s and very early 1900s.  Because there were so many photos, I was able to quite literally watch some people grow up and have families (including my father).  Within these time machine-esque photo albums I was also able to watch certain home grown projects take place like a rather extensive homestead addition and the construction of a garage and barn.  I was also pleasantly surprised to find that they had photographed some of the local industry, to include the photos below of some of my family members at work hauling and milling lumber for various projects. 

A Great Uncle Handling Horses For Some Loggers
Check Out Those Wheels!!
This reminded me that taking photos of a project during its construction can sometimes be an invaluable tool.  I have started taking more photos of my projects than I used to mainly due to the creation of this blog, however, those photos have come in handy for other reasons on several occasions.  I was recently working on some Greene and Greene style finger joints for a newel post in my home and in being able to look through some photos of a similar project I did last year I was able to recreate and tweak the process of constructing them in order to get the joint completed in a timely manner.  On another occasion, some photos I took of our house before I put up drywall helped me make sense of some odd readings from a stud-finder (obvious stud joke intended).

Unfinished Jatoba Test Fit
Test Fitting A Newel Post Base

A Nod To Greene and Greene
Finger Joints
Yet another reason I have started taking so many photographs, is that they are now free to develop!  With the use of my handy dandy digital camera (no film!?!), I can take thousands of photos and store them on a hard drive to be retrieved any time I deem necessary.  I can even bore my family to tears with digital slideshows of my projects right on my television!  One last benefit to taking lots of photos is that some day in the future people can look at through this little digital hard drive time machine (assuming that we still use similar digital formats) and say, "HA! Look at that idiot, I'd never cut a joint THAT way!"

Milling Lumber 1952 - Mr. Schwarz Eat Your Heart Out,
That Is A 6" Slab Of Fir!


No Escape

Other People's Videos

Eleanor Roosevelt said, "The purpose of life is to live it, to taste the experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience."  She was a wise woman indeed.

We will all pass on one day, and I feel it is good to remember that eventuality.  It is good to remember our mortality, not because it is a terrifying fact, but because it can cause us to do something meaningful.  Keeping in mind that we are all born to die helps me to focus on the bigger picture and to put life's little moments, good and bad, into perspective.  We weren't all meant to paint the Sistine Chapel, sculpt David, theorize about relativity, or solve world hunger but we all leave something behind.  

In my mind, it makes sense to try to leave something lasting and useful.  I think about this every time I make something, "this will likely outlive me, so how do I want to be remembered?"  Frequently, I know about half way through a project that I am in fact creating a failure, however, sometimes it surprises me and turns into a success.  The successes are what I strive for, and with enough practice in a new task I find I can achieve them more frequently.  In fact, the morbid truth of fleeting life has always nudged me to venture into the necessity of the unknown.  To a fault (ask my wife) I have a primal urge to constantly try something new.  I even get regularly bored with the way my furniture is arranged (yet another perturbation of my wife).  This is why I love making things, especially tools, with my hands.  There is constantly something new, some new material or set of skills to be learned when making tools.  They combine metal and wood (and occasionally many more materials) and a variety of skills in a neatly orchestrated and often elegant package.  

When I came across the video below I couldn't help but think how perfectly it aligns with my beliefs about tools.  From the potential of helping the economy with job creation and stabilization, to just simple self satisfaction Liberty Tool has got it right.  The shop owners and employees of this institution will be leaving a legacy much further reaching than I'm sure they can even imagine.  On another note, Etsy has produced a lot of similarly themed, excellently filmed and edited videos.  Their "Handmade Portraits" videos are all worth checking out.  Enjoy the video.