Spring Cleaning.

Spring cleaning might be my second favorite cleaning activity.  My first favorite cleaning activity is putting off spring cleaning until tomorrow, repeatedly.  I probably could have continued to put off cleaning out my shop if it weren't for the fact that I have to share my space.  I currently share my shop space with items that don't work wood or metal very well, like bicycles and gardening tools.  These items, while enjoyed by my wife and child, often seem to me to be eating up valuable tool storage space (or space I could use for walking).  I have had plans in my mind for a shed for quite some time, and recently got up the nerve to spend some time on one.  The intent is to stop filling my lawnmower air filter with sawdust and to stop falling over bicycles and the string trimmer.   

Fortunately, buried under a bunch of stuff, I have enough tools to build such a shed.  I got the shed mostly dried in and started fitting the doors this weekend.  I kept the doors simple, 2x4 construction sheathed with plywood.  Fortunately, handplanes work for truing up crappy big-box store 2x4s as well as they work on seasoned figured cherry.  

Now that I have a lockable storage space, I have started cleaning out the "non-essentials" from my work space, including some of my unintended lumber collection (leftovers and projects-to-be).  Once I have cleaned and organized the shop a little (more to do over the next few weekends) I intend to start the construction of my long procrastinated awaited Roubo-styled bench.  It is amazing how much junk gets stuffed away during the winter months only to resurface in the spring.  This includes some scraps which will soon become saw totes (posts to come soon!) for a Disston recreation.  

Even the neighborhood cats have started storing stuff in my shop.


It's Better To Burn Out Than To Rust.

Every year in late spring, I start preparing for my underwater workshop.  Humidity in Maryland in the summer is ridiculous, some days it feels like I am swimming in the shop.  Unfortunately, with humid weather comes another summer pest.... rust.  I have found some great techniques and products over the years to help me combat the ravages of rust, I wrote a quick post a while ago about some plane "socks" that have proven to work excellently at preventing rust.  Hopefully, I'll be adding some humidity control into the workshop this year so that should help tremendously.  Keeping rust at bay is one thing, but once it has sunken its hungry teeth into a tool, removing it can be an adventure all its own.

Rusty Antique Vise Grips


A Disordered Body.

Other People's Videos

A weekend illness, enough cold medicine to kill a horse, and the fact that I turn into a teething two year old when I'm sick is the reason I am leaving you with another O.P.V. post so soon after the last one.  I wrote what I thought was a great post on rust removal this Monday, but when I reread it this morning, I realized that I might have been too high on cold medicine to write anything other than my name (and even that was iffy).  The obligatory spring rust removal entry will be forthcoming, however, in the mean time I will leave you with something that actually makes sense.

Basic Blacksmithing skills are an obvious choice to learn for the woodworker interested in making hand tools.  Throughout this year I'll be experimenting with some very small scale smithing techniques (both my skillset and shop space are very limited), and of course, I'll be posting the lessons learned and the results here.

This short video is a brief interview with Brittain's longest serving blacksmith, Mr. Hardy Fred Harriss, it is both inspirational and moving although it is only 1 minute and 43 seconds long.  Something about these videos featuring people in their golden years still adeptly working with their hands is comforting.  Mr. David Hedges did a wonderful job creating this video.

The second video is a bit longer and is more of an instructional video produced by Artisan Media (an excellent producer of well funded instructional videos).  The "Blacksmith At Work" video gives some interesting insight into a few blacksmith basics and shows how to make a rams head on the end of a tool.  Not extremely useful, but extremely cool.

Enjoy...I'm going back to fighting this fever...

In case you were wondering, the title came from this quote (sometimes I get these questions):
"In a disordered mind, as in a disordered body, soundness of health is impossible"
                                                                                        -Marcus Tillius Cicero


Measure Twice...

The saying "Measure twice, cut once" used to drive me crazy.  I hated when my father would say it, especially when it was because I had made some seemingly inconsequential mistake.  It seemed so unnecessary to measure more than once, especially because I had already bought into the modern teachings of "It's close enough for government work," or, "I can't see it from my house."

I Love This Print From http://jeffpeachey.wordpress.com/2010/07/19/measure-twice-cut-once/
My father's voice, however, kept ringing in my ears the first time I made something for someone else.  It seemed no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get the measurements accurate enough to close up the sloppy joints in a wall cabinet I was making for my mother.  I was mowing lawns and landscaping in the summer to make money while I was in high school, and spending ten or fifteen dollars on replacement lumber was a major dilemma.  As I look back on this little project now I can easily think of ten things I was doing wrong, including sloppy techniques (this was before I had discovered the miracle of sharp tools).  One of the biggest contributors to my inability to fit joints correctly was that I was in fact measuring too much.