Woodworking Project Update


bench-dreams

Not my bench but I hope it will be someday soon…

Well, It’s been a busy few months so I haven’t had much time to post updates but I have some new, interesting things in the works that I wanted to share with you.

It’s been a full year since I built my first Corn Hole set. In that time, I have learned so much about basic wood working. I have had several challenges to overcome and with them some heartbreak, lots of practice of my colorful vernacular, and some surprising wins! I have built just over 60 sets which works out to:

  • over 18 sheets of plywood quartered
  • 120+ 6″ holes cut
  • 240+ rails, stiles and legs cut
  • 1680+ brad nails
  • 240+ Carriage bolts, washers, and wing-nuts
  • 4, 1/4″ rounder-over router bits
  • 3 leg hole jigs
  • 2 hole saws* 3 drills
  • 2 RO Sanders
  • 1 Belt sander
  • An obscene about of sanding disks (80, 150, 220 grit)

Since Corn Hole sets are a very basic carcass to build, I was able to experiment with different tools and techniques to improve the quality of the product and to reduce the amount of effort to build each set. I discovered that when you compromise quality for speed, you end up paying for sooner or later.

My shop motto: Slow is fast. Fast is slow, and painful, and costly, and dangerous! I learned this when I was rushing to get the roundover on a couple sets before the rain came in. I got halfway around the the first deck when the router bit shot off at 100 MPH to embed itself in a bookcase. In my hurry, I failed to tighten the bit and rather quickly, the bit went to be with Jesus. I think about that and I could have easily joined it on that trip to the heavens or, more likely, been seriously injured.

Being self-taught, I have had a couple other minor incidents but only one requiring a trip the the clinic and that was only to make sure I was up-to-date on my tetanus shot (I just said tet-anus). But I like to think that instead of just being slow, that I am being deliberate and thoughtful. Taking this approach, I have not had any more accidents and my mistakes have diminished to level that I can blame those on the wood or the tool. 😉

Also, because of some personal events, I am not able to get into my shop until after my boys are asleep. This has vexed me considerably until I simply adopted a more focused, hand tool woodworking approach. More out of necessity, I have come to find a simple joy in working with wood and hand tools.

NOTE: Since my drill, impact driver, brad nailer, and circ saw don’t have a cord, they are considered hand tools 😉

This change has really fired up my passion for woodworking to another level. I not getting into the holy war of power vs. hand tool woodworkers. I don’t care about all that. I have a Dewalt planer and a thumb-stealing table saw, a router, etc. Power tools are cool. I use them when I have to get stuff done. However, when I need my therapy, I can either drink a bottle of rum or wander out into my shop and do some woodworking by hand. Both satisfy my need to forget the world for a time, but the benefits from woodworking outlast the rum.

With my new-found enthusiasm for wood working, I have lined up a whole host of new projects: Here are just some of them:

  • Build an updated work bench (more Roubo-styled —  see image above)
  • Build a Sawyer’s bench (Sawing by hand is a bitch without a way to hold your work) –  inspired by Tom Fidgen
  • Updated Twin Screw Vise (More for joinery but this project is my white whale)
  • Make and use a Frame Saw – Resawing by hand just facinates me
  • Make and use a Bow Saw – i have seen some amazing things with these smaller saws and I want to see what I can make and make happen with them
  • Hand Planes Extraviganza! – I recently bought Scott Meaks’ DVD on making a hand plane. It’s every bit as good as attending a class and I will dive into many of the details as I plunge into these builds. Also, I’m looking into making router planes, shoulder planes, Scratch Stocks, Rabbet Planes, Kerfing Planes, Air Planes, whatever it takes to scratch the itch
  • Making Back Saws – As with many aspects of woodworking, making, sharpening, tuning and storing back saws is its own rabbit hole. I really want to explore more of this…

As you can see, building tools and appliances is really my wheelhouse since this is pretty much what I have done for the past 20 years, only with software. The tactile interaction with wood is so therapeutic for me and I appreciate every moment that I have in the shop.

Before I go, I just wanted to acknowledge a couple of people that have helped keep me motivated and inspired:

  • Shannon Rogers
  • Christopher Schwarz
  • Tom Fidgen
  • Scott Meeks
  • Marc Spagnuolo

and last by certainly not least…

  • Roy Underhill

(There are so many others and I will thank them when I get to projects especially inspired by them) 

Thank you gentlemen for providing your knowledge, insight, and perspective to this endeavor.
For those looking for more BeagleBone Black post, I hope to be working on some robotic/electronic/music -related projects with my oldest son, and anything related in that realm, I will certainly post ASAP.