I decided to start writing a blog about woodworking. It has become quite a passion for me and is the thing that consumes almost all of my free time. I don’t have any friends locally who share this hobby, and so I thought a blog might be a good way to share some of my projects and what I learn along the way with others.
I have a strong interest in hand tool woodworking and love the old tools themselves. That said, dimensioning rough lumber by hand just doesn’t sound like fun to me. I have a table saw, a jointer, and a planer that I won’t be giving up anytime soon. Even though I plan on keeping (and using) those machines, I would like to focus my efforts and learning on hand tool joinery. I hope that documenting these efforts here will make it more enjoyable and hopefully provide some feedback and advice.
So Where Do I Stand Today?
For the past year I have been slowly acquiring what is becoming a fairly comprehensive set of tools. I have been to garage sales, flea markets, and spent a lot of time on eBay. My goal has been to buy only tools that I intend to put to use. I don’t want a collection just to look at and gather dust. Considering that the tools I buy are intended for use and not a collector, I am not shy about restoring them. I have reconditioned about a dozen Stanley planes so far and each of them has been stripped back to the casting and bare wood and completely re-finished. I intend to add some posts here in the future showing the methods I use to re-finish the planes.
I am currently working on re-finishing six backsaws that I bought on eBay UK and picked up when I went there to visit family this summer. I will definitely be posting about the methods and procedures I have used on this project. This past weekend, I purchased the Veritas file holder and file set, while on a trip to Vancouver. I am going to try my hand at saw sharpening. More to come on that later.
For a while now, it seems that all I consume, in various forms of media, is woodworking. I read woodworking books, I never listen to the radio any more, it’s usually podcasts like Wood Talk Online, and my iPad… don’t even let me get started there. I watch the Woodright’s Shop on the PBS app, and subscribe to various video podcasts like “The Wood Whisperer”, “The Renaissance Woodworker”, and “Matt’s Basement Workshop” in addition to woodworking DVDs that I have imported into iTunes. I also read both of Chis Schwarz’ blogs, the one at Popular Woodworking, and my favorite blog at Lost Art Press. Recently, I discovered unpluggedshop.com which aggregates a whole bunch of blogs loosely centered around hand tool woodworking so I have spent a lot of time reading these of late.
So where does this leave me? I feel that I am gathering a huge amount of woodworking knowledge, but not a lot of experience. I think that I might need to cut back a little on my media consumption and get to building. Also, I’m starting to feel more like an antique tool collector and restorer than a woodworker. That was never my intention. I think that I am going to finish the restoration of the tools that I have bought so far and not get any others for a while. I really want to get on with my next woodworking project.
Where Am I Going?
Well, as they say, the sky’s the limit. My problem for now, is a lack of focus in any one area and a desire to do it all. Just about anything woodworking related interests me. I want to try turning (I don’t have a lathe), marquetry, veneering, sawing lumber from logs (I don’t have a mill or a place to store the lumber), carving, finishing of all kinds (varnishes, oils, shellac, French polishing, etc. etc.), you name it. I think what I will have to do is pick projects that interest me and see where they take me.
What I plan on doing next is building a work bench. I have had the lumber drying for the past year and it is ready to build. I have a few tool restoration projects that I need to finish up first, but the bench will be my next major project. I’ll post more details on that in the near future.
So… here we go!