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Thread: Hmmm...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Baltimore, Mary land


    Ok, so at work everyone thinks I'm crazy (and they would be correct) because I spend all my spare money on tools. I also buy tons of books, magazines.. etc.. Its a passion of mine I guess, and now I have decided I need to learn one of the most important lessens in woodworking (IMHO) and that is patience.

    My wife was going to buy me the Craftsman machine that will carve out boxes to what ever you put in the cad program and upload to it for Christmas last year, but I told her no.

    Now, you may be asking why I did that. This sucker is 1800.00. Its a power tool.. I really need that.. BUT - I have decided that I want to do what it does with my hands. If it should be carved, then I will carve it. She didn't understand and I am not sure I'm explaining it correctly, but its just how I feel.

    The thing is I have never cut a dovetail by hand or by router, even though I have the jig to do it. Because I want to do it, not some machine. But I am getting closer. I have added a new top to my bench with a vice. I have purchased my hand saw to use and I am currently reading anything I can find on the subject.

    I can build a cabinet, book cases.. etc... But they are put together with pocket screws or Bisquick, er... biscuits. But I have discovered that my patience runs very thin when doing glue ups... or for that matter a lot of shop related tasks... I know a lot of the problem lies in keeping the shop in order and that is something that my shop doesn't have. I have decided that every time I go into the shop something must be put in its place and if it doesn't have a place, then I must find one for it.

    I guess the main reason for this message is to ask you - What sparked your interest in woodworking? Do you ever achieve patience? Should I concentrate on one aspect of it, or try to do them all (cabinets, turning, finishing, etc..). If you are stuck in a house and zombies are trying to break in, do you prefer to use nails or screws to board up the doors and windows?

    George Blevins

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    George, interesting topic.

    Let me jump in here.

    I've seen some of the best, most amazing work come out of the the most incredible clutter that could be called a workshop, and I've seen some of the worst excuses for woodworking come out of workshops that could be used for open heart surgery, and I'm not talking about anyone on this board or any other board, I'm talking about PRE-internet times.

    How old are you?

    I found that when I was younger, I wanted to get it done NOW, not tomorrow, or heaven forbid NEXT week, but RIGHT NOW!!!

    I've learned to slow down and do it right. I had one old timer I worked with a LONG time ago tell us young punks that when you can smell the finish coming for a project, you should put your tools away for the day, and clean up your shop, and get ready for the finish, as a good finish can make or break a lot of hours of work on a project.

    This has been a VERY hard lesson for me to learn, but I think I'm getting it now.

    I'll be 43 in a month or so here, and I'm starting to figure that out, a place for everything and everything in it's place really does wonders for my woodworking, as I spend a lot less time looking for stuff. I an tell you where all FIVE of my tape measures are, at this moment

    I find that as I work on something, I will stop every hour or so, and put stuff away that I am not using at the moment, this helps with the clutter on my bench. Oddly enough, another thing is taking pics, I clean up a bit before I take pics, and if you know me, I take a LOT of pics, so little by little the shop stays clean.

    BTW, the most incredible, fantastic work I've ever in my life seen done anywhere was by a guy who's workshop was tidy, and everything was in it's place, but, it was a work shop, not a surgical theater, so there was some dust around etc, but it was neat.

    I worked at a place, early on, where the boss made us run the broom around the workshop ten minutes before lunch and 10 minutes before quiting time EVERYDAY, and I guess that stuck, takes me only 5 minutes in the Dungeon, but that 5 minutes gives me satisfaction in that the floor is at least tidy when I leave, and each time I come back.

    Well, maybe more than you wanted to know

    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Quote Originally Posted by George Blevins View Post
    I guess the main reason for this message is to ask you - What sparked your interest in woodworking? Do you ever achieve patience? Should I concentrate on one aspect of it, or try to do them all (cabinets, turning, finishing, etc..). If you are stuck in a house and zombies are trying to break in, do you prefer to use nails or screws to board up the doors and windows?

    Great topic, George...

    1. My initial interest in woodworking stemmed from a couple little projects in my granddad's workshop at around 6 or 7 years of age. This interest was sparked back up with high school woodshop. I did a little bit of woodworking after high school (with my granddad's tools, after I inherited them), but then didn't do more than typical homeowner fix-up work until a couple of years ago. That was when I decided to start taking over the garage and building up tools again. (By then, I'd left behind Granddad's old table saw and band saw, but they've been replaced with better tools now.)

    2. I'm getting better at patience, and it's coinciding with my skill level improving so I can still get projects done in less time. Something I've learned in the software development business, which applies directly to woodworking, it that it's better to spend the time now doing it right, than to spend the time later doing it over. And good craftsmanship applies to any project, simple or complex.

    3. Should you concentrate on one aspect or or many? That really depends on you...whatever feels best. As I've gotten back into woodworking, I've tended to go through phases where each phase was spent building mostly one type of thing (cutting boards, boxes, pens, bowls, hollow forms), but for me I see it as building up skills in a gradual manner. These skills tend to cross over from one discipline to the next. The techniques I learned finishing boxes can be applied to hollow forms today, and furniture tomorrow. Also, even if you're working on basic stuff like cutting boards or boxes, you can really stretch your creative limits if you want to. So if you find you have a real liking for one aspect over others, you can stay on that track and concentrate on expanding your skills there.

    4. For zombies, I prefer nails, but in a pinch, a 12 gauge.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  4. #4
    Patience is hereditary my get it from your children!! That is a running joke I know, but true. In my case I found out that children, patience and woodworking collided pretty hard. Let me explain...

    Now I was an accomplished woodworker but I could not cut a dovetail to save myself. I was like you, I refused to get a dovetail jig because I wanted to cut them by hand. Now my first wife and I could not have children. It took me 11 years, a divorce, another marriage before things fell into place.

    As a 3rd generation railroader, I had this design in my head for a Cradle/ Toybox that I wanted to make for my first child. Naturally it had to use hand cut dovetails and mortise and tennon joints. When I found out Alyson Rose Johnson was on the way I went to work to learn how to cut dovetails by hand.

    Somewhere along the way I learned that I would rather do something by hand, chisel or handplane that takes three hours then something by machine that takes 20 minutes. At the same time I found a new appreciation for woodworking. I probably won't give up my jointer/ planer or RAS anytime soon, but I do a lot of fine tuning with hand tools and I just love it.

    For what it is worth, my greatest woodworking highlight had to be that cradle. There are better designs and there are better cradles, but I learned a lot and put a lot into it. It was for a special girl and came out special.

    I'll tease you with a picture, but the link will explain it a lot better and has more pictures. Train Cradle

    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    The Heart of Dixie
    Quote Originally Posted by George Blevins View Post
    I guess the main reason for this message is to ask you - What sparked your interest in woodworking?
    Dunno?? My dad did some but not much. He could have been very good if he had wanted too. Maybe my parents love of antiques and refinishing them? As a kid I went to lot of auctions and watched (and helped a little) them refinish a lot of furniture.

    Do you ever achieve patience?
    Yes! But you know how you develop patients? By being in situations that try your patience. And I am serious.

    I have more patience with wood than anything. Sometimes it's not a lot and I am not a patient person. But I find wood working very relaxing and I have more patience with it than anything. Well maybe that and rebuilding these old machines.

    Should I concentrate on one aspect of it, or try to do them all (cabinets, turning, finishing, etc..).
    If you have to ask..........

    Concentrate on one thing. Get good at it and then start learning another. Practice, practice, practice. No reason you can't be good at all of them. But what works for me is finding one I enjoy and getting good at it. Say building. Then the next step is I have to finish it. So I work on my finishing skills. Before long I am decent at it. You may find you are never good at _______. If you just can't get the hang of something why beat your head against a wall? Do what you like and are good at.

    YMMV of course. But the advice is free.

    If you are stuck in a house and zombies are trying to break in, do you prefer to use nails or screws to board up the doors and windows?
    Screws, strong hold.

    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.

    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Baltimore, Mary land

    Zombies, oh my...

    I am 37 going on 38 years old. I have no children of my own, but do have three step kids and nine grand kids... (your saying WHAT? - Its a long story..) anyway I do find that I do have patience on somethings... When I am doing trim work in a home owners house I will spend as much time is needed to get the fit just right, with out much agony. I love the work I do (remodeling) and that helps.

    I know when I posted pictures of the shop the other day, my wife said I needed to clean it up a bit before I took the pictures, but there again, no patience... She says its the Instant Gratification bug. Since I have OCD, I tend to go through phases and being in a hurry is one of them...

    I'm learning though. I'm starting to slow down. I think a part of my problem was working all the time. I have slowed that down as well... 8 Hrs a day only, no more side work during the week and then only on Saturdays. I'm now creating time to be in the shop...

    I think its great to be able to talk to other wood workers and to see pictures of their work. You really get to see the passion, creativity and pleasure that they put into their work. A completed project is an inspiration and the story behind them are truly meaningful. Its so easy (for me) to get discouraged and not want to complete a project, but reading the forums gives me an extra boost to get back at it. (No really, it does).

    I have to say thank you to everyone here for all their help. I have learned so much in such a short time.

    As for Zombies, well I just finished watching Night of the Living Dead and the thought was there, so I asked.. hehe... Sometimes I can get a bit weird. Writing is another passion, even though my grammar and spelling is horrible.
    For the brave you can go here to read some writings, though the subject matter may be somewhat disturbing (I write about horror, gore, etc..)

    The cradle looks wonderful!!!

    George Blevins

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    I re-started woodworking as a hobby after about a 30 year break. I was at a point where I needed something to occupy my time besides all the 'stuff' that usually occupies our time. I often spend much longer planning and setting up for a cut than making it. I keep reminding my self that I am doing this for the pleasure of doing it; not to create a large volume of pieces.

    I'm good for one or two projects of (personal) value a year so far. The rest is shop prep and favors for folks with the occasional paying gig along the way. I'm enjoying it.

  8. #8
    This is a great topic. In reading the initial thread, I had to chuckle a little bit. Not because of mocking, but because I could have written it.

    I started woodworking very early in life. We all did. The first time we hit a 2x4 with a hammer. Over the course of my life (I'm 40) I decided that I wanted a hobby that kept me near home. My parents describe me as a monomaniac. I usually go head first into my new hobby, spend thousands, then lose interest.

    With woodworking, I went head first in, spent thousands, and keep getting more and more interested.

    I have found that shop time is therapeutic. I had a messy little shop with a bunch of bench setups that were unsatisfactory and basically I had a tough time getting anything done. I've done a few projects where I couldn't wait to get done them. That has always upset me. This is supposed to be fun. But a good shop cleanup, another storage solution in the shop, a few nights of not going into the shop, and I'm back in business.

    About 2 years ago, I started keeping a list on a whiteboard on a wall outside the shop. It looks like this:

    1. Put false fronts on drawers.
    2. Make a new shooting board.
    3. Clean up dust under router table.
    4. Make a saw blade storage.
    5. Solution for bench height.
    6. Read up on the Festool demos.
    7. Sharpen the 3/4" chisel.

    That way, before I come into the shop, I see something that has to be done. I don't have to go in order. I am in the middle of a project, but I havn't worked on it in 5 days. I look at the list, pick one, do it, then fiddle fart around. At least I'm always getting something done, that contributes to the common goal of a psychologically healthy little shop. If I look at the list, don't want to do anything, I sometimes turn on my heel and go upstairs. Or I sometimes go in, turn on the TV and cut some dovetails or join some scrap with some method of joinery.

    The thing I hate is, laying in bed saying, "Damn it! I was supposed to glue up that panel!" I have a list and can choose NOT to do anything on it, rather than get caught up in the clutter of my shop, the clutter of my mind, the clutter of life and forget to do things that were supposed to be fun.

    Will you ever get more patient? Why would you want to be. You are who you are.

    The next paragraph is just a joke, but I have 5 rules for my kids...mostly in jest...they are pretty good rules for me too.

    1. No whining.
    2. Get over it.
    3. No kicking, biting, screaming, punching or breaking things on purpose.
    4. Settle. (A count to ten thing for kids.)
    5. Stop doing whatever it is that you are doing that is currently annoying your father.

    Have a great weekend folks!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Placitas, NM in the foothills of the Sandia Mt
    Hey George,
    Don't you wish we could buy patience like any other tool? I took up woodworking in part to develop patience. At work I was a real 'get er done' type and ran around yelling at people all day to get off their butts and get their work in. I eventually noticed that the most productive people were those who took their time and kept in focus, so that they could do it right the first time.

    I heard some where that the way to keep a shop orderly is to put away 5 things every time you come through the door. Maybe I'll try that.

    And screws, definitely screws.
    Don't believe everything you think!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Punta Gorda, Florida
    "What sparked your interest in woodworking?" LikeJeff, I don't know.

    "Do you ever achieve patience?" No

    "Should I concentrate on one aspect of it, or try to do them all (cabinets, turning, finishing, etc..)?" Do them all. It keeps an impatient person interested. Also never use hand tools; Always use power tools as it keeps an impatient person happy and it usually comes out better anyway.

    "If you are stuck in a house and zombies are trying to break in, do you prefer to use nails or screws to board up the doors and windows?" Screws as I do not have a framing nailer but I do have a power screwdriver. Remember my code, always use power tools-never hand tools.
    Last edited by Allen Bookout; 04-14-2007 at 06:00 PM.

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