A New Year's Evolution.

Sam Blasco

Member
Messages
359
Location
Smithville, TX
Deep in the art of Texas, pecan trees and mesquite smokers frolik in the rolling hills, and a sleepy little town of 4000 is about to see its population grow by 3. Smithville.

Hello all. It's been awhile since I have had any chance to post anything, mainly because my time has been consumed with packing up my shop to get it ready for another move. The machines' caravan happens this Saturday, for any who care to help:D, and the rest of my junk follows next weekend. The time has come to sharpen my planes and make a steady stream of bee's wings and other various shavings, chips and dust. My wife and I started a quest two years ago for the town we wanted to raise our son in, a town that would also look like a good spot for a shop. After visiting several spots several times we settled on Smithville and bought a 3000 sq/ft building on Main Street for the shop and a small house on "The Hill" for a domicile, a mere 15 minute walk between the two. The town is full of antique shops and a few artisans, is situated between Austin and Houston and gets a fairly regular stream of weekenders. A friend described it this way to me, "It looks like Mayberry." It was a boom town in the first part of the last century and is now in the midst of a revival, actively looking to become a haven to artists and writers, but still feels a bit like a ghost town. My building was the old pharmacy and we have been renting it to antique dealers until this month. It is an empty chalk board now, but by March I hope to have the basic outline drawn for my studio shop and classroom, Samantics Squared (my Miami shop was Samantics) and the "Antics will be made here." I'll do my best to post some progress stuff and if you would like to tour the empty space go here:

http://s115.photobucket.com/albums/n313/postcromag/Smithville Shop/

See ya'll later, Andy... :wave:
 

Rennie Heuer

Moderator
Staff member
Messages
10,285
Location
Constantine, MI
Wow (drool drool) what a great (drool) space! (Drool):thumb: I assume you will post periodic pics as the machinery rolls in and gets placed?:wave:

Best of luck with the move!
 

Jeff Bower

Member
Messages
5,733
Location
DSM, IA
Sam, jealousy would be an understatement.:) Please do keep us updated. I've been to Smithville on a driving vacation about 4 years ago. I can't remember if we stopped there or just drove through...will defintely stop if we go that way again. Congrats.
:lurk:
 
Messages
917
Location
Charleston
Congrats on the new location Sam. I hope all goes well with the move and if I was closer I would show up to assist. Hope the family is able to settle in quickly so you can get to generating money. Please keep us updated on your progress.
 

Stuart Ablett

Member
Messages
15,918
Location
Tokyo Japan
Hey Sam.................... "YOU SUCK!!" :D :wave:

Next time you are in the VOID, measure off 10' x 23' and then you will feel my pain :rolleyes:

You have 10 times the space I do :clap:

Good for your, best of luck with everything! :thumb:
 

Jim DeLaney

Moderator
Staff member
Messages
6,409
Location
Austintown, Ohio
[size=+1]Wow, that's huge! I'm assuming it'll eventually be broken up a bit, with the shop towards the rear, and a show room up front? Or do you intend to keep it all open so your prospective clients can watch you work?

That wall of pre-existing shelving looks like a great start towards small tool and hardware storage. Having that will probably save you several weeks of work in building new.

Great shop potential. Best of luck with the new venture![/size]
 

Larry Heflin

Member
Messages
4
Location
Austin, TX
Congratulations!

Congratulations! I went to a friend's wedding there last year at one of the bed and breakfast establishments. If you don't mind me asking, are you still with MiniMax? I was struggling with some adjustments on my combo and seemed to be getting nowhere. I seriously considered giving you a call at the time. I had a hard time remembering some of the things you taught at the combo seminar a while back. I took lousy notes. I look forward to the updates on your new shop.

Larry
 

Norman Hitt

Member
Messages
1,813
Location
Odessa, Tx
Looks like a FINE setup Sam, and a nice little community too. The LOML and I toured that area when I first came back from Europe, and we were considering a move and a business change. We liked the area but didn't find a viable business situation to get into there at that time, (and unfortunately bought into a "Looser" back here instead). It should be a good location for your endeavor, with it's proximity to the large population areas, but still Quiet enough to minimize disruptions and distractions. Best of Luck to you and your Family on the new venture.:thumb:

I'm also curious as to whether you will still be connected to MiniMax or strictly into your new Venture. I still hope to get back down that way and meet you in person one of these days since we have conversed on the forums long before you made the move from Fla. I'll look forward to seeing the shop buildup progress.

Incidentally, I see that you have started your "apprentice" out properly, (learning to do proper shop cleanup). :D And a Fine looking apprentice he is too.:thumb:
 

Vaughn McMillan

Administrator
Staff member
Messages
33,602
Location
ABQ NM
Are you sure you can squeeze into that little place? :rolleyes: I hate to see you have to work in such confined quarters, Sam. :p

Congrats on finding such a great place, and best of luck in the new endeavor. Oh, and tell Barney and Goober I said hello next time you see them. :wave:
 

Sam Blasco

Member
Messages
359
Location
Smithville, TX
Looks like I'll have to add a drool bucket for one of the corners.:D

In a couple of weeks I don't think the space will look quite so spacious. I will still be involved with Mini Max as a consultant, I imagine I will always have some relationship with them. I will continue to teach the general seminars for MM, since the new shop is the same distance from the airport as the old shop, which was next door to MM. What I would like to focus on and build for the classroom experience is smaller, more private type classes (1-3 students max) where the point will be on finishing a project of the students choice, from start to a finish. More of a woodworking vacation with lots of individual attention and hands on work. And of course, I will want to promote the European concept of bandsaw as the main tool with a combination machine to supplement all other milling and dimensioning tasks. Even though I am moving into what seems a large space for a one or two (if my apprentice decides it is something he would want to persue) man shop, the combo still made sense to me, as it allows me the space to add more and more workbenches, the place where I feel a woodworker spends 75% of his/her time. I'd rather have 3 or 4 workbenches at my disposal than 3 or 4 separate machines for building my impressionistic, yet hopefully functional, furniture. Stay tuned to see what I mean by expressionistic. Naturally, I hope to get some jobs and commissions to pay for the luxury of working the material we all have a passion for.

There will be a separate gallery up front for some of my stuff and other local artisans, walled off from the shop, but I want to create something open so anyone interested can look back into the shop and see chips flying. It will most likely be the first thing I build. I also want to add streaming video at some point so anyone can check in at any time and watch me swear at my mistakes and see how I've wasted my college education :rolleyes:, if they choose.

Alot to bite off for a person just trying to simplify his life by getting lost in shavings. I'll try to post some updates as things progress with the move and set up. Thanks for everyone's encouragement. :)
 
Messages
2,700
Location
Los Angeles, CA
I really like the idea of an open shop where people can see furniture being made.:thumb: This is kind of like having an open kitchen in a restaurant, so people could see the chef in action.

This also brings back memories of my old neighborhood in Pakistan where I grew up. In Pakistan, finding a small furniture manufacturing shop in a middle class neighborhood is pretty common. These small shops are usually family-owned and they are hardly 18'x25' in size. These shops have very few machines or power tools and most of the work is done by locally made hand tools. Having powered tools is not necessarily a good thing as power blackouts are very common in Pakistan. There are no formal training schools so skills are passed on from one generation to the other. Some people also learn by becoming an apprentice at a very young age (usually at the age of ten or so). There was one such shop in my neighborhood as well. I used to stop by that shop and gawk at these artisans make beautiful furniture. Even though I admired their skills, I had no interest in pursuing it as a hobby at that time. I now realize though that the seeds of woodworking must have been sown back then.

What I am trying to say is that by having an open shop you will certainly inspire many people to get interested in wooworking.
 

Sam Blasco

Member
Messages
359
Location
Smithville, TX
Disassembled the dust collector and piping yesterday. Pipes and the inside of the cyclone were impressively clean after four years of use, but the exhaust area -- another story. Grating, pre-filter and filter were fairly caked on the inside with the finest of dust -- took four good shakings and rakings, and even though I was wearing a mask I still got, what felt like, a mouthful of mud. I guess that means my collector has done a darn good job of collecting the really fine stuff without letting it out into the shop, and no drop off in performance that I could tell over the years. Kudos to Oneida Air. I'd also like to thank Norfab -- their quick connect/disconnect, erector set like piping, really makes things a snap!
 

Sam Blasco

Member
Messages
359
Location
Smithville, TX
The Sands of Iwo Smithville

04MachineDay009.jpg

Also, a big "Thank You!" goes out to Shaz.:thumb:

He was also responsible for taking that photo. Machine move day went as planned (with the exception of a front wheel blow out on one of the trucks we were using - the one towing the biggest trailer, which caused a 2 hour delay). We had the forklift on the opening leg, and when we got to the new shop, by jacking up the front end of the trailer and letting out the air of the back tires we were able get the trailer's back end level with the sidewalk. Then the machines just slid off the trailer and all we had to do was go along for the ride. :rolleyes: Well, it was almost that easy, but it really wasn't all that difficult getting things in.

The coolest thing was the email I got from Shaz two days before the move -- "You need some help?" Heck yeh, the more the merrier. So he comes up from Houston and meets us in Smithville and jumps in. Shaz, you were taller than I expected :D (gonna call you Big Shaz from now on), but your help, and more importantly, your spirit of community was an unexpected, and greatly appreciated surprise.

For any interested in the few photos I was able to squeeze off, and some extra Shaz action shots, go here:

http://s115.photobucket.com/albums/n313/postcromag/Smithville Shop/The Move and Set Up/

Next weekend -- benches, boxes and lumber... Stay tuned.
 
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Bill Lantry

Member
Messages
2,666
Location
Inside the Beltway
Sam,

Congrats on everything. That area's a slice of heaven... if I could set up anywhere, I think it would be right around there. I even like the summers... ;)

Thanks,

Bill
 
Messages
2,323
Location
Houston, Texas
Hi Sam :wave:,
Thanks for more credit than deserved. Had 300 folks from the forum lived closer you would have been inundated with help.:D
It was an interesting and enjoyable time being able to assist where possible. You helped me feel very comfortable as did your hard working friends.

Seeing your equipment was a real eye opener. Maybe some day I can have the privledge of seeing you flip on the switch and make them dance!!!!!!!:thumb:
Wishing you well, in your great new place!
Shaz :)
Thanks Stu, We missed you.:(
 
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