Saturday, November 15, 2014

Starting Out

I took woodworking classes in school (together with welding, turning and sheet metalwork) and has been dabbling in all of these most of my life. Now in my later years, not all that far from retirement, I have decided to build up my woodworking skills.

I have been somewhat timid of my woodworking ability but with some research and some excellent resources (see the list below) I have decided that the skills for achieving fine woodworking are practice, patience, persistence and attention to detail. I know that this is within my reach so here I am, setting out on what I think will be an interesting journey.

Of course a huge boon has been the encouragement of Liesa, my wife. My only problem is that I do not get a lot of time to spend in my shed but I am chipping away at it bit by bit.

Over the years I have managed to accumulate a number of good tools and I am adding to this as the opportunity arises. My prize possession is my 10" Jet table saw which I picked up form a neighbour who was selling off his woodworking equipment. It cost me $200 and has been worth every cent. It is my most used power tool. I also have a 10" Bosch compound mitre saw, a 13" Dewalt thicknesser, A medium sized lathe and a drill press. I also have a number of good to high quality hand tools as well as some exotics such as a draw knife. Some of my hand tools I inherited from my father who was a cabinetmaker which are cherished possessions. Some are quite new such as a Lee Nielson block plane or my new Vertias bench chisels.

As for my style I am pretty much an equal lover of hand and power tool techniques. I am learning hand cut dovetails but will use the thicknesser to flatten boards rather than a hand plane but still finish the board with a hand plane.

So far my main activities are shed projects. I am building a set of open wooden boxes for my new (second hand) steel shelves. Every time I finish a box I immediately fill it with things that previously were un-organised. Not sure exactly how many I have built so far but I think it is about 10 or so and I have 2 more cut up and ready to join and assemble.

My first two projects will be a frame for a map from The Hobbit and a bathroom mirror front cabinet. I will post details as I build them.

Finally I want to thank the internet woodworking community, but specifically Mark Spagnolo and Matt Vanderlist who have been an inspiration. They have provided some great resources in the form of web sites, forums and podcasts. I am working my way though their pod/vodcasts right now. See links below.

The Wood Whisperer - Mark Spagnolo
The Wood Whisperer on iTunes
Matt's Basement Workshop - Matt Vanderlist (Search iTunes for Matt's Basement Workshop)
Wood Talk Online - Matt, Mark and Shannon (audio) and forum Podcast here -> or search iTunes
The Renaissance Woodworker -  Shannon Rogers, the Hand Tool guy (What is it with that Table saw!)

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