On April 24th, I wrote a blog post called “Paychecks, Tools and Independence” that ranged from the neglected status of my tool collection to the first interview with Christopher Schwarz in this job. The community benefited from a number of great comments on this post, spurring us (or at least me) on to more woodworking production. Today I’ll show you the progress. I have gotten a few easy woodworking projects out of the way, building confidence for some real furniture making over the next months.
As you know, I am working under the constraint of an “interesting” space limitation. I live and work in a third-floor apartment. Over the course of the summer, I discovered two ways to adapt my methods and get projects done. One way is to be a little more social about woodworking. I made one connection, with guest blogger Bill Rainford, that also opened up the opportunity to do some basic turning.
The other way I’ve found to get projects done within a small space is to be creative and adaptive with project plans. I really wanted to build the Two-Day Anarchist’s Tool Chest, but did not have access to a table saw. So I adapted the plan to work on the scale of those pre-cut plywood panels, sometimes called project panels, that you find at the home center. The number of hand cuts that I needed to make was greatly reduced. I cleaned up all the edges with my router and a straight-edge jig.
I’m really happy with the result because it fits all my power tools and pneumatic nailers, and it is also big enough to serve as a large work surface – which is another thing I needed in my apartment. I gave it a flashy paint job which may cause some disdain (but I don’t care), and have dubbed it the “American Anarchist’s Tool Chest.”
My tool collection is also improving. I now have a good-sized set of Bessey clamps, in addition to the old Jorgensen wood-screws I had acquired in April. I also have my vintage Stanley #4 that I’m almost done restoring. More on that in upcoming posts …
So now it’s a question of charting my course for the fall and winter. As always, it’s important to maintain the fundamentals. I will definitely include Jeff Miller’s “Foundations of Better Woodworking” in my curriculum. There is a newly released book and DVD bundle in the store, if you want to follow along. Great value!
As far as projects, I am thinking about chair making as a good next step. We’ll see. What are you going to be building this fall? Please tell us in the comments below. You gotta think ahead!