Another Year in the Books

5 Jan

Another year in the shop is at a close.  I spent the weekend cleaning and moving tools around, shoving them all in the back of the garage so I can pull the car in.  Too cold in the shop to enjoy time out there and chipping ice off the car in the morning is a drag.

I think this year marks the earliest I opened the shop and the latest I closed it.  Not that I have all that much to show for it in the house.  I built a big bookcase sort of thing.  It’s a nice project, but I have to say, I think it lacks awesome.

I did a lot of stuff around the shop, tricking out my tablesaw with dust collection, a Biesemeyer fence, a nice storage place for sawblades, and a much-improved fence for the router.  I really enjoyed doing the metalwork for the table saw.  I think it was the novelty that worked for me, I’m definitely not switching media or anything.

Funny, though, as I mashed all the tools into the back corner and congratulated myself on fitting it all in there neatly, my closing thought was “Gee, you know, I think I’ve got enough room for a band saw here.”  I’ve got a weird aspiration to build my own bandsaw using Matthias Wandel’s plans.  First off, I think it’ll be fun and satisfying, and I think I’m likely to end with a better saw than I would actually buy.

Second, what with all the tools of mine that decided to break this year, I like the idea that I’ll be able to fix it.  I’m down one router (But I’ve got parts to fix it.  More on that later).  That was the worst of a series of ticky-tack failures that dotted this year.

Oh yeah, I kinda built that…

Here’s the last of the shop projects for the year.  I finally got around to building an entryway organizer using the baskets I made a couple years ago.

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More pics on skydrive (although alas, poor light, the camera and the unfinished wood combine to make the pictures kindof fuzzy.)

I’ll wait until it warms up to put on the finish.  The dream is that the kids will come in the door and stow their shoes underneath it, their backpacks and such on top of it, gloves & hats in the baskets, and coats on a soon-to-be mini coat tree.  Yup.  It’s a dream.  I’ll settle for everything piled up in a heap on top of it.

The wood selection is cosmopolitan:  Walnut frame and top, maple and Baltic birch plywood on the inside, and the baskets are Ash.

The top was cut from a single 11” wide 8/4 stick with some help from a friend with a really serious bandsaw.  You wouldn’t be fooled into thinking it was one board, but you might be fooled into thinking it is thicker than it is.  I have a 1.5” front lip on it, but it’s about ¾” thick.  The overall theme of the design revolves around pieces covering other pieces, rather than coming together in a plane.

Assuming I don’t change my mind, I’ll probably use an oil/varnish blend on all of it, except perhaps the baskets.  Them I think I’ll dye a bit darker and spray it with poly.  Maybe my wife will let me add a few Arts & Crafts details to it too.  We’ll see.

I probably won’t change this project, but after completing it, I think my design aesthetic might be changing.  I look at all the walnut I made this summer and wonder “where are the curves?”  I’ve always felt that walnut is one of those woods which looks better with soft edges rather than hard ones.

Hm.  I have a project in sketchup right now that might just scratch that itch.

We’ll see if I get after it in April.  Or perhaps the band-saw bug will be too strong.  Afterall, band-saws are really good at cutting curves…

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