The tails of a new woodworker

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A 'blog' attempt ...

Almost 4 years ago now we moved from our small appartment into our house with a GARAGE! I was so happy, a garage, my space, I could finally
start woodworking! Or could I? The idea sounded so simple, grab some wood and make something; the ideas were flowing non-stop in my head!

Before the garage could be my focus I planned to reno my basement. The previous owners attempt wasn't that great; so my first job was gutting
the poorly put up drywall/studs/etc. I took it back to the original unfinished basement and then I reframed everything, moved plumbing to suit, HVAC, ran
electrical, hung drywall, trim and finish carpentry. The only thing I didn't do myself was the carpet install; only because I couldn't buy or
rent the tools cheap enough to make it worth my time. With working full time the basement reno took much longer then I would have liked it too
but I am pleased with the results.

So on to buying some wood and building something nice. Or so I thought. The hobby, as I am sure everyone has at one time realized, isn't the
cheapest or easiest thing to 'just do'. My cluttered single-car garage needed to be transformed into my shop. First step was basic organization of
what I had. I hung a few wall cabinets assembled a storage unit, hung lumber racks, ran electircal and installed a ceiling heater. I then built
two simple benchs (2'x8' and 2'x4') to have somewhere to work.

Around this time last year I had a table saw, mitre saw, hand tools, cordless drills/drivers and a few other things; not the greatest
selection for fine woodworking. So I've been scouring kijiji for everything that think I need. I picked up a 14" bandsaw (a mistake), 6"
jointer, 17" drill press and dust collector. I picked up a cheap Freud router table at Rona. I've picked up small things at LV as funds allow
(layout tools, LA block plane, etc). I even picked up 300 bf of hard maple from an auction.

So now, I must be ready to build something nice! And I am, for the most part but my list of required shop items is still quite long. Some of
the items are: Table saw side table (to fill in between the rails), cross cut sled, 45 cross cut sled, drill press table, hand tool storage
cabinet, table saw straight line rip jig, spline jig for boxes, shorts/offcuts storage bin, blade storage, router bit storage, router table (so I
can make use ot my JessEm lift!), etc., etc. I am thinking about making a nice bench with all the hard maple I have (but with my small space
this may be hard). I also really need an air cleaner! Not all these items are needed before my first projects leave my garage, the 45 cross
cut sled is a must and will be the next thing I complete.

At the end of the day I know I have made this process more complicated then it had to be, but that's in my nature. I am a perfectionist that
doesn't want to do something half @$$. I have cursed many times and even thought about ending the process but am glad I have pushed through it.
In time, when I have things to show for my efforts (not just a shop), everything will have been worth it.


Updated 01-22-2011 at 10:56 PM by Bill MacDonald (Moved to Member Blog Category)

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  1. Andrew_K99's Avatar
    I forgot to mention, I have a 9 month old son which limits shop time.

  2. Lost in the Woods's Avatar
    Sounds like you are where I was about 6-7 years ago. I also understand what you mean about being a perfectionist. I actually describe how I tackle a lot of things as if I was planning a car trip across town....I tend to sit in the driveway waiting for all the lights to be green before I leave. Takes forever to get where you want to go, but when you get there, you know you did it in the best possible way....sorta.

    I have a 7 year old, and was the stay at home parent as I work from home as well. From the time my son was about 2 to age 4, there was no peace. They don't sleep nearly as much, and need everything done for them all the time. We actually had to put him in half days 3-4 days a week in daycare so I could get some work done. It was impossible doing it otherwise 5 to 10 minutes at a time. So beware!

    Don't discourage about how long and how much is involved with this hobby. It gets better as you move along, but you just have no idea how much is actually involved insofar as the knowledge base and learning curve in this hobby until you really get going. A lot of folks buy the tools as they need them, whereas I bought most in anticipation of what i knew I needed in order to organize their placement in my one car garage. I think it would have been a nightmare buying peacemeal certain things AND organizing. I had the TS, Jointer, DP, Bandsaw, Planner before they were ever used, unpacked, and placed where they are today. The only thing that was in use was the miter saw on its own mobile stand. It was one of the very first purchases when we moved into a house together and were married, and althought the now old Craftsman has chopped alot of lumber, it is due to be upgraded. Leaning towards a Kapex to go along with a lot of other tools that I've been Festooling up on. If I had to do it over again, I'd go straight to Festool, MFT tables etc.... May not even have a TS, but I probably still would.
  3. Tim 3.14's Avatar

    I'm starting to think that new woodworkers are very similar. Your comments reflect my journey so far; in as much as we had our basement finished (I didn't do all the work you did) and was able to include a shop in the design. I have taken on the design and completion of the shop myself and it's taking way more time than I thought it would. Between hockey and work taking me away often I haven't got the time to devote that I would like.

    In the mean time, while the shop is coming together, I have purchased a planer, mortiser, jointer, band saw, drill press and various other tools and blades. I have even purchased some maple and birds eye maple as well without a specific project in mind.

    I have to say that I am enjoying the process of setting up shop so much. I would like to get it done faster but I am really appreciating the stages of completion. This is my dream shop, I have gotten to the stage of life that I can have a shop and buy the tools that I want. I have all kinds of projects and jigs I need to make as well, I have a binder full of pictures and directions for stuff I want to build for my shop when complete.

    You should be proud of your shop and the effort you put into it. Although the projects will come and the furniture will get turned out the shop will be a place where a lot of life's triumphs will be celebrated and troubles resolved.

    Enjoy the time and be just as proud of your shop as the future projects that will come.