Small Shop Adventures #11: A Long Pause and a New Year

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Blog entry by BrockF posted 01-06-2016 06:53 PM 904 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: Spring 2015! Part 11 of Small Shop Adventures series Part 12: It's 2018 and I'm back! »

Hello everyone. My sincere apologies for being gone for so long. Last year I had am ambitious list of projects to work on, and truthfully, almost nothing got done. This isn’t to say I was not busy, although who could know it would be at someone else’s house? My in laws, being older folks with medical issues, wanted to move closer to us so we could be of help to them. So instead of woodworking, I spent the better part of the late spring and fall property hunting in my own neighborhood. This means I saw a series of houses that varied from decrepit to “should be torn down”. Along the way I encountered mold, bees, holes in floors covered by glass (yeah, I don’t get that last one either but I saw it) and all manner of architectural crimes and madness. I even had to search for a crawl space hatch, the suit up and investigate only to nearly need the fire department to come and extract me.

In the end, we found a great place for them. So come mid august it was time to put on my DIY hat and plunge in full throttle. For the HVAC and plumbing and the front porch/wheelchair ramp I hired contractors, but the garage was a mess and a certain amount of electrical repairs were needed. That carried me into November, along with numerous small improvements like fixing flooring transitions so medical mobility devices could roll smoothly. At least I got to use the table saw/Victory Bench a little to fabricate what was needed. Yes, certainly more carpentry than woodworking…and I hate drywall..hate it, hate it hate it. But the previous owner left a large stack of drywall that was exactly enough to rebuild the garage interior, and I wanted a clean, bright space to park the wheel chair accessible van during the winter. This I achieved.

So, while I am sorry to not have been able to work on my own place or projects much, I feel I made the most of my time by helping family and this is of course the most important thing.

I did get to go to Rockler for Black Friday this year although I was second in line instead of first. On the other hand, I stayed outside the whole time instead of in my car and for this the guy first in line insisted I be hailed as customer number #1. A really fun time, well worth it even if my gift card for standing there was only $5. But hey, I had a coupon too and picked up a set of Kreg Set Up Bars. hat should make life much easier in the shop.

We have had a strange season here near Chicago with a large early snow fall and then no snow at all including almost balmy temperatures, at least for December. This unexpectedly let me do some late season work in the shop so I made built in storage inside my large router table (the one with an up-cycled grill cabinet and mobile base). Let me tell you, using that gripper on the TS is awesome, more so in combination with the large TS sled. The new storage lets me finally have all my router bits and wrenches close at hand instead of in the steel tool box that is always falling off of something.

I pulled out the dovetail jig and started practicing. You know how finicky those can be. I figured even if I could not build all the replacement drawers for my kitchen I had planned on making this year, at least I could have everything ready to go come spring, or maybe during one of those not so bad winter days. Snow had to be coming…just a matter of waiting, so best not to get too deep into something.

Having purchased a micro jig splitter on black Friday, I set about making a slew of zero clearance inserts for the TS. It seemed like I might have a real shot at doing some serious woodworking.

And then we had an ice/snow storm and the temperature is plunging. Like being cut off at the knees. On the bright side, I worked hard and had fun. Plus, if all goes well we are realistically looking at only 3 months of down time before the weather starts warming back up. Assuming of course that it will warm back up. My scientific background places no faith in global warming:)

On that note, I want to wish everyone a happy new year. May it be filled with health, happiness and sawdust.

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