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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
At any given moment, I have several projects on the go. This post will enlighten you folks about the trials and tribulations that I have because of my Traumatic Brain Injury, and show you how I work through or around them. My progress is always slow, but it is progress nonetheless. This project was started over a month and a half ago! In many ways, this is about the process for me, but I still like to achieve something in the end, so off we go...

Ultimately, I want to build a few small boxes to hold Skip-Bo decks. Here's a picture of one deck, along with an existing box (that I did not make), and some mock-up decks made with worn-out cards and SPF offcuts. The mock-ups will help me with the build later, I'm sure.

Wood Rectangle Font Grass Publication


I started by making a full-size drawing to work from. The final product will be made from some offcuts that I bought from a local supplier. That means that I will need to laminate, resaw and mill all the stock. That's a lot of small steps that I have limited or no experience with.

Wood Shipping box Automotive design Cardboard City


Wood Wall Brick Red Gas


Starting from here is not the best way to achieve great results, so I'll be making some tool trays for the shop to refine my techniques along the way. Here's a quick cardboard mock-up that I cobbled together to use in the meantime. As I use it, I'm getting a better idea of what the final dimensions and tool spacing will be. Stay tuned for more on that...

Wood Gas Electric blue Plastic Rectangle


I started my skill-building by resawing some thin strips from some pallets that I salvaged a few years back. They were made from some heat-treated hardwood from Brazil, and they machine very nicely despite wearing the edges quite quickly. I was able to make some pieces without nail holes and more with them. The ones with the holes will be used for skills practice on the tool trays and the best stuff saved for some boxes.

Wood Tool Floor Flooring Drilling


The resawing was cognitively challenging. Sometimes I could resaw a couple of pieces in one go, but most times I could not. The more I cut the easier it was for my brain, but I still needed lots of breaks and diversions. Those diversions included removing a few cedar hedge stumps and making a maul from a log. After a while, I had cut a number of strips and pulled out my thicknessing jig to remove the saw marks.

Wood Tool Gas Hardwood Machine


The jig gave me some trouble, so that sat on the back burner for a while. While it was there, I removed some more stumps and started to work on an English-style workbench a la Sellers. When one project needs some thought put into it, I pause that project and work on something else.

Three projects in progress and the Chief Inspector.


I'm back working on the boxes now, and have gotten the thickness jig working well. Just a little more milling and I'll be able to move on the making some trays.

Wood Engineering Hardwood Lumber Machine


Wood Rectangle Flooring Floor Font
 

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Kent I think you are making incredible progress. And that's a compliment coming from another TBI survivor. My TBI was from a table saw kick-back. I know how challenging it can be to keep your train of thought when your brain wants to take a break sometimes. Learning how to sit up, stand, walk, going back to work, then driving. Each was a goal for me, each was a miracle that I celebrated when I achieved it. But wood working was different for me. It had been a hobby all of my life, but I was scared to go back at first. It took me a while to get the courage to turn on a power tool. At first I would just go out and move things around, organize and clean. I found some projects that were in progress and tried to figure out what I needed to do to finish them. Slowly they would get completed. Every once in a while I'll start something new but is taxing to think through a project from start to finish, to plan what the next step is, and to organize those thoughts into a plan. I take a lot of very detailed notes when I think of things. I found it really helps to break down projects into a lot of small steps. If I have a lot of energy one day perhaps I can complete two or three steps that day. The table saw still stresses me out and for some reason so does the router table. I have friends that I can depend on to help me if I need assistance. I'm glad to see you have a hobby that brings you enjoyment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Kent I think you are making incredible progress. And that's a compliment coming from another TBI survivor. My TBI was from a table saw kick-back. I know how challenging it can be to keep your train of thought when your brain wants to take a break sometimes. Learning how to sit up, stand, walk, going back to work, then driving. Each was a goal for me, each was a miracle that I celebrated when I achieved it. But wood working was different for me. It had been a hobby all of my life, but I was scared to go back at first. It took me a while to get the courage to turn on a power tool. At first I would just go out and move things around, organize and clean. I found some projects that were in progress and tried to figure out what I needed to do to finish them. Slowly they would get completed. Every once in a while I'll start something new but is taxing to think through a project from start to finish, to plan what the next step is, and to organize those thoughts into a plan. I take a lot of very detailed notes when I think of things. I found it really helps to break down projects into a lot of small steps. If I have a lot of energy one day perhaps I can complete two or three steps that day. The table saw still stresses me out and for some reason so does the router table. I have friends that I can depend on to help me if I need assistance. I'm glad to see you have a hobby that brings you enjoyment.
Thanks for the compliment. For the folks reading that are lucky enough to have missed the TBI experience, for all of their similarities, every TBI is different. Mine messed with my spatial reasoning, my visual processing, memory and processing speed. Since everything in there is interconnected, the manifestations are weird and varied. At one point, I could understand every word that I read but still not be able to recall the last sentence. I've also had to re-aim my eyes (prisms and therapy) and get my 3D vision back. Despite that, I went ice skating within a few months of my accident. I did most of this video with my eyes closed, so muscle memory made it possible.

I will never drive again, and I get tired very quickly. I won't use a tablesaw because I cannot reliably react quickly enough to feel safe. As odd as this sounds, I was using an electric chainsaw to remove some hedge stumps yesterday. Having both hands on the tool (chainsaw or grinder) gives me perception of control; if I don't like what is happening, I can stop the blade PDQ and freeze until I'm ready to proceed. Tablesaw kickback, by contrast, will happen far too fast and an incorrect reaction can draw you into the path of the cutter. Even moderate binding would be too much for me to react to. So I only use power tools when absolutely necessary and only when I know that I can do it safely. I do use my lunchbox planer and hope to get a jointer sometime soon. And there are still other times when just canting my head over to check on my planing progress will shut me down for a few hours or even a couple of days.

So I do as much as I can, when I can for as long as I can. And, like therapy, that allows me to do more and to do it for longer. As a form of therapy, my shop is paying for itself and I'm grateful for that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
If you've read this far and are a little more interested in my TBI and previous posts, here's a link to an archived LJ blog I started a few years back.
 

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There was a time when you learned to walk, and it was one step in front of the other. Sounds like you are on a similar journey. God bless ya for getting back up, and getting back to what you love to do. Slow, fast are yardsticks people use sometimes to measure nothing of real importance. Thing is, the pics you posted show purposeful work to make items that are beautiful, and useful. Time is just a small part of that journey. Someone long before me said. Don't sweat the details. Keep making. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@therealSteveN you pretty much hit that nail on the head. Thanks.

Today was a pretty slow day in the shop because it was all that I was up to. I did manage to finish planing all the thin strips to the correct thickness, and I cleaned up a glue line and ripped the board on the bench to its final width. The Boss has a plan to add some hooks and paint it for use by the back door It will get cut square and to length in the next day or so. Then, with it off my bench, I can get on with some tray-making practice.

Wood Tool Table Floor Flooring
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
<<snip>>

The current blog category (over time) will become our legacy (achieve) section. They will, of course, remain open to any new comments or questions.

New Blogs (Journals) should now be added in Showcase, within the Journal category.


Miscellaneous Showcases Tips

- Cricket
@Cricket Can you please migrate this over to Journals for me? As the evolution of the migration to the new software and organization continues, it doesn't make sense for me to continue in this evolutionary dead-end.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I just found this Kent so not a dead end yet, hope I can find it after it migrates. I am enjoying your progress. The more I use hand tools the more I enjoy them.
Me too, on all accounts.

I got sidetracked this morning ripping some apple into 5/4 slabs. The more I do, the better I get at it.
Wood Engineering Tool Hardwood Auto part
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
@memilanuk When I first built the jig, it was intended to be adjustable for use with different thicknesses, so I made it with slots for the adjusting screws on the sides.
Wood Wooden block Natural material Wood stain Hardwood

Somewhere around the second or third use, I discovered that the flathead screws and the softwood of the jig were fighting each other and I could no longer adjust it and have it hold its settings. So much for V 1.0.

So I screwed the sides to the base while everything was clamped in place. I did my best to get the rebates on the sides at a consistent height from the base and, for the most part, I did. But now the jig was for a fixed depth. My plan for adjustability included 2"-wide strips of 1/8"-ish plywood panelling, using as many layers as needed to sneak up on the desired thickness of the base. It sounded reasonable until it stopped working.

Every time I placed the plane on the leading edge of the stock, the trailing end would ride up and over the stop, similar to in this photo.
Wood Wooden block Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood

Having my stock move like this was brutal on my injured brain, and one or two ejections like this and I was done for the day. After a while, I realized that my shims had warped with the seasonal humidity changes. That prompted me to make a one-piece auxiliary base, which also worked for a little bit. I did end up slipping a shim (playing card) under one end of the auxiliary base to fine-tune it.

After a bit of a scenic route, I wound up adding a pointy little planing stop (a #6 wood screw) to help retain the workpiece. This has helped a lot and I finally finished getting all my stock pieces to 1/4" or so. Whatever the exact thickness is now, at least it is consistent from piece to piece.

Wood Wood stain Wooden block Hardwood Plank


My recommendations:
  1. use hardwood
  2. size it to suit the stock that you are going to plane. Make another jig if you need to do another thickness
HTH
 

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You are making some progress there, and it's good to hear that you are getting back into the shop. The shop can be a very relaxing time for me, and I am sure that it is therapeutic for you with the struggles you have had in life. My the Good Lord Bless You on this Journey.

That little jig looks neat, I may have to copy that for use in my shop. Thanks for sharing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I bought a box of assorted offcut lumber strips from a local specialty hardwood dealer. The strips are all about two feet long, but the width, thickness and species are all over the place; hence the word "assorted". After sorting through them and selecting some for lamination this morning, I gave a quick pass to ensure that I had at least one true reference face.
Plane Wood Hand tool Rebate plane Hardwood

I used a #4 and a #7, and were both set very fine. You can see the difference in the shavings between the species. It's really hard to understand, let alone describe that. At least I've got time to learn more about this...
I set up the length-stop rods and the tree on the 358 and aligned 5 pieces together for ganged cutting.
Wood Gas Engineering Machine Workbench

The 11PPI Warranted Superior saw (made by Shurley-Deitrich, Galt) did a nice job of cutting these pieces. By gang-cutting the 5 pieces at a time, 4 of them are 100% supported so there is much less tear-out to deal with. Also, the saw is effectively cutting a bigger piece so it progresses more slowly. That, in turn, produces a cleaner cut.
Wood Rectangle Hardwood Wood stain Gas

Two cuts later and I had 15 pieces cut to rough length. I did say rough length. The assorted pieces weren't as accurately cut by the dealer as my pieces were by me. ;)
Wood Rectangle Musical instrument Flooring Hardwood

Just a step or two more and these will be glued up for the box tops.
 

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With all of my limitations, I opted to laminate these one panel at a time. I needed the rest between each.
Wood Wall Gas Table Machine

Despite my best attempts, there were some undesirable gaps in the first panel, so I did some more fettling and fiddling to ensure better results on the last two panels.

Table Wood Flooring Hardwood Lumber


Table Wood Flooring Engineering Hardwood

Once three panels had been glued up, I cut a fourth panel out of some well-aged white oak for the bottom of one of the boxes. After comparing the weight (HEAVY! - almost double that of the oak) of the laminated panels, I've started looking around for another piece of oak (or similar) to use as the bottom on the second box.
Wood Automotive design Rectangle Flooring Table

I've started ripping the excess thickness of the Purple Heart used in the laminations. I started by using my small ryoba from LV, but I found it just too fine (13/26 TPI) and too awkward (small) for this situation. I switched to the larger Shark ryoba. In this photo I'm using the larger 9 TPI rip teeth, but it sounds and feels like I'm pulling the 1/8-1/4" wood apart. I wasn't, but I still didn't like the feel of doing it with this side. The rest will probably be completed with the 17 TPI crosscut side. I'm using the Japanese saws because the finer kerf will allow me to save more of the thin strips that I am removing.
Wood Saw Wood stain Gas Tool

An interesting benefit of using the pull saws is that the sawdust is cleared UP out of the kerf, making it easier to recover and store in a pill bottle (I've got a steady supply of those ;) ) for the day when I might need to patch some Purple Heart.
Below are the results straight off the saw. I may not have liked how it felt when cutting, but I do like the results.
Rectangle Wood Tool Flooring Floor
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Flattening and smoothing the panels with some #3 and #4 planes. I am using a fixture that I'm calling a sticking board. It serves that function, although it's intended for wider boards.
Wood Floor Flooring Gas Hardwood


I'll call these results acceptable.
Table Wood Rectangle Cutting board Flooring
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I see on the picture with your dog, you are making a bench-top (I guess) with staggered boards.
Many years ago I was in a "lumber salvage" mode, collecting what I could from where I could. Then I had my accident and, much later, built my shop. Now that wood is cluttering up my shop, so I'm trying to find a use for it all.
Dog Dog breed Wood Carnivore Chair

What you are seeing is the start of an English-style (Paul Sellers inspired) workbench being made from what is on-hand. If I'm moving a chunk of wood and it gets in my way once too often, I may just cut it up and add it to the project just so I don't need to move it again. :D The panels behind the dog were made somewhat butcher-block style so that I could cut out the worst of the knots and use up a lot of these lesser-grade boards. There are two parts here, waiting to go through the lunchbox planer the next time that I pull it out. After I use the machine for the bulk of the work, I'll glue these two panels together and finish them with hand planes.

I've also started on some 3x4 hardwood legs (from pallets made in Brazil), which are now crowding the Chief Inspector's perch. When I clean up the main workbench and haven't decided what to work on next, I'll take a few plane swipes at these future legs to move the project on a little further. I already have a bench and a few other workspaces, so this is not a rush job.
Wood Gas Hardwood Flooring Wood stain
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
I got sidetracked and then stopped for a while.
Dog Vertebrate Dog breed Carnivore Fawn
Wood Natural material Table Wood stain Hardwood

Updates will continue in Part 2 of this post. It is being created in a different tab now.
[EDIT] It is here.
 
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