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Forum topic by CRAIGCLICK posted 04-11-2018 07:14 PM 1051 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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CRAIGCLICK

117 posts in 583 days


04-11-2018 07:14 PM

I’ve been a LJ a short time and have noticed that many of y’all seem to really go the extra mile when building things like carts, bases, assembly tables, workbenches, etc.

I have rarely seen a photo here of someone who built a shop fixture to the point that it worked and then said, “Meh…that’ll do.” Everything always seem to be finished and subtle touches are added that always enhance the look.

So I was just wondering what motivates you to do that? Is it because you have a dedicated shop? Would it be different if you had to move all the stuff out of the way so you could pull your car into the “shop?”

My shop is my garage and things get pretty crowded, so I feel like “what’s the point” when I just have to push everything out of the way when I’m done.

-- Somewhere between raising hell and amazing grace.


22 replies so far

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1157 days


#1 posted 04-11-2018 07:23 PM

My grandfather’s generation had a saying … ”you can always judge a man by the shine on his shoes.”  For me, no matter what I build … furniture, tool, fixture, or jig … I try to build it well. With that said, I have used some not-so-pretty stock; but, whatever it was, it was built well, nonetheless. Perhaps it’s just a sense of pride.

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

1097 posts in 3327 days


#2 posted 04-11-2018 07:28 PM

There’s probably some selection bias involved: people who build fancy-looking pieces for their shop are more likely to post them as projects and to mention them in their posts. I’d never post a picture of the screwed-together 2×4s and scrap of OSB I made into a table for my grinder.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

1243 posts in 2505 days


#3 posted 04-11-2018 07:29 PM

I think built well and built pretty don’t always correlate. I have a list of projects for the house that is a lot longer than my time available to do them. So when I need a shop fixture I want it to work, and to last, but take the minimum amount of time.

I will sometimes use them as Guinea pigs to to test a skill or idea. But I don’t hand dovetail everything or use the finest wood and finishes.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2406 posts in 2499 days


#4 posted 04-11-2018 07:40 PM

I agree with the selection bias aspect. Folks arent posting all of their work, rather what they want others to see

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1435 posts in 1326 days


#5 posted 04-11-2018 07:42 PM

I never take the time to build attractive shop furniture and fixtures. I just build them to last forever.

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1435 posts in 1326 days


#6 posted 04-11-2018 07:43 PM

I never take the time to build attractive shop furniture and fixtures. I just build them to last forever. That is one reason I don’t post more in the “Projects” area. Why bother?

View Klondikecraftsman's profile

Klondikecraftsman

52 posts in 562 days


#7 posted 04-11-2018 07:46 PM

Maybe it is a bad obsession, maybe it is a good obsession, but the desire for tighter joints, smoother finishes and the persuit of perfection, is what makes woodworking the ultimate pass time for me. I get it.

-- It is a sin to covet your neighbor’s wife, but his woodpile is fair game.

View Bill_Steele's profile

Bill_Steele

569 posts in 2241 days


#8 posted 04-11-2018 07:54 PM

If I plan on using something only once—then I’m not nearly concerned with how it looks. If I’m going to make something that I plan to keep and use for a while—I think it makes sense to go the extra distance to design it well and make it look nice. I feel that the distance between “good enough” and “very nice” is not always that far with regard to effort. How does it make you feel when you see one of your completed projects that you took the time to do excellent work on? For me I enjoy the feeling of knowing I did a good job and I often don’t remember the extra effort required.

I’m not sure I understand your point about the garage being a place where you park your cars and do your woodworking and that somehow because it is not a dedicated workshop perhaps there’s less motivation to do the best work you can? Perfect practice makes perfect. Why not practice the level of quality you want all the time? Why not build jigs or other fixtures to help you quickly get high quality consistent results?

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

3094 posts in 2858 days


#9 posted 04-11-2018 08:20 PM

Part of woodworking is learning from every build. Making really nice things for the shop is one way to practice the craft and make your work space inspiring to look at. I have plenty of projects in the house that will keep my busy “practicing” for many years. Occasionally I will indulge in something a little more fancy for the shop, but generally, I don’t have the time to do so. I also agree that most folks don’t post their mediocre or basic stuff since there generally isn’t much interest from others.

I just finished a box swap project where I made as nice of a box as I could and in the process learned some new techniques. I made it to the best of my ability out of respect for the fellow wood worker that will be the recipient. I also made it to the best of my ability because I want to be proud of the work I gave him. I want to do the best I can and continually raise the level of my skills.

As Bill said perfect practice makes perfect.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Notbrick's profile

Notbrick

42 posts in 619 days


#10 posted 04-11-2018 08:24 PM

Those “shop pieces” are often the best time to experiment or try to perfect a joint or assembly. These are the perfect times to practice certain finishes too. My garage has moved from 2×4s screwed together, to an attempt at various plywood cabinets…purely to learn and practice. Everything got roundovers for weeks when I first got my router.

View LesB's profile

LesB

2202 posts in 3953 days


#11 posted 04-11-2018 08:33 PM

I say to each their own but I favor form, function and cost over pretty when it comes to the shop fixtures. So my shop benches are mostly 2×4 frames with plywood and MDF as appropriate. Very solid and functional; Oh, did I mention inexpensive. I would rather spend the money on tools and my time on making nice projects that leave the shop.
If I win the lottery and run out of nice things to make I may consider some nice shop fixtures, but probably not.
I should mention I have a nice 24 X 40 shop building with good windows, fully insulated, wood stove, sky lights, full bath, 10’ roll up door, carport for the truck, etc. That was worth the money.

-- Les B, Oregon

View CRAIGCLICK's profile

CRAIGCLICK

117 posts in 583 days


#12 posted 04-11-2018 08:49 PM

Interesting opinions.

I will say that I often spend a lot of time making things pretty when only I know about it. For example, when I do plumbing, I only work in copper because I like the way it looks when I’m done. I take special care to make the pipes look good and I get unreasonably angry when you can see the solder peeking out from a joint. When I have to use PVC, I take special care to clock the pipes so that the printing would be visible to someone who is looking at it and you will never see the purple primer in the joints…even though all that stuff is inside a wall or in a crawlspace.

When do electrical work, my wiring looks like a work of art and when I strip the wires, the bare copper has to be just the perfect length. No push connections for me…everything is screwed and wrapped.

But when I set up my space, I’m just this side of a sheet of plywood on two sawhorses! Part of it is certainly a lack of time and money. When I’m not at work, it’s family time so my shop time is pretty limited…and I’m in the process of a full disassembly restoration on an old car, so that is the money vacuum for the next few months to a year.

But I think my next shop project is going to be a nice workbench and I want to pull out all the stops on that one.

-- Somewhere between raising hell and amazing grace.

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2783 posts in 3393 days


#13 posted 04-11-2018 10:18 PM

I want to be proud of the stuff in my workshop, after all, I’m going to see it for the rest of my life. When I look at the stuff that I have in my shop, I want to think that it is my best work, not just something that I slapped together.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View tywalt's profile

tywalt

83 posts in 674 days


#14 posted 04-11-2018 10:47 PM



Those “shop pieces” are often the best time to experiment or try to perfect a joint or assembly. These are the perfect times to practice certain finishes too. My garage has moved from 2×4s screwed together, to an attempt at various plywood cabinets…purely to learn and practice. Everything got roundovers for weeks when I first got my router.

- Notbrick

I’m with Notbrick. I’ll admit that my workbench and a few pieces in my shop are prettier than they “need” to be for actual use. When I need a new cabinet for a particular set of tools, I’ll use that as a prototype to flesh out design/finish/assembly/etc of the bathroom cabinets that are on my Honey-Do. The drawers on my tool cabinet are how I learned to do the half lap dovetails in the kitchen drawers.

-- Tyler - Central TX

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10859 posts in 1996 days


#15 posted 04-11-2018 11:04 PM



I agree with the selection bias aspect. Folks arent posting all of their work, rather what they want others to see

- OSU55

Ditto. I don’t really have reusable jigs. So all mine look like crap. But if it was gonna stick around. I’d take my time.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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