Friday, December 16, 2011

A Point of Reference

I'm still trying to decide on my "first" woodworking project. I've built several projects through community college woodworking and cabinetmaking courses but they were very heavy on the table saw aspect of the craft and held no emphasis on honing one's skill.

As with many modern woodworkers, the noise and dust of machine woodworking seems unhealthy and unnecessary to me. As such, I am solely interested in the hand tool side of things. Not only is it cheaper financially to use hand tools, it is more practical for those of us that rent or don't have a whole lot of space to store: a table saw with out-feed table, jointer, planer, band saw, chop saw, router table, etc. (not to mention dust collection!) With hand tools, I can work quietly enough (almost) to keep going late into the night even when my duplex neighbor has his kids for the weekend.

It would be a safe guess to say that I subscribe to the ideas of modern hand tool woodworkers, i.e.:

Lie Nielsen

Christopher Scwarz and (of course) Roy Underhill.

I am a purist at heart (not to be confused with Puritan) or maybe that is not the correct word; maybe the very opposite: "anarchist," perhaps. Is there such a thing as an "anarcho-purist"? Maybe my understanding of both words are totally off the mark. I'll have to scrounge up $37 for a copy of Schwarz's book to really find out for sure. At any rate, I have deep convictions that humans were never meant to evolve to a state of such technological malaise or to become so disconnected to the surrounding world.

Eventually I would like to end up making fine furniture as a source of supplemental income, owning my own furniture shop or just setting up booths at markets and fairs. In any case, I intend woodworking to be an ongoing hobby/profession for the rest of my adult life.

For now, my workbench is planted in a 5' x 10' area of the basement of my SE Portland duplex (the other half of the basement will become a seed-starting area with shelving for grow lights come January.) So in the coming days, I plan on organizing my workspace and building a few helpful appliances formy workspace, including: a set of saw benches, bench hooks, shooting boards, and some shelves and racks to hold my tools off of my bench. Everyday I get a little more excited about the things to come.

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