Don’t Forget To Make Stuff!
Lately, it seems like a large percentage of my shop time has been spent either trying to work on projects for the shop or restoring hand tools. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy doing these things. I love the feeling I get when I finish a workshop task and I can see that I’m inching closer towards having it finished. And I could get lost in tool restoration, if I’m not careful. Much like working with reclaimed wood, there is a big draw for me in taking an old, abused tool and cleaning it up, getting it back into proper working order so I can use it in my shop.
But I’ve spent so much time focusing on those two aspects of my woodworking that I’ve really neglected the part where I make things! So last night I thought about it for a minute and decided on a project I want to make that has an inherent deadline of about a month, which is good motivation to work on it. I went down into the shop, quickly sketched out an idea of what I wanted, pulled out the tools I need for the first few steps, and got to it!
I’m not sure I can use my Record 043 plow plane on a project without taking at least one or two pictures of it. Maybe it has to do with the almost-instant gratification I get when I’m making grooves. Here is a flat board with jointed edges. Five minutes later, here is a flat board with two perfect grooves running parallel to the long edges and a bushel of narrow, thick, curly shavings.
I got to use another one of my favourite tools shortly after that. It is my Disston 12” backsaw I got for a steal and then had Matt Cianci sharpen up for me like a sash saw. If you’ve never used a saw that was sharpened by Matt, then you need to make it a short term goal for the first quarter of 2015. It will change your views on how well a saw can function.
I don’t know if you can see just how smoothly this saw cuts; hopefully you can. It took two swipes of a block plane to clean this up. To quote Chris Schwarz, “Matt is a wizard.” Indeed he is.
I’m trying to learn how to sharpen my own saws. But I like keeping this one handy and sharpened by Matt so I have something I can use for a reference, to show me what sharp really is.
Hopefully I don’t have to try and explain how good it feels to just go into the shop with a basic plan, pick out some wood, and start working, do I? To many, that can be daunting. But guess what. Your fears about making errant cuts or botching your plane work melt away as you get lost in the action of creating.
If you’ve never done that before, you should. Tonight. Now, even. Go! It’s fine to be afraid. But then go do it anyway. That’s my new motto. That’s kilted woodworking.