Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bird's eye view.

So, life in the shop is moving into a hapily productive phase. Things are all in place for the most part, and while there are still final details to attend to, like doors between machine and bench room, we have what we need, and we're moving forward.

Locals are on notice that there will be a shop-warming/ "wetting-in" of the place in the near future. Of course, a shop warmining implies a warmer shop, which is an issue, but we'll figure it out soon enough.

First on the list of things for me to work on is a new bench. I have had a laminated slab of butcher block sitting around waiting for, oh, almost 2 years now, and it's high time I got around to putting it to work. I also have a kit for a fancy twin-screw vise that I bought on sale when I worked at a local woodworker specialty store, I'd say about 3 or 4 years ago now. I've been sitting on it, not needing it, or not having time to put it together... and now I've pulled it out, too. Part of the reason I'm building the bench is because I've had all these parts sitting around. But another reason is that I've really been wanting a new bench for a while. At the old shop, I was using a huge Sjoberg bench that I bought when I first moved into my old shop building. It's huge, heavy... and warped. I'm pretty sure that the manufacturer used really green wood when they built it.

Anyway, the result is that when I want a flat surface to clamp something to, I can't use that bench. If I'm gluing things up, and I want them to be flat, I have to clamp to a flat surface. So, that bench is out.

In the shop now, I've been using an old bench that I built before I went to North Bennet. It's good enough for most things, and it's very flat, but I've learned a lot since I built it, and there are some new details I want added in to the mix.

It's basically a refined version of the old bench. Construction details are the same, but the details will be different, and I'm taking it to a higher level of finish than I did with the old one.

I'll take more pictures of the new bench when I go back to work after the holidays. Since this I've varnished it, and I'm in the process of trying to understand how the vise goes together. It has an 8 page instruction booklet, so there's a little more to it than just bolting it in place. But I have faith that it will be very cool when all is said and done.

Merry Christmas and Happy Buckets to all.

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