Monday, January 10, 2011

Still in process... and purging what's necessary.

The holidays were not as productive as I'd wished. It's not really surprising, but beyond rationality, I thought I'd get more work done. I got one small bookcase built, and I'm working on a pile more, to stack up and around a doorway for a client. More pictures as they come in.

I also have spent some time in the shop tweaking and tuning things. Since the wall went up and we lost all of our fabulous free space, it's been a slow but steady process of re-appraising...

I threw out two router tables that I'd designed and made out of a sheet of plywood a few years ago when I was teaching classes at my local woodcraft. I designed them to be cheaply built, with minimal hardware. There's a pivot bolt holding one side of the fence down. The other side moves along the radiused side of the table, and gets fixed in place with a toggle clamp. So, aside from the router and router plate, (Which I guess is optional,) all you really need is a bolt and a toggle clamp to make it work. There's also dust collection, which is nice. Well, I haven't used them in years, so I was going to throw them out. They got scooped up by a woodshop teacher, since it's easier to have the kids rotate between tables, than it is to have them continue to change bits. That was the logic when I built them, it's nice to see that someone still finds them useful.

Most recently, I chopped a big chunk off of the platform that held my contractor's table saw. There's a picture of the unit here, which doesn't really tell the whole story. The big plywood box was something close to 40" from front to back, and 54" wide, I think, and around 32" tall or a little more. The table saw is only 27" front to back... I'd added an outfeed table, and fitted drawers underneath it. There are also 2 router tables built in, and dust collection ductwork inside, that connects to the saw, and to the router tables. In theory, it was going to be a do-it-all kind of work station. A double headed router table for doing stile and rail stuff, and a table saw in the middle for doing... whatever I needed it to do... dust collection to keep the shop clean, it was all so well intentioned.

Well, that was the theory. Ariel Asked me when I decided to built this monstrosity back in 2007 if I really thought I needed it. She knows me well enough to know when I'm spinning off on a goofy project. I thought it would be a great work-station, with enough drawers and storage to hold all the table saw stuff and router table stuff I'd ever have. And it did have incredibly adequate storage space... but the unit as a whole was enormous, ponderous to wheel around, and the dust collection, quite frankly, sucked. Because it was all connected, there were too many open holes moving air for any of the 3 openings to be working well. For the last year or two, it's been in the back corner of the shop, and one of the router tables was being used with a fancy-pants fence that covered up the saw and the other router table. So, really, it was a huge waste of space for holding just one measly router table... even if it is a nice router table.

So, since it was too big, mostly useless, and taking up space in the shop that's now smaller, I gave it a chop-job. I removed one of the router tables, which will get built into a separate unit with the fancy pants fence. The other router table remains on the saw, and the base is no bigger than the saw... front to back, it's now 27". This is the chunk that was removed, ductwork and all... (ductwork is on the other side, but it's still there, trust me) sitting in front of the dumpster that's filled with a lot of the other stuff that's been tossed out.

And this afternoon, before going home, I rolled it all down to the loading dock, to be emptied tomorrow morning.

Slowly but surely, we're reclaiming space to get work done. And I'm getting actual work done. Go figure.

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