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Workbenches, old American iron machine tools, my favorite hand tools. All these things are pleasing to my eye and inspired me to do work that is befitting of these tools.
There has been this one sore spot in my shop for quite a while that I've been meaning to do something about. The Grizzly table saw picture below is one that I purchased in 2004. Before I developed a taste for old American iron. There is really nothing particularly wrong with this saw that can't be resolved with new arbor bearings, belts and a considerable amount of tweaking. It has served me well but it just doesn't inspire me in the same way as my other tools. I removed the top a couple weeks ago to replace the arbor bearings. In the process it occurred to me this saw is basically an older model Delta Unisaw clone.
This is where things went wrong. As you know table saw dust collection is typically inadequate at best and while the top was off my saw I deemed this to be the time to design an improvement. 4 versions of a blade shroud later my saw dust collection is greatly improved. I'm into this project for way more days than I ever imagined and this spawned an entire re-arrangement of my shop. It was one of those, "while I'm at it I may as well", kind of thing.
The table saw has been moved forward and to the right approximately 2 feet. Doesn't sound like much of a task until you consider that the dust collection drop and the electrical feed also required moving. You can see evidence of the prior location in the picture below.
While the shop was in a total state of disarray I decided that now would also be the time to move my Powermatic 90 lathe to the other end of the shop. It's on a mobile base so easy right? Nope. This required me taking out the leg of my dust collection that went to the lathe, cap it off and then extend the main trunk of the system to the front end of the shop where the lathe now resides. Next I found myself crawling under my shop in order to pull a 220 volt circuit to the new lathe location while my wife was feeding the wire from inside the shop. Yes she is an extraordinary woman.
The lathe move was to facilitate moving my disc sander and oscillating spindle sander off a rolling tool chest into a fixed location on the back wall where the lathe used to reside. This required building cantilever brackets that attached to the back wall giving these tools a permanent home. I so hated having to roll that tool chest out every time I needed to use one of those tools. No more. Fortunately no electrical work was required for these machines. This sets me up to complete the finish work needed on the back wall of the shop. Trim and paint. You can see where the gray floor paint stops in the photo below. I'll be glad when the floor is all one color.
Last but not least Julie emptied out the cupboards of my Shaker workbench so we could change it's location. Even with the cupboard empty it was still quite heavy. That's part of why it's such a good workbench. We rocked it so that we could slide cardboard skids underneath. All this to move it approximately 2 feet.
Of course now the main room of the shop had the look of, "was anyone hurt when the bomb went off?"
It was time for a major aftermath clean up.
This was the final part of the re-arrangement and it all started with changing arbor bearings.
Just so you know, you can follow Brese Plane on Instagram. I'm enjoying the Instragram account. It allows me to post things going on in the shop in closer to real time and it's less involved than writing a blog post which can be hard to find the time to do.
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
For a bit over a week 4 of our grandchildren and their moms have been visiting. It's been a busy time that has passed very quickly. Too quickly. Soon they will be returning to Brooklyn and London and the house will be quiet again.
We made bird houses with the kids. It was great fun and I highly suggest this project for kids. The ages range from 3 to 9 and it was fun for all.
If you run across one of these ads and are considering making a purchase there are some things you need to know.
(1) All the planes sold as completed planes came with a document of provenance. If the seller doesn't offer to include the document then you need to ask more questions as to the origin of the plane. Why? See number (2) below.
(2) In the early years of plane making I also sold kits so that others could enjoy the plane making experience as well. Recently one of these planes was offered on Ebay. The title of the ad did not make reference to it being a plane completed from a kit. One line in the description did in fact reveal this fact. For this reason you could well be buying a plane made by a first time plane maker. Needless to say there will be considerable differences between a plane made by a person that has completed hundreds of planes and one made by a first time plane maker. Fortunately the eventual buyer of this plane asked all the right questions and was fully aware of what they were buying.
(3) Kit planes do not have the"Brese" logo stamped or engraved into the front of the lever cap. If the lever cap lacks this logo it's a kit plane. If the logo is present send me a picture and I'll verify that it is original.
Below is a picture of two 650-55 J planes I completed a couple years ago.
Recently another similar plane has been offered for sale. But not made by me. Look familiar? I just wanted to make it clear the plane pictured below was not made at Brese Plane or by anyone affiliated with Brese Plane.
I was reminded recently that imitation is a sincere form of flattery.
"Beware the sheep that wants to save you from the Wolf"
We don't have commercial television. Years ago when we first moved into our house (after 4 years of construction) the upstairs was not yet finished. One of the upstairs rooms was to be our den of sorts. Actually it's a bedroom that we've decided to make our den. It's multipurpose. We have a sofabed in that room so it easily doubles as a guest room when need be. But I digress.
We built our house ourselves and you tend to get worn out doing so. After moving in it would have been easy to get complacent and drag our feet on finishing the upstairs. We decided, as an incentive, that we would not move the satellite for our television to the new house until the upstairs was finished. During that period of time we read a lot, listened to the radio a great deal and were quite happy doing without television. So when the room was completed we had grown quite accustom to not having commercial television. We quite enjoyed not being exposed to the constant bombardment of ads making us believe we needed things that quite frankly we did not need. It's sort of like the philosophy of not spending money on cheap things in order to buy one thing of great quality.
So after purchasing a television for the new room we decided to create a subscription to Netflix. this allows us to decide what we want to watch and when. Now I know there are many devices to allow you skip thru ads, etc., but between Netflix and a couple other sources of video content we are quite satisfied with our viewing options.
Being a maker of sorts I am of course interested in other people that are also makers of one kind or another and You Tube is a great source of this type content.
The Hand Tool woodworking community is quite unique and a group of people I'm quite proud to be associated with. But to think that we are solely unique in this world would be untrue. There is also an entire community of home shop machinist. With the amount of metal working I do it only makes sense that I would be interested in the goings on of that community as well. This community came about due to the efforts of a guy named Lyle Peterson, known on You Tube as Tubalcain. He started posting how to videos of machining operations and quickly found that he had numerous subscribers which encouraged him to post more and more videos. Then came along other personalities like Adam Booth, known as Abom79, and Keith Rucker of Vintage Machinery.org. If interested click their names to obtain links to their You Tube channels. This is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. On these You Tube creators pages you will find links to many others.
And then there's the woodworking channels. This can be a quagmire of many many channels to sort thru to find the ones worth time for your particular interest. It seems every person with a table saw, router and random orbit sander thinks they have a wealth of knowledge to share with the world. I've noticed the more outlandish the personality of the host the less real skill they have to share. In other words they're trying to make up in personality what they lack in actual woodworking talent. There are the exceptions however.
Jay Bates for instance. Jay uses a mixture of machine tools and hand tools to complete his projects. That's a work method many can relate to. He is also a talented video editor and does interesting things with special effects. This makes his work quite interesting and entertaining. See the video below of Jay building a hickory side table.
Treebangham is another You Tube creator that I enjoy. Ken Bangham is a very skilled hand tool woodworker. Not only do I enjoy the actual projects he builds, I also enjoy and learn from his methods of hand tool work. I was inspired by his videos to make a Japanese tool box and subsequently I also made tool trays that help keep my bench top organized and these trays are stored in the Japanese tool box.
You'll notice that Ken is a bit more verbal in his videos than some, but that's okay because he does it well and uses it as a method to teach and entertain simultaneously.
Recently I've been watching Ishitani Furniture. Natsuki Ishitani is a young man who lives at the base of a volcano in Japan. Even though most Americans might think a Japanese craftsman using power tools and hand tools is a bit unusual, it's probably more common that we might imagine. Is Natsuki the most talented woodworker I've watched? Probably not, but I do like his non verbal style and his dog has loads of personality. His youthful enthusiasm and the way he attacks his work is fun to watch and the video is put together in a very interesting way. The music toward the end of his projects is very tastefully selected and seems to reflect the mood of the project. Bear in mind he's not afraid to knock stuff together with a hammer. Very forcefully I might add. I like his design atheistic and the deliberate way he carries out his work.
In most cases when the host starts his video very in your face I'm immediately turned off. Like I mentioned before, in most case those creators have very little to share in real skill and are trying to win your subscription with an alter ego persona. This can be very annoying.
If you have to continually tell me how cool something is........it probably isn't.
Good luck perusing You Tube for quality woodworking content,
"Woodworker is just another name for Procrastinator"
Michael Dunbar, WIA Berea Kentucky 2008