Shop Chronicles
Site News
May 23, 2007- Finally getting around to posting some long overdue updates to the site.
  • Updated the workshop tour pages to include my new shop at my new house.
  • Updated "Current State of the Shop" photo on the right.
  • Updated link to Terry H.'s website (he moved it).
  • Removed the links page. At one point, I had all of the links in a SQL database. That became very outdated, so I've waxed it and will put up a new, static links pages at some point in the future, which will include a much more updated list.
  • Updated Rust Hunting page to include a bunch of new goodies dug up over the past year or so.
  • Added a new rehab page for my scraper planes.

December 18, 2006- This post marks the return of a link which I mistakenly removed some time ago. I give you,
November 22, 2006- Its been almost 4 months since my last post here. Since then, some life changing events have taken place for me and, as a result, I'm moving to a new house. Despite the down side of these events, there is a bright spot: a new, larger workshop.

The new workshop will be a basement area, much like my current shop. However, there will be a host of new and exciting differences in the new shop. These include:
  • Plumbing - I've never had plumbing in the shop before. The new one has water and a drain, ready for a utility sink to be installed. The sink will give me close access to water, of course, and the ability to wash up before going back into the living area.
  • Conduit-based electrical - The wiring work is generally in a finished state, with conduit. However, I'll want several additional outlets in the future, not to mention a dedicated breaker, I'm sure. (My old shop used exposed shielded wiring just tacked to the walls.)
  • Inside access - My current shop can only be entered by an exterior door. The new one has both exterior, backyard entry as well as inside access via basement stairs.
  • Larger space - the new shop is 22 1/2 feet x 26 feet. This will give me 5 1/2 feet more space one way and 9 additional feet the long way.
  • Separate lumber storage - Although I've had my lumber mostly stored in another section of my existing basement, separate from my shop, it is difficult to access and a pain to move lumber in and out. The new house will include a detached shed space which is just the right size to house my lumber, sharing the space only with my weed eater and push mower.

July 24, 2006
  • Workshop tour page has been updated with yet another revamp of the arrangement of my shop, including the new cabinets I built in the spring.
  • New page has been added, dedicated to my most ambitious project yet: a 3-bank run of shop cabinets with graduated heights and a top.

April 25, 2006 - It has been quite a while since I managed to post some new content here. Rest assured, this is not due to a lack of content, just time! I have a long list of new items to add to the Rust Hunting page, a new play-by-play of the construction of my new shop cabinets and workbench, as well as pictures of a whole shop rearrangement and revamp. Stay tuned!

You may notice that I've eliminated a few links and pages from the navigation. I came to a realization that some of my content was simply a rehash and reformatting of existing info on the web. Its pretty silly to reinvent the wheel all the time, so instead I'm going to start adding relavent links at the end of my in-shop exploits. This way, the primary content of the site continues to be about things I actually do in the shop myself and suppliments those conclusions with links to similar information from other sources.
January 16, 2006 - I've finally managed to put a bit of time into the site recently.
  • Updated the Found Lathe page to include descriptions of finding, cleaning and using it for the first time.
  • Added the small thumbnail image to the upper right side of the page - "Current State of The Shop". Clicking on it will show you what my shop looks like at the moment. I hope to add an automatic updating feature to this using my iSight camera.
  • Updated the Step 8 page using my new style sheet tags. Formatting on this page is now consistent with the rest of the site.
  • Added new pages under the heading "Hand Tool Compendium" (See right navigation). These pages will contain a sort of all-in-one resource for the page's theme. For example, the Saws page will include information on buying, tuning, sharpening, and using hand saws.
  • Updated the Step 8 page with background on new cabinets in the shop and some I've taken out.
  • I've eliminated the "Problems and Solutions" page. It didn't serve any real purpose since there was very little useful content there.
  • Added placeholders for two upcoming pages: "Restoration >> Three Back Saws" and "Projects >> The Journey of Hand Cut Dovetails".

December 20, 2005 - I just read a quote on the Old Tools List today which I thought was very, very insightful and encouraging:

"Many years ago, in the early years of the porch, I made the comment that every man was born with a certain number of bad dovetails in his blood. For some it is fewer, for some it is more. The only way to get them out is to just keep making them till all the bad ones are gone." (Anthony Seo)

And here's another handy tip from the Tim Collins on the Old Tools List:
Someone asked: "1 in 6, and 1 in 8; this is the same as pitch on a roof, yes? for every 1 inch/foot/micron/ of length there is 6 i/f/m of width, yes? To a certain extent, this need not be a hard and fast rule?"

Tim replied: "Some one will likely beat me to it, but this one is easy--take your paper, draw one line about 6 inches long, and a one inch line about 90 degrees off one end of the line (like an "L"). Connect the ends of the 2 lines, there is your 1 in 6 slope for dovetail. An adjustable angle gauge can be set right from your framing square or from pencil/paper. No need to mess with degree's, protractors or calculators for this. tim "

December 13, 2005 - I have lots of new stuff to post here, but not a great deal of time to post it! This mostly because I'm trying to spend my spare time in the shop and not online reading *about* the shop. :-) I did, however, add quite a few new items to the Rust Hunting page.
September 22, 2005 - I've now posted a huge update to the site, per the two news items below. You'll notice that most pages reflect the orange asterisk beside their links, indicating they've been newly updated. The pages under the shop remodel section only contain formatting changes, not new content. However, many of the other pages are either new altogether or have updated or new content. Enjoy.

Meanwhile, I'm still working on some pages, getting their formatting inline with the redesign. I should have this finished in a day or two.
September 21, 2005 - Its true, its true. I can't leave well enough alone. The site has been once again redesigned. This time, it was warranted. Firstly, I've finally figured out how to display thumbnail galleries using CSS and without nested tables. This is big news for me and will allow me to trim down the page code significantly. So, while I'm at it, I'm reworking the site content.

You might also notice that I've moved some navigation to the right and added a cool little 'Random Shop Link' script. This link comes from all links currently on the links page. So, if the Random Shop Link has caught your eye, you might like the other links found there.

In addition, you'll now see a new link to the left devoted to this year's Central States Woodworker's BBQ, held by Terry Hatfield. You'll find my account of the event detailed on this page.

Plus, lots of other subtle little changes around the site, including some spiffy little vintage tool graphics sprinkled throughout.
September 20, 2005 - You might notice that I have removed the "Power Tools" page. This should give you an adequate hunch about the direction my work is taking in the shop. I still use my power tools, but my focus is moving to hand tools more and more. The 'tailed apprentice' just doesn't hold the same emphasis for me anymore.

Also of note, I've added a few other pages:
  1. One devoted to our beloved black labrador/Great Dane mix canine, Stingl. Why? Because I can.
  2. Another containing something like a 'Shop Journal' where I'll ruminate about many of the more etheral subjects which come up in the pursuit of shop Zen.

August 16, 2005 - I'm reading up on backyard metal casting and related topics these days. Here are some excellent links to check out if you're as intrigued by the idea as I am: On another note, here's one of the better links I've dug up about shops, hand tools and such: The Galoot's Progress.
August 4, 2005 - Thanks to my wife, I made a major rust find on Monday. See the rust hunting page for an update. I've also made some great progress on the bench, thanks to my recent acquisition of an MK.II sharpener.
July 29, 2005 - I've now added some PHP logic to the navigation bar on the left. The links contained there will now reflect an orange asterisk beside any page which has been updated in the past 2 weeks. Cool.
July 27, 2005 - I've revised the site's color scheme to be a bit less drab and dark, revised the navigation links to the left and updated various pages (Rust Hunting, workbench, etc.) Enjoy.
July 20, 2005 - New page added ("Recommended Stimuli"). On this page, you'll find links to the music I listen to most often while in the workshop. I plan to add short descriptions to each of them at some point. In additiion, I'll be posting links to books I've read that I think have particular relevancy to my work in the shop. [Although I've become intensely interested in woodworking and antique hand tools, this site is leaning more and more in the direction of tinkering notebook.]

I've also updated the workbench project page. Soon, I'll be taking good pictures of my hand tool collection/arsenal, posting those, adding content to the sharpener project page, and adding a new rust hunting page to document my search for and occasional discovery of old tools.