Here I sit planning a new business in our town and I just notice that all a round us other businesses are going out of business. In the last twelve months there has been at lease three major companies closed their doors including Palm Harbor Home who manufactured low cost prefab homes. Mac Tools have and slowed down their production. Our main street has many more unoccupied store fronts then occupied ones. So why! I ask you would I want to try to start a business in a town that looks like it is for lack of a better term dying.
Well I think that on a whole, little towns all across the country are going though the same type changes with business closing or moving off shore, and with gas going to four dollars a gallon people really can’t afford to live out here and drive to the city. I know we are paying almost 20% of every dollar my wife make just for her to drive to work and for some people it much higher. So again why should I try to start a woodworking business in my little town?
As I thought about this and I have giving it a lot of thought I came up with this, I believe that small business is what is going to drive any recovery we have in this economy especially for small towns like ours. I think it’s time that small towns like these needs to try to make it more attractive for small businesses to open up and do business in them. I also think its time to go back to living and working in the same community that you live. I know that’s one thing I think we lost and with it a sense of community. When business owners live in the same community that they do business they are more likely to be more involved in that community because it is also their home. Wouldn’t it be great to see pride in our towns come back and I’ m not talking about that few days a year like we now we do it now.
The how? now that’s the hard part. I have notice in several of the magazines’ I read, in their classifieds they have been posting for artist and crafts people wanting them to consider moving to their towns. They have come up with special finance on housing and studio space some towns have even purchased abandoned factories and convert them to workshops studios, and retail space. Some of these communities have attract some of the top artist in there fields and in turn they offer apprenticeships’ which attract people from all over the country, both to learn and shop for their wares. This has helped to open bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, restaurants, other small gifts shops, antique shops and a host of other small businesses that help to revive and energize a small town.
So this is just one example of how small businesses can revive a dying little town. It would take time, patients, money, talent, and above all faith. So do I think I will start a business in my dying little town, why yes, and who knows maybe I will be planting the seed of change or I could just fall on flat on butt and go broke. But I will never know unless I try, will I, so all I can do now is do my homework, save my money, plan the best I can, and go for it.
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The Glen Drake Workshop
Tonight, my business partner who is also my lovely wife, and I had the pleasure of attending a Glen Drake Workshop on tools and techniques, and he gave a demonstration of all the unique tools that he sells. He demonstrated some very interesting tools from his Tite-Mark™ marking gauge right down to his wild wild west saw, which was a very interesting saw with its two handles and no teeth at the beginning and end of the blade that it was designed to work with his Kerf-Starter™ a kind of a one tooth saw that works like a scraper removing a thin path of wood the same thickness as the kerf of your saw. So now your saw already has a small kerf to start its cut in. He has also come up with an ingenious way of laying out the assembly clearances right into your layout lines. Now you can achieve an almost machine quality fit with your hand cut joinery and still retain the softness of hand cut work.
Glen talked about how each woodworker brings to this art the experiences of other things in their life’s and how those experiences shape how they approach the way they do their woodworking. For him he was a musician and then later a programmer and he talked about how being a musician taught him to practice, practice, and practice some more before actually going out and playing for the world a finished version of what he did. Woodworkers on the other hand seem to do it just the opposite, most get into woodworking because of a need that has to be filled and a lack of money to fill it so they build it, then find that hey this is ok I like doing this, its even fun. So then they set off to learn how to build and then start practicing the craft. He talked about as a programmer he learned how to deconstructed and think about all the what-ifs and how that helped him in his woodworking and his tool business. He said what made him start designing tools was is aggravation in the tools that he was using on a day to day basis. I guess if necessity is the mother of invention then aggravation is it’s cruel aunt.
One of those innovated designs he has is his hammers, and his hammers are some of the best I think I’ve ever picked up and in 30 years of swinging hammers I have picked up a lot of hammers. Going back to his music although he didn’t say what instrument he played I kind of got the feeling that he was a drummer, and from his drumming experience is where I think he came up with the unique handles on his hammers. When you first see his hammers the first thing you notice about them is the fine workmanship that goes into making them Then you will notice that his chisel hammers have bent handles because they are made for left and right handed people. They sit very comfortably in the palm of your hand and because of the bend of the handle you can work with your wrists in a very natural feeling position. One other feature I really liked about these hammers is that they had a domed head and the flat head; the doomed is good for striking chisels with a flat face handle and the flat head is good for a striking chisel with a doomed face handle.
He also makes these hammers in a very short handle version he calls the Tite-Hammers™ they are made to be held very close to your chest when working close up. They would be very handy for a craver or somebody’s doing very close work. My business partner alias wife really like the Tite-Hammers™ one of her hobbies is jewelry making and she works really a close all the time and regular hammers are always getting in her way. Plus she really like to finish on the hammer I could see her making some kind of jewelry out of it or at lease decorating the handle on it.
It was a very good wookshop we really enjoyed the evening. I also enjoyed meeting Glen Drake and all the people from Popular Woodworking, although we didn’t buy any tool’s we are planning on buying some in the future. I did buy Chris Schwartz’s book on Work Benches and had him sign it for me plus we got to see the popular woodworking shop and meet the most of the editors. I got to meet and talk to one of my favorite editors Glen Huey, and see the table that he build in their last issue We got a peek at some of their upcoming project that they are building for the next issue of Woodworking Magazine, so it was the very nice evening. I hope to get invited back again the people from Popular Woodworking and F&W Publications did a great job. The food was great, and people were great, and any time woodworkers together and talk about tools and woodworking you know the conversations was great. We wish you all could’ve been there but since you wasn’t I hope my little blog here will give you a little taste of the evening. So remember to keep the sawdust out of your eyes and stay safe.
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I would like to say, I think when Marc Spagnuolo of the Wood Whisperer declared May 5th through May 9th safety week it was a great idea. I know there will be a lot of people going over use of safety equipment, like respirators, hearing protection, and how important it is the use the guards on your saw and they all are very important. But one of the most important things that I think we overlooked as woodworkers is our backs.
I am saying this from my own experience, because in 1992. I was working for small shop on Saturdays, while I was running my own cabinet and trim business through week. On this particular Saturday my employer asked me to help him move his table saw. Now he had a large cabinet saw with a 7 hp three-phase motor that was capable of cutting 60 inches right of the blade. So this was a big, big saw and to make things worse it was a small shop, with lots of tools. So we had muscle this saw to where it was going. While we were moving it somewhere in the process I felt a little pain in my lower back. Than a little later I was laminating some table tops after I glued down the tops I would stack them about seven high and then place a couple of five gallon buckets of water on top of them as a clamp until the glue dried. After about my third set I reached down to pick up a bucket and about half way up. I felt a snap in my back, and I fell to the ground. That was in 1992, three surgeries, many hours of PT and almost one year are not being able to walk, all because of a few careless moments of not watching how I was picking something up.
So when you’re in your shop muscling around them heavy sheets of plywood, you would do well, to be very careful of your back, where a back brace, stretch, and loosing up them muscles a little. If you need to move heavy items go inside get some help, call your neighbor, and use your tables or some other type of holding jigs. I am here to tell you it really isn’t worth it to hurt your back over trying to saw a sheet of particle board or man handle that piece of furniture up on your work bench.
I hope some of this is a little bit of a reminder to watch your back. I know I still have to remind myself to watch my body position. Even after all I’ve been through. Well, that’s my little spiel on safety. So keep the saw dust out of your eyes and live long and prosper
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two dollar workbench top
ast night I went to the auction in the town where I live and could not believe what they had on the auction block, it was a vintage beech workbench top with a wooden vice. It didn’t seem like no one wanted it so I made a starting bid of two dollars, and my bid turned out to be the only bid. So, I got this workbench top for two dollars. The top is in rough shape but I think I can bring it back with a little work and a new base.
Last week at this same auction, I was able to buy an older metal seven inch vice for five dollars. Again, I thought more people would want this vice. I opened the bid for five dollars, and again, I was the only one who bided on it. At this same auction that night they sold two pieces of pine 2 x 4 that had several holes drilled in them and was held together with two quarter-inch bolts and wing nuts. The auctioneer called them homemade shop clamps and there was a lively exchange of bidding, and these sold for seven dollars each and there wasn’t $.50 worth of hardware holding together those two boards. So I guess I’m lucky to be going to an auction with people who do not know the value of good woodworking tools.
I’ve been going to these auctions trying to fine some older planes and saws. Who knows, maybe I will get lucky and run across a few more jewels in the process. One can never know. I did notice they had a pile of rough sawed lumber and maybe a I’ll will get lucky and get that pile of lumber at a good price
I will post some pictures of my treasures and the progress I have in restoring them. I’ll keep everyone updated the best I can. I hope to start building the base and bring the top back to some kind of usable condition. Until then keep the saw dust out of your eyes.
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This was a bookcase I designed a while ago. I pulled it out of my design book and dusted it off and I entered it in the recent Lumberjock – Popular Woodworking bookcase design contest. Although it was not a winner I still feel it was a good design. I may of done better in the contest if I would of remembered the words of one my English professors from my college days she always said “you have to write to your audiences” well I guess when you are designing for a contest that is going to published your design it is a lot like writing a paper for an English class. I didn’t design it with that audience in mind, which in this case would have been the magazine. I rush in and submitted what I thought was a good design, one that was original, but it wasn’t one that really fit the format of the magazine. It was just not the kind of project that they published on a regular basis. More over I kind of knew that going into it, because I have been reading their magazine for many years, and I still went with this design, because; I just knew there was going to be a lot of arts and craft, and green and green style entries, and did not want to enter another one. So, I thought, a federal style bookcase that set low might make an impression, and it did make on the Popular Woodworking’s Blog.
I might one day get to build this bookcase, I think it would look really nice in a living room, maybe a dining room, or even behind a sofa. The design I think it would certainly challenge one skill to build.
One other thing that I think might of hurt me in the contest is I hand drew my entry, and I notice all the winners was summited in Sketchup. Maybe it would have helped to get my vision of my bookcase across better. This is certainly a skill that I need to work on. So I didn’t win, I really didn’t expect to. I did learn a little, and I put myself out there, and in the end I know that the editors picked the right bookcase, it sure is the one I would of picked if I had their job.
Right now, if I was to build a bookcase for my home. it would probably have an arts and crafts style to it because my wife leans more to the arts and crafts furniture and the table shes wants me to build is an arts and crafts style table and a bookcase would look good setting in our dining room full of woodworking books.
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Welcome to WordPress.com. Hello world, This is my first post. I am hoping to share with the world some of my thoughts, triumphs, and defeats in woodworking. I have been a carpenter slash cabinetmaker most of my adult life. I have work in some of the finest homes in the Cincinnati area. both doing trim work, cabinets, and woodworking. I have build furniture, but not as much as I would of like in my career. I have work on commercial jobs so I have a Wide range of knowledge. I have been educated as a carpenter at a Vocational school and as a woodworker at the University of Cincinnati. I have own my own carpentry business and a cabinet shop where I mostly build kitchens and commercial cabinets for small businesses and an occasionally piece of furniture. Now that you some of my back ground let me tell you where I am hoping to go.
I am hoping to opening a small shop in a small town where I can build furniture and wooden craft items to sell. my wife and I also hope to do mosaic tile and stain glass work that will incorporate into my woodwork so I guess you could say we are evolving into sort of a mixed media type artist. we also hope to teach classes in the shop to help off set some of the expense.
well thats is our plans. I will be posting weekly accounts of our progress as we struggle to reach our goals thank for reading and keep us in your good thoughts
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