Shop time increasing

Things are pretty decent right now, shop-wise. I’m getting more time in as school winds down for the semester, and I’m about ready to take on a couple of projects potentially over the winter break.

Something I’m working on right now is helping my daughter make a Christmas present for my wife. It’s a way for her to enjoy some shop time with me and make something for her mom. Win-win. I won’t say what it is on the rare chance she actually reads this site. Probably not, but you never know. All I can say is that there is purpleheart absolutely everywhere.

For the upcoming router table redo and the bookcase(s) I want to do for the house, I wanted to keep going with the hardwood edging that I did with the finish cabinet, but further refine the task and look. To achieve that, I crossed off one of my long-term wishes by ordering a set of MLCS 60° edge banding bits. They arrived late today, and I know I’m going to enjoy using them. The trick will be deciding which wood I want to use for everything. I do have some soft maple that I could use up…

The clamps I ordered on Black Friday arrived this week, but I haven’t removed them from the packages. Why? Because before I even ordered them I was already over capacity in my clamp rack. I have to make a decision about if I want to go buy another metal clamp rack, or get into the business of making them. It’s one of those projects that for some reason I don’t feel like doing. I can’t explain why. It would be super simple to make up a batch of three or four at a time. I think if I do build my own they would only be four or six wide, to better fit in and around the shop. This would also increase the amount of scrap I could use up, needing less wide material. I could also make something that looked similar for the other clamps. I suppose I’m leaning that way, aren’t I?

I had a dream the other night that I had a real table saw, one with a wider cast iron table and all the trimmings. I don’t know why, I never dream about woodworking or my shop at all. It got me thinking about adding something like a PM1000 with a 30″ table. It sure would be nice. I think I would even give up something to get it, like the lathe. Maybe something else, too.

Since that night, I’ve been doing some thinking about my shop on occasion. About adding a hybrid table saw. About building a new shop, about buying a new shop. I checked out a Tuff Shed 12×16 at Home Depot yesterday, I was fairly impressed. It would be $4000 plus tax, and it had a 12×4 loft area as well – perfect for sheet goods storage and perhaps something else. It wouldn’t meet code where I could put it, though. I’d have to apply for a variance, and I’ve already established just applying for one would be about $1000. I don’t really have $5000 to spend on this, and if I did, I would probably build something even bigger. I could just try to get away with it, I suppose. I could just build another 12×12 shop like was my plan. I have no idea what the supply costs would be. I had some serious thoughts about building a 12×16 platform where I had planned to build the shop, on concrete pillars. I wouldn’t bother trying to dig into the ground except where I would spot the pillars. Build the platform, cover it with a tarp, and come back to it when I could/when finances catch up. Until I could transform it into the new shop I would use it as a sitting area for the fire pit I planned to put out there. I hate my yard, I hate the way it slopes. If we had my in-laws yard, I’d have a new shop already. Huge, flat.

I may continue to look at my options, particularly the ones that involve having two buildings. One would be better, but I can only do so much with my property, and moving isn’t an option for at least a few years.

Anyway, today gives another opportunity to get some shop time in, mostly because I’m down to only two finals and a piece of homework to do for the semester. I’m sure my daughter will join me out there at some point to do more work on the gift, which I did some work on myself yesterday to help her out. I also think I may design the clamp rack. Other possibilities are that the big cabinet might come down and the finish cabinet gain a spot on the wall. I’ll also do a bit more cleanup to get ready for the router table build. I’m embarrassed to say I also have some stuff outside that needs to be disposed of as well.

It’s noon, I suppose the shop has warmed up enough to start this day.

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