Sunday, May 11, 2014

Random Thoughts

After a good lunch and a couple of  beers I'm in no hurry to go to the shop, I've finished all outstanding projects so shop time, if any, will be spent cleaning up the shop and sharpening iron. If I get real ambitious I could pull out some lumber for the next projects and rough dimension it, but I expect most of the day will be spent scratching doggie butt, geeking, and maybe since MsOK isn't here watching "House of Cards".

One of the things on my mind is I'm often asked to teach a class on whatever, most of the time I turn it down flat, same with folks asking me to build something for money. Now, I have an open shop, if someone wants to come by I will be happy to show them how to do whatever, saw a dovetail, chop a mortice, sharpen iron or saws, build or restore a plane, whatever they would like to see. I just do not want to teach a class, too much like work. Same with building things for money. Once money enters, it is no longer fun, you are no longer an amateur, it becomes work. Money is the apple, I've ruined too many enjoyable functions such as flying airplanes, skiing, and so on by doing it for money.....Ain't going to happen again.

This morning, at the wood store, someone asked about why hand tools vs. machines. My answer as always is it is easier and quicker if you are doing one off projects. Not necessarily better, it would be tough to be more precise and consistent than a well set up jig and machine and if you do production work the machine and jig wins hands down. But for the type of work I do, hand tools work good enough and are quicker. An example is sharpening, a well set up jig will return a consistent sharp iron but it takes time to use. By sharpening free hand, I sharpen much more often because it is quick and truth be known I think a free hand sharpened iron with a slight convex bevel is as sharp as the best jig or machine sharpened iron and has a stronger edge as well. YMMV. Another example is a M/T joint, using a saw and a pig sticker I can cut and chop the eight M/T joints for a table in less time than the jig set up and by draw boring they don't get stronger. Pretty much the same story with dovetails, four for a box I can usually saw and chop as fast, more the jig wins.

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