It’s no secret that for at least the past 7 months I’ve returned to one of my passions in life, woodworking. It actually has little to do with the projects I complete but rather just the process of working with my hand and getting creative again. It’s not an easy hobby to maintain considering I live in a 10’x20′ one room apartment. Using power tools indoors is not really an option due to the excessive noise and sawdust. So, I’ve returned to the basic art of hand tool only woodworking. In some cases I’m breaking new ground here because I’ve always been a power tool kind of guy. Since the days of Norm Abrams on PBS I’ve strived to be a perfectionist.
Now keep in mind I also watch Roy Underhill, a devout hand tools only kind of craftsman. The work he did on live TV in just a half hour show amazed me. I envied his skill and knowledge. Roy was born in 1950, just one year after my birthday in 1949 so that makes him 66 now. He’s still practicing his craft although his shows now usually include a guest woodworker who does most of the project of the day. Roy runs a school to teach others the craft of woodworking.
This Christmas I’ve added significantly to my collection of hand tools, choosing quality over quantity. Living on a fixed income I have to pick my tools carefully, shopping diligently for the best prices. My prize tool in this hunt for perfection is the new Lie-Nielsen brass low angle block plane, my first plane purchase ever. I’m excited because my UPS package tracker tells me my order is on the big brown truck heading my way today. 🙂
I haven’t been idly been sitting around waiting for the right tools to arrive though as I’ve been building my collection of homemade tools to use in conjunction with those store bought items. Yesterday, after two deliveries from UPS that gave me my new Stanley Quick Vises, I promptly built a jig to hold my wood securely on my little workbench. It’s a design of my own creation, utilizing two of the Quick Vises to secure wood on edge for planing, or mortising of edge treatment. It does a great job and cost me little compared to a full workbench and a Moxon vise. You can see my simple invention below. What fun!