ring the bell

It’s the start of a new semester, a new school year, and a new wood working season.  For some, this might seem odd, starting new in September.  It seems that most wood workers follow the example of many European individuals by taking the month of August off.  There are several reasons for this, but that’s only part of my new beginning.

For many wood workers, the month of August is the hottest and most uncomfortable month to be doing wood work.  If you are fortunate enough to have a climate controlled shop location, this does not slow you down.  Not everyone can justify this expense.  For hobbyists, this is particularly rough; your shop is often squeezed into some spare space in the living space.  Garages, basements, or backyard sheds all have needs on the family budget, and every budget is different.

The dedicated shop, either a well-planned hobby shop or a professional location, also needs to factor in expenses, but from a different standpoint.  The “small hobbyist” is usually only concerned with the time in shop, while the larger shop needs to factor this as a more fixed expense – possibly broken down into a per-project cost.

Phyiscal problems aside, this is also the time that families spend together, that last gasp of fun in the summertime fuel tank.  Kids go off to school, college students leave the home and set up a bedroll somewhere away from the family, and recently graduated students either realize their time is open but the accounts are shut, or find employment to address the account issues.  As a result, there is a lot of demands on individual time.

I am also trying to find material to present.  Several times this year, I have been contemplating and drafting a post, only to receive notification from the various sites I follow that they have done that very topic.  From the question of woodworking burnout addressed by Matt Vanderlist of Matt’s Basement Workshop, to the simple or easy projects suggested in a book mentioned by Marc  Spanguolo at theWoodwhisperer.com, these topics have been my planned course this summer.  Popular Woodworking has been touching on Arts and Crafts furniture, with material offered by Chuck Bender, one of the respected names and authorities on the style.

All of this and more has left me with the option of a “ditto” post, or a “me, too” statement.  You deserve better than this.  You also shouldn’t be left with a silence from me, either.  As I struggled and floundered with material for this summer, I found myself falling further behind in production.  In the end, I ended up with the month of August off, albeit for completely different reasons.

The drawbacks of an outdoor shop were exposed to me greatly this summer, as I dealt with weather that did not cooperate, budgets that were inflexible, family crises, and a general creativity block.  In short, life. But there are still some things left to be said.  So I will do what I can to say them.

One secret to getting work done successfully in five minutes is having a space or process that allows you to just step in and begin.  If you need to set up anything, that can detract from both energy and motivation.  Since I don’t have a truly dedicated space, I will attempt to show a more improvised style.  I hope you will join me as I grow in experience and scope.

And to start that, next week will begin a series on every wood worker’s secret bane and self-defining project: the workbench.  Trust me when I say I don’t think you should expect me to say what you’ve already heard.


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