Monday, 18 May 2015

The state of the workshop

Long story short? Skip down to the very last paragraph.


This is all that's happened in the workshop in the last months.

It was the hugest mess that you can possibly imagine, with tools, materials and boxes piled high in no order whatsoever. You could barely step in to open the window.

Oh. This has also been going on. The resident pigeons rebuilt the nest after I had to remove it, together with two laid eggs, from the original hayloft windowsill so the window and roof workers would not disturb an occupied nest. It was a bit sad but I had to do it.
On the rebuilt nest, they have already raised three chicks, in two batches.
It's currently occupied:

Loki goes crazy over this, of course, so meanwhile I covered the window with some cardboard.

This past weekend was a long one so we armed ourselves with valour and cleaned up the workshop.
We put the still boxed contents of the workshop (the original ones) in the staircase landings, and then organised the contents of the workshop (the new ones, all the tools, paint etc we got for renovating the house). What took the longest was organising all the screws in a small cabinet with little drawers!

I was surprised that everything fit in the three shelves we put up there and a few toolboxes. All in all took like two days (not intense ones, it's boring work).
Then Pim put a tarp over it all and started to plaster the room. The ceiling is nearly done, then he'll do the walls. Then we'll paint. And then, finally! we'll place the floorboards and baseboards, then I'll apply the finish.
Hopefully by then this room will stop coughing up sand and dust into the rest of the house? And it'll hopefully be of some use, too.

Which brings me to... workshop work. I haven't enamelled or done any metalwork in like two years, probably more, who's counting? I don't see it happening any time soon either (and when it does, I bet it's gonna be some champlev√©: a house number and a postbox cover). First of all because the workshop won't be ready, and second because I want to make it real nice. Not just to have a real nice workshop but because I love wood and I've always wanted to get into woodworking and this is the best chance I’m gonna get.

So I'm determined to stick yet another pursuit into the workshop (and my time), and build the workshop at the same time. I had read a couple woodworking books over the years and overall just sighed a lot (and fawned upon and cleaned up old furniture) until recently I discovered the hand tool revival movement, or whatever you want to call it, and realised that *this* is feasible, useful, enjoyable as fuck and well within my capabilities, budget and space constraints.
I just don't enjoy working with power tools at all, and they're expensive, big and noisy. And ugly, I'll admit that’s a factor for me.

Anyway. I've been trolling eBay a little, getting a tool here and there*, reading lots, watching videos, got a subscription to (which is awesome) and bidding my time. I still have many tools to get in order to have a basic set (this prospect is heaven to a tool lover). Old tools in many cases! Most cases! I do my best!

And I have to build a workbench :) This is of course a large space investment in a smallish workshop (I've got 12 m² plus a staircase landing where the kilns go), so it'll of course double as metalworking bench. A nice woodworking vise is perfectly capable of holding a drawplate, amirite?
Not sure yet were I'll bolt the rolling mill, it may be bothersome on the woodworking bench, so perhaps it'll go on the jewellery bench. May have to put casters on the woodworking bench... The sort that comes up when not in use, you don't want to pull on a drawplate with casters rolling all over the place...

So now I'm busy in sketchup trying to come up with a layout. Pulling my hair out!
I need to pack a couple benches, a desk somewhere, a kitchenette thing (storage and a sink, basically), and LOTS of storage for all the shit. That while of course accommodating the boiler and water pipes which are in this room... and will have to be covered up with some cabinet.

I'm trying to get Pim interested in the woodworking thing, with little success... so far ;) I still think he may use the bench also, and accommodating our 20cm height difference might be a challenge. I do not want to do woodworking in high heels. If he doesn't show interest any time soon, I might have to ignore his height ;)

*you want to know which tools that might be? So far I got a tenon saw that needs to be sharpened, a fillister plane that needs to be sharpened, a pair of tongue and groove planes that need to be sharpened, a gouge that needs to be sharpened, a Record #4, Stanley #4 and Stanley #4 1/2 (the three were a lot) that need to be sharpened, a wooden jack plane and a shitty metal block plane (another lot) that needs to be sharpened... do you see a pattern? I need to get me some sharpening plates soon and start practicing. A random collection of tools... I only have one chisel that I bought years ago** when I needed to fix a broken chair! but yeah I pick the deals as I find them.

** do you want a footnote on a footnote?? 
I went to check. That was in 2008! and 2010 because that's how long it takes me to finish things (it says "because I have two chairs, second to be finished by 2020 or so" sounds just about right). I did this when I had no fucking idea whatsoever (literally, I didn't know the name for a chisel... in English anyway, and a rung was a "stick" :D). The chair is still fine.


Soooo, what I'm trying to say, is this is probably gonna become also a (not ever updated, it seems) woodworking blog.