Advice Really Needed

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As I wrote in my last blog, I have become interested in doing some hobby woodworking.  Whenever the lockdown ends and things get back to “normal” I hope to take a course at one of the community centres or a night school course at one of the high schools–in Ontario, it is common to run community programs out of the high schools.  It helps ease the financial burden on the school boards.  The benefit of this is both instruction and access to equipment.

However, no one knows what the post lockdown era is going to look like.  Will these courses run?  Will insurance for these courses or physical distancing rules make them prohibitively expensive?  We really don’t know.  It is most likely that they won’t run for this year.

I took stock of my equipment and I have enough pieces to do some hobby work.  The only tough one is the band saw.  I got a band saw from a friend when he decided the band saw wasn’t safe enough to have around his children.  He had bought it used at a garage sale.

I took a look at it and it is going to need some cleaning, oiling, and I am going to have to replace the blade.  My only question is, should I?  It would be infinitely easier to just buy a whole new saw.  It would also be more expensive.  I just don’t know enough about saws and their maintenance to make an informed decision.

I could also buy a table saw, which seems less intimidating and would probably make straight cuts.  Yet, if I go down that route, I could end up with a lot of expensive dust collectors, or worse massive credit card bills.

Readers, I would love your advice.

Bitten Again

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It has been a year since I wrote in this blog.  I haven’t given up my hobbies, I have just been pouring all my blogging energy into my other blog.

I have been bitten by the hobby bug again.  I want to become a Maker.  I am not sure why I put a capital M on that, but being a Maker looks better than being a maker.  I have always wanted to make a clear resin container for the gearshift knob from my first car.  I kept it when we sent the car to the scrap heap.  I had always liked those clear paperweights, but didn’t know what they were called.

So, I searched YouTube and found out that they make them out of epoxy nowadays.  I found a whole bunch of people with incredible shops full of the best and most amazing tools turning out cool projects on a weekly basis.  They’ve got dedicated shops and shops crammed into one and two car garages.  They’ve got it all.

These videos cause a bit of envy, but I also know that the pressure to create, and the pressure to maintain an audience is high.  I also see that companies that do sponsorship for these channels seem to be demanding more explicit advertising.  A quick glimpse of the product is no long enough to warrant the amount of money these companies are spending to provide the tools.

So, I do what I always do.  I have bought a woodworking magazine and watched a bunch more videos.  I would have taken a whole stack of magazines out of the library–but thanks to Covid-19 or the Coronavirus, the library is closed.  I have gone to Amazon and made out a list of books I might buy–then again, I hope that I can just take then out of the library at first.  While some might be worth having, others may not.  Others may not be appropriate for my low skill level.

I don’t have a lot of tools, but I probably have enough to make a box or so some stuff with epoxy.  I am certainly not going to rush out and buy a cabinet saw, a drill press, a router, a jointer, a planer, a spindle sander, and a mitre saw–though of course I want to .

For that matter, I am not really sure what I want to build.  I was thinking of a planter for the back yard.  I wouldn’t mind building a jewelry box for my girlfriend–but that might be a curse because she might be expecting me to fill it also.

I’ve got a band saw–but it would need a new blade.  I’ve got a router table, a jig saw, and a detail sander. I also have a drill.   I am sure I could put something together.

Any advice you could give me about tools, or easy beginner projects would be wonderful.  I would be interested in books or videos–also if you could get me sponsored by a Canadian tool company, that wouldn’t hurt either.   Conversely, if you have a way to discourage me from starting another hobby, that would also be appreciated.

Hobbies I would take up: The bottom 5 (part 3)

I’m a guy.  Not a particularly enlightening sentence (and much shorter than I allow most of my students to construct) but true nonetheless.  As a guy, I come with typical guy attitudes and stereotypes.  One of those is guys should be good with tools, have lots of tools, and be able to talk about tools.  This does not discount women.  I have met women who met all three criteria.  I am not inept with tools, and I have quite a few of them, and I have completed a project or two.  However, there will not be a reality show featuring me completing wonderful and complex projects in a quick half hour.  The problem is, sometimes, I wish I could.

I wish I had more time, energy and talent to build wonderful pieces of furniture.  I hate going to stores and seeing the crappy, particle board furniture that is ubiquitous.  I want to build beautiful solid wood pieces.  I’m talking about a new headboard, a new TV stand, wood paneling for the pool room (someday), a coffee table with a train layout in the bottom.  The problem is a lack of pure talent, space, energy, and money. The last being rather important because good wood is rather expensive–and the lack of talent could only lead to beginner mistakes and more purchases of lumber.

At to this that well made, ornate furniture would probably require some carving or filigree (thank you spell checker) and that requires talent.

Someday, I may take this up, starting small of course (bird house, deck) and work my way up to coffee table, or end table.  However, until that time, I guess I will have to shop at better places.