January 22, 2017

2016 Year in Review and Looking Forward to 2017

Last year was a fun year in the shop. I made a lot of things for the shop to get it ready for all the new power tools.  Yes, I moved away from just hand tools. Now I’m about 60/40 power vs hand tools.  I love my hand tools and would love nothing more than to be a hand tool only shop, but I do so love the speed of the power tools. If I were only doing this on the weekend to relax from an office job, I would only use hand tools.  I found people didn’t want to pay for hand tools only, nor did they want to wait for them either.  I guess that could be on me, I will admit I wasn’t the fastest hand tool guy!

At first, I thought of ways to try to speed up the process with hand tools.  Planing and joining boards was incredibly time consuming, compared to the machine time.  I could have paid the hardwood dealers I buy from to mill the boards, but the cost per board foot would go up and I felt that would be a waste of material.  Whenever I can, I buy my lumber in the rough, just over an inch for 4/4 material.  If I paid the lumber yard to plane it, I would have to decide before I go what thickness I wanted everything or at least be ok with the thinnest part of the board being the thickness of the whole board.  So my move into power tools started with moving the biggest chore of milling board s4s to power tools.  That opened the door to power tools, which I end up running through.  Do I regret it? Not one bit.  It allowed me to get so many more projects done in one year then I ever thought I could.  So to quote Sam Maloof “…become a purist who won’t use power tools at all, well, that’s okay. But be prepared-you may starve to death.”

So I have adopted Sam Maloof’s and Wharton Esherick’s philosophy, to use whatever I have to in order to get the job done. So with that in mind, I moved the shop from just hand tools to a mix of power and hand tools.  Last year was mostly about getting the shop up and running, with a few other projects throughout the year. It was a great year though.

For this year, I have a few more things to build for the shop.  I need to build a new tool cabinet for my hand tools, since I keep adding to that collection, and a couple of wall cabinets for odds and ends.  I hope to get to challenge myself with builds and designs.  I will be using this blog more as a wood working journal.  Hopefully there will be more wins than failures, but if there aren’t failures, then I’m not pushing myself hard enough!  Looking forward to 2017.

Leave a Reply