15 May 2021

How I Keep My Shop Tidy

 I am not a neat freak but I am not a slob either.  I do like things neat and tidy in my shop.  Mostly it brings me joy when I walk by it and see it ready for work.  Life and the world is messy, I can't control almost all of it.  Keeping some control over the shop helps me feel better.  Also, I believe that a messy shop increases the risk for an accident for all kinds of reasons.  The way that I keep my shop clean is that when I am out of breath from doing some hand tool work, I sweep up the shavings and give the bench a quick shop vac.  It takes just a minute or two and is a good low level activity while I am recovering my breath.  The trick to keeping a pile of tools from building up on the bench is to frequently put them back in their place as I'm working.  Again, I'm not obsessive about it.  Would love to hear if you have any simple tricks that have become habits.




08 May 2021

Anyone Else Have a Shop Dog or Cat?

 I like some company when I'm out in the garage woodworking.  Mostly, it's my dog Tango, a black lab.  It's a delight when she is there.  She can also hangout by the garage door when it is opened and see the world go by.  Not a bad life for her I think.  When the garage doors are closed, sometimes the cats will come out to see what is going on but they don't spend too much time in the shop.  How about you, do you have a pet that likes to keep you company?



01 May 2021

Ready for Summer

 I grew up one mile from the ocean.  As such, the temperature was well moderated.  Summers in my town were mostly in the 60s F and foggy.  As I kid, I loved it.  Rarely did it get hot.  As an adult, I can't afford to live in the town I grew up in.   I live 50 miles due east where the homes are more affordable (as if that word can be used when describing any homes in the San Francisco Bay Area).  


It's a nice town BUT it is hot.  Very hot.  Oh my, is it hot.  Most of the summer is in the 90s.  Often high 90s.  Having grown up where it is in the 60s most days, I have never been able to fully adjust.  I can easily deal with going around town and running errands.  However, it is unpleasant to be working in the insulated garage with hand tools.  There is some physicality to it which gets me hot and sweaty and just just don't enjoy woodworking as much during the summer when it is hot in the garge.  I've put up with it for the past 5 years but wanted to do something about it.  I tried a small portable 18,000 BTU system that I vented through the garage door screen that it wasn't adequate.


I ended up saving up for the last three or four years for a mini split system.  Since I have a three car garage we went with a 3 ton unit.  A few months ago it was installed.  Needless to say, this summer should be much better than prior ones.  One mounts directly onto an exterior wall and into the studs which I marked with blue tape to help the installers.  For the other wall closer to the workbench, there wasn't enough wall to really locate the unit where we wanted.  I put a 3 x 5 piece of Baltic birch onto the wall so that we could mount the AC unit a bit further out.  It will blow cool air onto me.  I can't wait! 





Given the cost of homes in the San Francisco Bay Area and knowing what the other options realistically area, it's highly unlikely we will sell and move but never say never.  When we bought the home, we specifically looked for features so that we could easily age in this home as I've seen what helps and hinders in a home as you get older.  Given I am in the garage on the order of 20 hours or more a week woodworking, I will get plenty of satisfaction out of it.  I certainly didn't do this with any pretense it adds value to the home.