If there’s one thing in this world I’m pretty happy with it’s my shop. It’s not pretty or glamorous. Hell, it is about as redneck cluttered as it can be. But it’s MY shop and it’s a damn good shop as shops go. I spend a lot of time there making, fixing, or just contemplating. My shop is mostly a wood shop. I have a good collection of tools and equipment. My baby is my table saw. She gets one hell of a workout. I have a drill press and an electric coping saw, too. The drill press is very handy. The coping saw I don’t use much. It’s almost new. I bought it with the idea I’d make wooden guns/toys for sale. Made up a bunch but haven’t sold any. I’d sell the coping saw for a hundred bucks!
Of course I have all kinds of hand tools and power tools too. My drill gets used the most. I had to buy another one a few weeks ago, wore the chuck completely out on the other one I had. I have a jig saw, reciprocating saw, skill saw, router and …um… forget what you call it, like a router only smaller and faster. ha. It’ll come to me sooner or later. The router is in the pawn shop but I’ll be getting it out soon.
My shop is half work space and half museum. I inherited my dad’s tools and stuff. On the back wall I have hand tools that are very old. I have a tube checker! What’s that? It’s a device that checks the quality of electron tubes, the ones that used to be in radios and tvs. My dad worked on that stuff. The tube checker is probably a good 60 years old or more. I remember fooling with it when I was a wee kid. I have an old hay rake, a collection of old fashioned cross-cut hand saws, some other cool stuff. I have plow parts, a hay hook, even an old gasoline torch. My dad used that thing when I was a kid. I was sure he was going to blow himself up. I have no idea how to use it and I wouldn’t even try. It’d be KaBOOM!
There are very few hand tools in my shop that I haven’t had for decades. I haven’t actually bought a tool in years! (Well, that’s not true. I did buy one of those fancy pvc pipe cutters a few months ago. Easier than a hack saw! I love it.) With my green shack project I’m always snipping pieces of pipe for drains and stuff. There’s not a lot of tools I don’t have that one might need. Besides the ones in my tool pouch (the pouch is 30 years old!) or on my work bench I have a big metal cabinet full of older, less useful or extra tools. Ain’t nothing a bigger pain in the ass than needing a tool you ain’t got!
I built my shop several years ago from lumber I got from the deconstruction of my wife’s grandma’s house. The old house used to sit up at the end of our drive. Grandma Thigpen was a sweet person. She was in her nineties when she passed in 1992. Couple years later my pawinlaw took the house down and my shop went up.
I got junk, too. It’s really hard for me to throw anything away. When I decide to make something or have to fix something I clamber over my junk boxes, piles, and etc., for parts and stuff to do the job with. I keep screws and nails and bolts, too. I am always needing something out of a bin here or there.
Sometimes just for the hell of it I take stuff apart. I took apart a broken microwave oven the other day. Totally cool parts in that thing! Sometimes I scrounge and invent some kind of thing I need and sometimes I work all day and it don’t work. I mounted a washing machine motor on an old tiller with a dead motor. It works pretty damn well so far. Some other projects, well, not always so good. Ya live and learn.
My dad and I opened a repair shop once. I was going to fix appliances and him electronics. It was the wrong era, though. Appliances were becoming junk that cost less to replace than repair and solid state electronics was slipping away from dad’s expertise. It was fun for a while, though. Never made any money at it but had quality time together! Our motto was “we fix anything but a broken heart.” ha.
The thing is, people these days spend small fortunes on repair bills because they don’t know shit and don’t know when they’re getting ripped off, which is often. I worked for a couple of shady service companies through the years. I refused to screw customers though. Cost me a job or two. I could tell stories! Even the legitimate repair companies make a mint doing easy stuff your average homeowner should know how to do. It amazes me how many guys I run across these days who don’t know which end of a screwdriver to use. It’s worse with younger people. Sad. I’m not always good with esthetics but there’s nothing around a house I can’t fix and/or know nothing about.
Today I rebuilt the pedestal for my table saw. I put a bucket under it to collect the sawdust. I fill a five gallon bucket with sawdust ever few weeks. Last Monday I rearranged everything to make room for a wood stove. I am so looking forward to cold weather! I have my dad’s old pot belly stove I’ve talked about putting in there for years. Now that I have a good chainsaw and can stock up with wood I’m going to get it installed. Come winter I’ll just hang out there and watch the fire! Yeah, baby, maybe cook some campfire coffee on top! Gonna be goooood!
Anyway, so here’s my shop. It represents a lot of what I do these days. Some days I go fishing, though. Anybody want to come along?
I thought that was a pretty sharp title! A few weeks ago I ran across a website called Instructibles, a pretty cool website where people share ideas, plans, pictures and video of projects they’ve done. It has a wide variety of stuff from cooking to woodwork to survival. Browsing the site I realized I could populate an entire section on that website with stuff I’ve done over the years. I’ve built and torn down houses! My house and yard right now is testimony to my incredible (ha!) skills… and proof that Buddha was right, nothing is permanent. SO, I figured from now on I would take the time to document some of the projects I create and post them online.
Most of the projects I undertake are done out of necessity. They are Trailerpark Scholar projects designed and built to take the place of something that could have been bought if I had the dough. A few plans on the drawing board will require new stuff, like the porch project. But those will be done along the way when we get the money to do them.
I have no idea what projects I will come up with until I have an inspiration to do them. I need something or have some kind of idea I head to the shop and do it. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. My shop is littered with funny looking little flops. But learning is experimenting. And around here experimenting is the word of the day because I almost never have exactly what I need. I just make do.
Anyway, so here are my creations. Physical proof that I truly am weird! I have them here in PDF. Follow the link and then find the PDF! These files are made using Microsoft Word 2011 and CutePDF.
July 2, 2011 – Creating a Light Strip from old Christmas Lights
July 3, 2011 – The Power Tree
July 4, 2011 – Down and Dirty Power Chord Reel
July 27, 2011 – Automatic Water Level Control