In my last post, I gave a broad image of where I've been on this woodworking journey. I briefly touched on how I went from a backyard woodworker to sharing two shops with my mentor; John.
No discussion of my journey would be complete without discussing John's influence and help. He wasn't a huge name in woodworking circles, but he did me a huge favor by taking me under his wing and teaching me some of the essential skills.
When I started out I had never used many of the major tools that a typical shop has. I knew how to make cuts with a bandsaw (but nothing about set-up or blade changing), how to chuck up a bit and poke holes in a board at the drill press (and I suppose a drill/driver) and how not to sand my fingertips off using a belt/disc sander. Circular saws weren't quite terrifying, but it was a close thing. Of course the only circular saw I'd ever used was this extremely homeowner grade Black & Decker plastic encased tool.
John didn't have big fancy tools, or a big fancy shop, but he had a big heart and welcomed this complete novice into his shop. He had mostly 60's vintage craftsman... drill press, jointer, sander and an 8" belt drive tablesaw:
That saw was vastly underpowered, but you know, it Was a belt drive tablesaw. It had a fence (barely) that Might stay at 90°, and absolutely one safety feature... the little yellow pull out thingamajig on the switch.
Every single time I used that saw I cringed... but I learned an incredibly valuable lesson from it: The blade is to be respected and you MUST pay strict attention to where it is and where your fingers are in relation to it.
John had a pretty well set up shop all things considered, and I loved going over to putter around there. Here's his chopsaw stand. Nothing fancy saw wise... I think it came from Harbor Freight... but it was a sliding compound miter saw.
You can see his drill press, the lumber rack over the chopsaw station and ample supply of clamps.
About a year or so into our partnership Rigid tools moved their manufacturing overseas to Taiwan, and Home depot cleared out all of the Emerson built saws. I splurged and picked up one of the 'last' 3612 table saws which soon replaced old reliable in our shop.
|brand new 3612|
|New saw with tenoning jig|
In those two photos you have a pretty complete view of most of the shop... it had concrete floor through most of it... zero insulation. Certainly not fancy, but definitely a Shop.
We had about a 30'x40' bay with high sloped ceilings:
the image on the right was looking down from the loft to my corner of the shop. We had a 4x7' outfeed/work table where my ridgid was the centerpiece of the shop.
Here was my messy workbench:
Eventually because of the rent steadily increasing, we split up the partnership and my tools went into storage for a couple of years. In the long run I could have put up a shop with the rent I paid, but I didn't have it all in one pile until the 'right' tax check came in.
Somehow in the between time I acquired a couple of new toyls: a highly modified Harbor Freight bandsaw and a complete Delta Midi lathe. You'll see those in a future post...
Not that I have anything approaching an outline for this post, but that pretty well wraps up where I did my woodworking back in the day. Again, I truly owe for what John taught me. I learned a lot of basic tool usage, drank way too much coffee and/or vanilla flavored coffee-ish drinks over the years with him. He didn't set out to be a mentor for me, we were just two friends sharing a hobby together. In the end I suppose he was a very important teacher just the same. Thanks John!