Sunday, May 15, 2016

On Finishing...

If you are looking for great tips and advice on applying finishes,this isn't it. Please try "Flexner on finishing" or other great resources.

There are many types of blogs & sources of woodworking information these days, from people who resurface centuries old resources, those that build things out of pallets, those that are entertaining, those that provide step-by-step instruction and even some places that seem to just add some token content to prop up their advertising. Many provide weekly or even daily updates on what they are working on probably in part to remain "relevant" or make some income stream. I don't begrudge or think they are doing it wrong, most are surely more successful by any measurable standard, but this blog isn't that type. 

I've had intentions of keeping up to-to-date here, posting in-process blogs, and I probably will from time to time, but I'm a bit more reserved than that. Even though I know that not many folks are reading, I've found that often I don't really know how/when projects will end up or which direction they will go and it scares me to show that live in front of the world. 

I've also found that I blog as a retrospective of what I've accomplished for looking back at times when it feels like I am not accomplishing much. But probably the biggest reason is that I've found that I like it a lot when my posts are a story and have some larger connected thought. This usually means they must be at a time when I can reflect on the project, which is usually at the end, when I'm finished. 

Finally getting to some workbench leg mortises

This is a problem because I haven't finished much in a long time. My last real project was my split top Roubo workbench, which aggravated a shoulder injury and I had to pull off that project to recover. (I have recently gotten back on that wagon and am making some progress.) I have a bit of a psychological problem with unresolved projects, so that also for the most part doesn't let me go on to another project until I have finished the previous. If I do, I have something nagging me deep within telling me to go back and finish. I want to make some chairs in June, so I need to finish this up first.

You're sure it's not load bearing right?...
The largest obstacle has definitely been the "Epic Kitchen Project." I haven't mentioned it here, but if you follow me on Instagram (or look in the IG sidebar here#EpicKitchenProject), you'll know it's been underway for quite some time... While we call it a kitchen project, in reality, about 50% of my house sqft is being reconfigured. It's in a couple phases, and while I've completed the primary portion, combining the old kitchen, dining and living rooms (with only a few small cosmetic things to finish), I haven't yet started on the new dining/laundry/media room that will be reconfigured from the previous family room.

More recently, I took up another hobby that requires some time. Back in November, I started running because I needed the exercise and figured that couldn't aggravate my shoulder problem further. (I promise that I won't be turning this into a fitness blog...ever.) I fell into a small competitive group of my friends that vie for "most miles" bragging rights each month. Even though I'd never run a race, the peer pressure encouraged me to run the half marathon held in Champaign each year. As I began the training, I figured I'd start the marathon training and then back down when I couldn't hack it. By the time that reckoning came, I was too committed and decided to "just do it".

As race day approached, the weather forecast was horrible. Rainy, windy and cold (high 40°'s) presented conditions I hadn't trained for. There was a very high probability that the race could be cancelled. This stressed me immensely. While I had never had a bucket-list goal of running a marathon, I had done too much training build-up to just cast it aside. I'm not a guy that "runs marathons," so I also struggled with putting it off weeks/months and continuing at that level of training to finish a different marathon. I got some incredible hi-tech drymax socks, and became determined to run no matter what. Now I understand why people do dumb things like run marathons or climb mountains in bad conditions, and die; the training invested distorts good judgement into bad. In the end, the thunderstorms held off and while it rained steady all day and was only ~50°, I was able to run. I was wet. I was cold. It was challenging to run the distance; but I finished. I'd even met my goal of under 4 hours (3:59:51 whew). 

It wasn't everything I'd hoped for, but I had finished with something I was proud of. It made me think about so many of life's projects, blogging, woodworking or otherwise, we prepare, but are presented with obstacles and challenges along the way. When we keep at it, we can be happy with what we actually can accomplish.

We are out of Popcorn!

Breakfast in bed, or the attic.

After the desolation

Building Walls & Skills


Paint brings it together

Kitchen boxes, in boxes

Reminds me of some sort of Mondrian art

Laxarby only comes in Black in the US, time to learn about white lacquer

Traditional molding techniques, cheaper than "colonial" and much better looking

Customizing the bar cabinet doors

1 comment:

  1. Accomplishments......I've seen a lot. Looking back over the kitchen project, you almost forget how it was. It has turned out so well. Proud of your hard work running your goal. Keep up the hard work and sharing, you do it well. (I may be slightly biased)