Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What I Do When I'm Not Woodworking

The Frau and I spent last weekend hiking in the beautiful Bavarian Alps.

This trail is in walking distance of our apartment.
We went wandering around a mountain named the "Wank" (pronounced "vahnk").  This beautiful place (where I work) is about an hour's drive from our other house in Munich.  We stay there often to enjoy the scenery.

The juvenile in me loves the name of this place.

This photo is for Jonas.
Anyway, the point of this is it is not always possible to spend all of one's free time in the shop.  In my case, I would never leave, and it is probably good to get out on occasion.

So, what do I do when I am not in my shop?

I came up with a list of some things I do that actually help when I am in the shop.

Think about woodworking 

If you are anything like me, you will find yourself daydreaming a lot about wood.  I actually find that this helps me in the shop, as when I finally get there for my 30 minutes I may get in that day, I will have thought about what it is that I am going to accomplish and how to do it.  I think a lot when I am in the shop.  Sometimes it slows me down.  If I do my thinking away from the shop, perhaps a variety of solutions present itself to me.  Take your time and then go for it!

Plan projects

As a continuation of thinking, I sometimes come up with projects and joint processes.  It isn't a bad idea to write down some of your ideas here.  There's nothing worse than figuring it all out, and then wondering what your idea was when you get in the shop.


Blogging about woodworking has done more to help me focus as a woodworker than almost anything else.  After all, any yahoo can have a woodworking blog.  Why not me?  I soon found out that once people start reading it, your standards go up fast.  Plus, it is an ego trip.  It is neat to see that 500 people bothered to check out your latest project.

Fondle tools

I love this new Miller's Falls knuckle joint block plane that I got from Sanford Moss.  Luckily, I have a few really cool tools that are worth drooling over.  I like to think about the quality of the tool I am holding, envision ways to use it, and just hold it in my hand.  I haven't got the chance to use this tool all that much yet, but it fits my hand like a glove, and I feel just holding it helps me get to know the balance and operation of this tool that will be of assistance when I pull it out of the tool chest next to use.

Miller's Falls #47
Gawk at tool catalogs/webpages

Get to know tools.  All kinds of tools.  They are fun to look at.  I imagine using them.

Don't go crazy with your credit card.  Buy essential tools in the order that you need them, and dream about the rest.

It is important to get to know the different options from different manufacturers of tools.  Also, it is good to look at old tools this way.  If you decide you need a vintage tool, it helps if you know exactly what you want.

Read woodworking books/blogs/etc.

 If you didn't know the value of this, you wouldn't be reading this!

Actually, reading about woodworking is the second best way to learn about it.  Since you can't be in a live class all the time, reading everything you can get your hands on is invaluable.

Think more about woodworking

If you have done all the rest, you won't be able to help this step.

What do you do that helps you with woodworking when you are out of the shop?


  1. Thanks for the photo.
    I am back on the ship now, so there I'll have to dream and think about woodworking a lot for the next period of time.
    I just managed to squeeze out one more little project before leaving: 2 shaker inspired peg boards. I had the pegs from the "obstacle cabinet", 16 in total, so Laura and Asger each made a pegboard by drilling holes and gluing inthe pegs. The day after, Asger planed a small chamfer on all the edges, and we carved MOR (=Mom)on one of the boards. He was SO proud of himself as he handed over the pegboards as a gift.
    Best regads

  2. My iPad won't let me comment... so in the move, it's a rarity I get on the laptop with internet. Anyway, though I'm starting to move away from it as a "output" source, I like Lumberjocks to just browse what others have done. I look at that, and I start thinking, "I could do that too... but with these improvements". So really, it just plants ideas in my head, and I like that.