Sunday, July 25, 2010

Shop construction

Much like when Mylene was pregnant, the shop seems to progress very slowly.  The anticipation of the final result and all the good times that will follow is almost too much but yet I must wait.  I still am not feeling it kick, but at least the morning sickness has subsided for now.

Here's where it's at:
The stairs down to the level that will be the shop.
I'm being as diligent as I can be with regards to containing the sometimes unpleasant woodworking sounds.  I decided to separate the furnace room from the shop with a "party" wall.  The idea being that there is far less solid material to transfer the sound as no stud touches the drywall on both sides of the wall.  Basically 2x6 plates with staggered 2x4 studs.  Insulation to come and hopefully I'll be ok to thickness things at whatever hour I desire.  Fingers crossed.
Another soundproofing measure has been to insulate the ceiling with Roxul Safe and Sound.  I've also put strips of 1/2" styrofoam insulation on the bottoms of the joists to further dampen what could go through to the upstairs living space.  As you can see the pot-lights are also in.

I decided that from a re-sale perspective, should that day come, that very few people would want their basement wired with 220V all over the place and bench height plugs etc.  Therefore I decided to first finish the space as a rec-room with all the appropriate plugs and lights for that.  Once it is drywalled I'm going to run the shop power off of a sub-panel with the wires in conduit on the outside of the walls.  This way I can tear it all down, patch the walls and no one will be the wiser.  Plus, I can take all my expensive wire and breakers, etc with me to the next shop.  Who knows if this will ever matter but it seems sensible, plus I can always move plugs if I want to re organize the shop for whatever reason.
Ah yes, furniture quality sawhorses as a reminder of what all of this effort is for.  As I said, it seems so far off that this will result in woodworking but I'm plugging away as fast as this whole working thing will allow and before I know it, it'll be done!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Home in Calgary

  It was a weird feeling as we drove past the "Welcome to Alberta!" sign.  I still have a hard time believing that Ian's time at Inside Passage has come and gone.  It was a fantastic 9 months, not just in terms of school, but also as far as a life experience for our family.  We met a lot of really great people and had a chance to see what it was like to live in a totally different community.  The Creek is a very quiet place and Mylene appreciated the time to bond with and enjoy little Rya.  It was amazing to see her grow, and somewhat of a measuring stick for our time there. Above all, it has given us a lot more perspective with which to decide what we want our lives to look like.

On the woodworking front I think my post IP hangover is beginning to wear off which is nice.  I'm working a construction job for the time being and it feels nice to be making some dough again.  It is an interesting thing, leaving school; or at least leaving this particular school.  I've been struggling with how to move on and really make the time I spent learning how to make beautiful things from wood mean something.  Unlike university which left me with next to nothing, I want this to be a part of my life for good.  It's really just a matter of figuring out what that looks like.

In terms of a post IP shop, the analogy I used with my friend who is a photographer, is that it's much like learning to take pictures with the best camera, lights and gear you can get and then suddenly not even having a camera.  You really want to take a picture but can't...simple as that.  Maye you have a little point and shoot from before you learned how to really take a photo but you know it just won't cut it anymore.

I've decided to hell with it though and am going to go for it.  The house we bought has a perfect space and I've been religious in my scouring of the used machine market.  I realize that the order in which I've acquired things so far is not what Robert suggested but I figure when a good deal is to be had, prioritizing goes out the window.

Here's what the shop looks like as of now:

Table saw : I'm going to stick with my General International 10" Hybrid until it proves to be unworthy.  I'm optimisitc however that with a sweet cross-cut sled, it will serve my well.

Shaper : I found a guy in High River who had a bunch of stuff sitting around from a cabinet shop that he had closed down when he decided to make pre-fab walls with his rack of 30 framing nailers that all fire in unison.  Anyways, long story short, he had a brand new Delta shaper just sitting around.  The motor had never even been put in.  I had been pondering the router table route but when this popped up and I felt the precision of the lift I was sold even if it cost a little more.  This was what I was talking about with the wacky priority, the best machine in your shop probably shouldn't be the shaper but you gotta start somewhere.

Jointer/ Shaper : Interestingly, the same guy who sold me the shaper (perhaps my woodworking guardian angel) also had a Mini-Max FS30 12" jointer/planer combination machine.  I debated for a couple weeks but finally we agreed on a price and I went and picked it up yesterday. Just like that I am ecstatic to have 12" jointing capacity.

Mortiser : Best of all, the combination machine also came with an x-y table that turns it into a slot-mortiser.  Needless to say, I was pretty pumped to welcome Max into the family.

Dust-collector : As part of the bargaining for the Mini-Max I got him to include a 1.5 hp Delta DC that he had sitting on a palette up in the rafters.  I'm excited to make it crazy-carpet cyclonic a la Ian Godfrey's shop.
Bandsaw : Still browsing but have my eye on a couple used ones.  The 3-phase power thing is getting me down a bit though.  Do I really need to go there or should I be patient and wait for something else to come along.
Workbench : 100 board feet of maple, a front vise and a tail vise, waiting patiently for the day that they will be transformed into a bench.  I found a sweet plan online based on the Ulmia bench.  It will guide me through what promises to be a challenging but rewarding project.  Don't you need a bench to make a bench?

Anyways, it's coming along.  More importantly I'm blogging again.