Friday, May 17, 2013

My name is Dan Ball, welcome to my slightly skewed version of things. I got interested in woodworking when I was a young buck. My dad was never into woodworking, but I- like a lot of others- grew up watching Norm and Roy. When I was in Cub Scouts, one of the requirements for a badge (I think it was Bear) was to build a project out of wood. I was fortunate that my uncle, Ken MacMaster, was a woodworker. Together we built a small step stool out of pine, and so a passion was born.

It was probably twelve years later that I actually built my next project.  I had gotten a circular saw from my parents for my birthday, and bought a Skil plunge router (which still works well 20 plus years later) and a few bits. I went to the home center and picked up some red oak and built myself a CD storage case. I was pretty proud of it at the time, but looking back...

Over the years, I have accumulated more tools, but haven't had a great deal of time or money for woodworking. My last project was completed almost 2 years ago. It was a cradle for my not yet born son. The finish actually went on while my wife was in the hospital after giving birth.  I would spend the day at the hospital with them, then come home and work most of the night on the cradle.

Now that my boy is a year and a half old, he is showing an interest in tools.  He has a plastic Home Depot workbench with a bunch of toy tools which he just loves.  Because of this I have decided that I really should start doing more projects.  I hope to hone my skills, which are still pretty rough, so that when Danny gets old enough, I can pass my passion on to him.  Even though I have learned quite a bit over the years from magazines, television, and more recently the internet, I haven't been able to get into the shop to practice what I've learned.

My current project is going to remain a secret for now, as it's an anniversary gift for my wife.  I can talk a bit about the process I've gone through so far.  First let me say, you should ALWAYS unplug your router when changing bits.  I have an old Stanley Rout About which I got from my wife's late grandfather.  I love the router, but it wasn't really designed with safety in mind.  The other day I was changing bits.  While I was pulling out the bit that was in it, the top of the router bumped the top of my workbench.  Now I have heard Tom Iovinno talk about his "little voice," and I apparently have one also.  It told me I should unplug the tool.  I ignored the voice.  Well, when the router bumped the bench, it turned on. Bet you didn't see that coming.  I was lucky that the bit only danced across my fingers a little, but boy was it scary.  I came out of it with a few nicks and a couple of band aids, but it could have been much worse.  Believe me when I say that the irony of being only a few days removed from Woodworkers Safety Day was not lost on me.  Perhaps Marc should consider going back to a full week.

The other boneheaded thing I did was I neglected to label my project parts.  This led me to glue drawer runner on the wrong side of the workpiece.  I tried my best to remove the runners with a chisel and router plane, but this only ended up shredding the face of my board.  My current headache is trying to cut dadoes in a new workpiece to match up with the other side, which is already glued in place.  I know, I know, dry fit, dry fit, dry fit.  Like I said, still a little rough.

At any rate, I decided to start a blog in the hopes that I can give back to the woodworking community.  I'm not sure how often I will actually post, but I'll try to keep current with what's going on in my shop.  I'll definitely post some pictures of the completed project, after I give it to my wife.  Whit only a couple of weeks until our anniversary, I should head for the shop.  Please feel free to post comments with kudos, constructive criticism, tips, or whatever.

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