Years ago I built some bookcases in my Library in our house in Virginia. It was a task, three walls floor to ceiling with bench seats in front of the windows, the full monty. I learned how to use a joiner, mitre saw and pneumatic nailer. But my best friends were caulk and paint that hid my mistakes.
In the end the library was beautiful and to this day I miss that room.
But several moves to multiple states and the opportunity to build something like that didn’t come again until this year. In my new house, here in Round Rock, I built a bookcase 4ft high by 12 ft long in the main hallway in our house. Not as grand as the other room, but not bad for the first project in 11 years.
It turned out okay, I built the top out of three 12 foot long cedar boards that I doweled together and I attempted to hand carve / sand the edge so that the board looked rustic.
The project was tough without power tools (until I borrowed a friends miter saw) and a workbench. At the time I didn’t know how to use a hand plane or chisel. Let alone what the difference between a western and japanese hand plane.
That all changed in March when I decided I needed a desk for my new library. I bought some wood from a local woodworker with excess stock and next thing you know I make a decision. Spend my money on tools or wood but not both.
Thinking that hand tools would be cheaper than power tools, I searched the web for information on hand tools and I came across a guy called the “Samurai Carpenter” on You Tube. I watched a number of his videos, visited his site and decided that the lure of japanese woodworking wasn’t such a bad one.
That started me down the path I am on today. Hand tools vs power tools and I must admit I’m enjoying woodworking again. Being in the technology industry it’s hard to see the or touch the result of your work; especially as a project manager in a software company.
Woodworking allows me to use my hands to create something and my eyes, ears, nose and fingers. Of all a sudden time slows down and I don’t have to wear earplugs to drown out the noise of a power tool. And I must admit I am also a little clumsy so power tools and I aren’t always the best of friends. Don’t get me wrong I knick and cut myself a lot especially with the japanese saws. But that is better than cutting a finger off on a table saw or bandsaw right.
This blog is just my journal of my new found hobby and I hope you find it amusing and maybe even educational.
Cheers from Round Rock, Texas.