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Thread: Late Night/Early Morning Thoughts

  1. #1
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    Late Night/Early Morning Thoughts

    Being old means your sleep pattern can be erratic, mine is most of the time even when younger. I often find myself awake on the back side of the clock. It can mean there is time for your mind to ramble and maybe time for the shop depending on the project. This morning was a little of both. Some work on MsBubba's kitchen trash can but also thinking while working on the project about the skills needed for working wood.

    I think the two most important skills and likely the most difficult to learn are sharpening all your tools and sawing.

    If your tools are not sharp they are worthless and you will never be able to sharpen all your tools using jigs unless your kit is very limited and/or your jig inventory is infinite. While sharpening is in reality very easy and can be done quickly it takes time to know "sharp". I do not know any way to get to knowing sharp other than spending time with metal on stone or file and paying attention to how the cutter or saw looks, feels, and works. If someone knows a quicker way I'd love to hear of it.

    If your tools are sharp, using a chisel or a plane are almost intuitive. The plane will take a little longer to master than the chisel but not by much. Where the rubber meets the road is saw skills. Being able to consistently saw to a line and have your joint fit off the saw was the most difficult skill for me to master and sometimes I still fail. It is also the skill that makes every other part of wood working easier.

    Ok back to coffee and the shop,

    ken

  2. #2
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    Similar old age overnight sleep disturbances here, Ken, especially the 3 am bathroom needs. Hard to get back to sleep so I try reading. The following line came up in a book that described a character shopping for marine hardware for a boat he was building. “Things that are made not just to be used, but to be … admired.”

    Lots of the work I see here and in other WW forums comes to mind.
    I wish that I knew what I know now... Rod Stewart from Ooh La La

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Bjorgen View Post
    Similar old age overnight sleep disturbances here, Ken, especially the 3 am bathroom needs. Hard to get back to sleep so I try reading. The following line came up in a book that described a character shopping for marine hardware for a boat he was building. “Things that are made not just to be used, but to be … admired.”

    Lots of the work I see here and in other WW forums comes to mind.
    Charles,

    I know we are not alone. I feel sorry for my wife as I've never learned to be quiet. There is often an evil eye and a tapping of her foot in the doorway of the shop or office.

    ken

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ken hatch View Post
    If your tools are sharp, using a chisel or a plane are almost intuitive. The plane will take a little longer to master than the chisel but not by much.
    Is this where I pout because I am not confident in my plane skills. I really should practice.... And just use my hand planes with others who know who to deal with things better than I (with hand planes).

  5. #5
    Back in late May I heard the tail end of an interview with Terry Gross interviewing James Nestor, author of the new book "Breath." I stopped at the bookstore and picked it up. Interesting read and I have been doing some of the exercises. I too have attained the lofty status of the three am trots and doing some of the breathing exercises has helped me get back to sleep. Not 100%, but what is?

  6. #6
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    I totally agree Ken. I’ve made some progress on making sharpening part of the wood working experience rather than a necessary evil but have a ways to go on sawing to a line. I think you hit on something bigger than sharpening and sawing though and I think I’ve read a thread here that talked about making each part of woodworking a “valuable” activity including, I think the writer said, emptying the dust collector. I don’t know if wood working has helped me take a more mindful approach to things and appreciate the whole experience or if growing older does that. Whichever, I have finally, after 55 years begun to learn that the “boring” part of a task is as important and fulfilling as fitting a through beveled dove tail if they are done well and faithfully. Sermon over 😁

  7. #7
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    If one wants to be a woodworker they need to learn to enjoy sharpening, there will be a lot of it.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Pitonyak View Post
    Is this where I pout because I am not confident in my plane skills. I really should practice.... And just use my hand planes with others who know who to deal with things better than I (with hand planes).
    Andrew,

    It just takes a little time and paying attention to what is happening.

    ken

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Robinson View Post
    I totally agree Ken. I’ve made some progress on making sharpening part of the wood working experience rather than a necessary evil but have a ways to go on sawing to a line. I think you hit on something bigger than sharpening and sawing though and I think I’ve read a thread here that talked about making each part of woodworking a “valuable” activity including, I think the writer said, emptying the dust collector. I don’t know if wood working has helped me take a more mindful approach to things and appreciate the whole experience or if growing older does that. Whichever, I have finally, after 55 years begun to learn that the “boring” part of a task is as important and fulfilling as fitting a through beveled dove tail if they are done well and faithfully. Sermon over 
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    If one wants to be a woodworker they need to learn to enjoy sharpening, there will be a lot of it.

    jtk
    I've found the greatest aid to my sharpening is to sharpen as I work, never let the tools pile up. If I need to sharpen more than one or two cutters by the time I get to the last one I do a crappy job. Even with a new or new to me set of chisels I can take weeks to sharpen all of them because I will normally only work one at a time and then may take a day or two between, and I enjoy the sharpening process but never a pile at one time.

    ken

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ken hatch View Post
    Andrew,

    It just takes a little time and paying attention to what is happening.

    ken
    So practice practice practice :-)

  11. #11
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    Ken I'm young, but find the older I'm getting the more I'm turning into a night owl. I either take a nap when I get home from work and then don't sleep until 3am Or lay in bed until 1-2am thinking. Wish I could be an early riser like some of you.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ken hatch View Post
    I've found the greatest aid to my sharpening is to sharpen as I work, never let the tools pile up. If I need to sharpen more than one or two cutters by the time I get to the last one I do a crappy job. Even with a new or new to me set of chisels I can take weeks to sharpen all of them because I will normally only work one at a time and then may take a day or two between, and I enjoy the sharpening process but never a pile at one time.

    ken
    I am so horrible at doing this. The doug fir I'd worked with last took chunks out of chisel edges and so some regriding was required. Not a big deal, until I needed them this morning. Consequently, I spent far too long sharpening and didn't get a lot of building done today.

    I didn't get a lot of sleep last night either, I'm only in my 40s but we're dog sitting this weekend.. so there were too many excited dogs and one that wanted to play all night.
    ~mike

    scope creep

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike stenson View Post
    I am so horrible at doing this. The doug fir I'd worked with last took chunks out of chisel edges and so some regriding was required. Not a big deal, until I needed them this morning. Consequently, I spent far too long sharpening and didn't get a lot of building done today.

    I didn't get a lot of sleep last night either, I'm only in my 40s but we're dog sitting this weekend.. so there were too many excited dogs and one that wanted to play all night.
    Mike,

    Being a dog person, a playful dog doesn't sound too bad. Beats thoughts of mortality at 0300 . BTW, my Maggie dog goes to sleep at sundown and gives you the side eye if you wake her up before sunrise. Sam was another story a good game of "Tug" was perfect for 0300.

    Big Box Doug Fir isn't one of the things I enjoy working with. BTDT

    ken

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael J Evans View Post
    Ken I'm young, but find the older I'm getting the more I'm turning into a night owl. I either take a nap when I get home from work and then don't sleep until 3am Or lay in bed until 1-2am thinking. Wish I could be an early riser like some of you.
    Michael,

    I've been cursed or blessed, it is hard to tell which with needing very little sleep. The blessed part is I can strap a machine to my butt and go until I get there, the cursed was my S.O./wife would have a miserable time trying to sleep when I'm home.

    ken

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ken hatch View Post
    Mike,

    Being a dog person, a playful dog doesn't sound too bad. Beats thoughts of mortality at 0300 . BTW, my Maggie dog goes to sleep at sundown and gives you the side eye if you wake her up before sunrise. Sam was another story a good game of "Tug" was perfect for 0300.

    Big Box Doug Fir isn't one of the things I enjoy working with. BTDT

    ken
    Ken our chihuahua does the same. She doesn't get out of bed until 9 or 10am unless we force her out of the kennel.

    The nights we don't kennel her, she'll jump in bed with one of the boys. Talk about a grouchy sleeper. Any movement the boys make and she's growling / snarling at them. (She's never bit anyone FYI), it's quite to listen to.

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