March 30, 2020

Making Stuff

Making Stuff
By John  R. Greenwood

The last several weeks have been a strain on everyone. I'd like to express my gratitude and admiration to those whose job puts them on the front lines of the war on COVID-19. I'm fortunate and have little to complain about in comparison. My first priority is in the next room safe and sound. Although spurts of fear and uncertainty have caused some tears and a nightmare or two, my wife and I are trying to remain positive and productive. In that light, I've been spending some time making stuff. This week I made some stuff so I could make more stuff. 

My garage is only large enough for a Toyota, a motorcycle, a bicycle, and a vast assortment of yard tools. A cellar is not the ideal place to build stuff. I'm much happier building stuff out in the fresh air. Not only can I hear the birds, but the view better. It's also easier to clean up the sawdust. For the last forty-plus years, all my building projects have been squeezed in between work and other responsibilities. Now that I have more time to spend on projects, my impatience is more manageable, and the quality of my circular saw cuts are vastly improved. 

I started the week building a work table. I added casters for mobility. I didn't use any specific set of plans, although I did watch hours and hours of workbench building videos on YouTube. I'm not sure if that made the end result any better, but it did kill a lot of time. Watching DIY videos on YouTube also makes your morning coffee taste better. It's a scientific fact.The table came out better than expected. It also used up some scrap material that had been lying around. It's a good thing I added casters because the table weighs more than a Buick. When the weather warms up, I'll add some stain. 

The second project I'd wanted to do is to build a new set of saw horses. I made a set for my son for Christmas. I experimented with a simpler version for those. Although they looked great and were much easier to make, I'm not sure they will hold up as well. For the one pictured here, I dug out an old set of plans I'd used before. This version takes a little longer to make but will last longer. I'd probably still be using the originals if I'd maintained them better. I used pressure-treated lumber and exterior grade fasteners on my new set. If I take better care of them, they should outlast me. I'm planning to repaint my garage this summer. These puppies are strong enough to use for scaffolding. 

Three new pieces will help make my other building projects more enjoyable this summer. Having heavy-duty, portable work surfaces makes any DIY project go smoother. If we're going to be yard-bound this spring, we might as well be building, fixing, cleaning, or improving something while we're at it. 

For all of you who still have to drive a truck, tend to the ill or injured, keep retail afloat, protect us from fire and crime, I can't thank you enough. To stay engaged, I will try to post here more often. I will do my best to keep it light and entertaining. We get enough drama with the morning news to last all day. The best advice I can give right now is to keep moving. Building stuff is a good start. 

Be safe out there. 

Be sure to wear your safety glasses, earplugs, face mask, sunscreen, gloves, steel-toed boots, and hardhat. Don't forget to wash your hands, eat your vegetables, take your vitamins, and drink your juice. Be sure to get plenty of rest. Always warm up and stretch before any strenuous activity. 

Most importantly, "Have Fun!" 

See you on election day! 

This is one of the pair I made as a Christmas gift.
I used a technique called Shou Sugi Ban to finish it 

1 comment:

  1. Love "This week I made some stuff so I could make more stuff." I suspect you'd agree that action, fresh air and creating can do a lot to lift a dark mood. My materials of creation are a little more forgiving to error, yarn and fabric, but I suspect that satisfaction in making something you can and will use again and again is the same.