Monday, April 11, 2011

Outdoor Workshop 2.0

Today my mom came up with an idea for a nice outdoor workshop for me, since I had mentioned moving my workshop back outside soon.  Today I got off early from work, so we decided to go ahead and get started right away.  This is the back of the house, right next to the corner where it meets the side.  We are putting in a brick pad and retaining wall (on the right where the bank is cut in) for a nice clean workspace, no mud and no ruining the grass like in the Fall when I came home. 

The pad is being built to serve as a floor for a nice high quality 10x10 foot tent that we have.  Not one of those sissy easy-up tents.  This thing is all aluminum pipe and heavy rubberized canvas top.  My preliminary thought was to bring up my bench and tools, and set up my full shop out here.  Now I'm reconsidering a bit, having thought of the effects that frequently fluctuating humidity could do to all my stuff, including kiln dried or even air dried furniture lumber.  It would all be covered, and I'm planning on tarping the sides when it rains, but I'm not sure what could happen.  Maybe some experimentation is in order.  My new thought is that I might just leave my finer shop downstairs and use the outdoor shop for coarser stuff; greenwood working, spoon carving, and maybe some timberframing if I get brave.  I'll see what happens.

The nice thing about landscaping is that it's big work.  All gross motor, throwing-rocks-and-logs-around kind of work.  There's something particularly satisfying about this sort of thing.

Fun with chainsaw:

This is what happens when my mom comes up with a project and wants me to help:

Potentially the least safe clothing option for chainsaw use?  (I am wearing hearing and eye protection, so I'm not completely senseless).  On a more serious note, you can see that my right leg is thrown back, and that I have almost my entire body out of line with the saw bar.  Even though I have to use my eye to line up the bar with my marks, I move my head  out of the way soon as I know that I'm tracking straight.  The basic premise here is the same as with any tool: stay out the way in case you miss.  Predict where the tool is likely to go, where it could go if something surprising happened, and then throw in an extra margin when you can.  With a knife, that means keep your hands out of the way of the cutting edge.  With an axe, this extends to your whole body (particularly legs in the case of a glancing blow).  You get the point.  Also keep in mind what can happen in the wood.  It's a dynamic material (think of bundles of cord, and what would happen if you cut into one under compression and tension). 

Today was also the warmest day of the year so far, a balmy 75 and sunny. 

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