Crap, Now I Have a Deadline

Well now I'm into it, the medieval reenactment group I am part of has been contracted to set up a living history demonstration on June 19th and 20th at "The Olde English Faire," to be held at the Wildlife Prairie State Park out side of Peoria, IL. (More information can be found at their website here) Up until now the closest faire we had on the books was early August, so I had some time to get together my set up for doing period hand tool woodworking demonstrations. Now my demo needs to be ready in a little more than a month. 

The biggest problem will be finishing the Joinery Bench I am working on with enough time to set up the remaining things I need. I am starting to ponder adding some electron smashing tools to some steps to help speed up the process. The original intent was for it to be a completely hand tool build, but I don't think I can afford for every day to be like today.

I did get to spend the afternoon working on the table top, I got the last two 2x8's ripped in half, Thank god. I don't think I could do many more. I just don't have the wind for it. I took my time and changed things up so I wouldn't wear myself out. I set up my sharpening station and sharpened some chisels, I would rip a couple feet of board, sharpen some chisels, rip a couple more feet, crosscut a couple of previously ripped pieces to length, rip a little more, start the sandwich glue up on the to length boards, rip a little more, go sharpen another chisel or two, rip a little more.

Following this pattern I managed to work my way through the last two boards. and get a couple of other little things done. But sandwiching the boards is a time consuming trick. I like to use the polyurethane, expanding glue for this process. I have to admit that I have no exceptional reason why I consider it to be better than standard woodworking glue for this application beyond falling guilelessly for the advertisements of it being the "toughest glue on the planet" and the foaming expansion gives me a feeling of complete coverage and contact. 

As darkness fell I had to pile everything I was working on back into the shop and turn in for the night. You'll notice how jammed full of crap the Wood Shop Jr. is from the pic. I really had to control myself to just let it go and go upstairs for supper. I have been on the forums, I've read the posts, I know there are lots of woodsmiths out there who find cleaning their shop just barely a step above things like water boarding and bamboo shoots under the fingernails. I am not that guy. I need and crave an organized shop. Maybe its the way I was raised, (I doubt it because my father's shops were always piles of disaster on top of piles of who knows what, but he always had good intentions of organization, its just that a lack of time always got in his way) Maybe it's my job in an Operating Room where I have to keep a large amount of surgical instruments organized and ready for a case. (this is probably more likely) Maybe it's just who I am . . . either way, I'm not crazy or over obsessive about it, it doesn't get in my way of making sawdust, but I do like to put away things properly because I view it as protection of an investment. 

Typically I will clean up a little between stages of a build, when I'm done mortising a joint, I hang up the chisels and mallet. When I finish a project, I clean the shop itself, sweep the floor and try to get things ready for the next show. In between projects I usually do a few maintenance things, sharpen a plane blade or two, maybe tune up the table saw, things I didn't take the time to do in the push of finishing a workpiece, sometimes this leads to building a shop accessory I thought would help during the previous build. It's a method of work that has always worked for me. But I really had a problem with how packed the shop looked tonight. I know the Wood Shop Jr. is going to hamper my style more and more as this project continues, as the piece grows and grows. 

We'll just have to wait and see how frustrated I get. On a side note, if you live near Peoria and are looking for something to do this June, stop by the Olde English Faire and see me. Just remember to be kind, this will be the first time I make sawdust with a potential audience. 




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