A Conundrum In The Shop

co·nun·drum
/kəˈnəndrəm/
noun
  1. a confusing and difficult problem or question.

Perhaps I’m easily stumped, but as I’m approaching the weekend I feel a building sense of panic over what I’ll do with my shop time.

You see, I finished the Greene & Greene sconce I’ve been working on last weekend and I haven’t decided what to do next.  I’m dying to start a new project, but I don’t feel ready.  I haven’t fully decided what to do next, and I certainly haven’t made plans or bought materials for anything specific.

Done! Finished!  Acabado! Terminé!

Done! Finished! Acabado! Terminé!

I’ve been heading towards a major overhaul on the entry to my property, building a new G&G style driveway gate, street number and a pair of copper lanterns.  But I have more design work to do before I can start that.  I also want Santa to bring me a mortiser to speed up the process.

Current design for the new gate

Current design for the new gate

Not that I have any shortage of things I could do.  Just as a for-instance, there is a customized (albeit unfinished) Studebaker pickup truck in my metal shop that has been languishing for 10 years.  My buddy Ron and I chopped the top 6″ and cut a 4″ horizontal section out of the body of the cab.  I built a new, smooth firewall, sectioned the hood and heavily modified the frame so that it had airbags to lower it, independent front suspension and a Cadillac 500ci engine.  Then I got distracted with starting a chopper parts business.  Before the Studebaker I’d been into making furniture (don’t get excited, I was pretty clueless).

There is plenty to do on this, including making new floorboards, welding up about 20 linear feet of seams in the cab from where it was sliced-and-diced, making a custom grill, fabricating a steering column, making a dashboard…  It’s quite a long list, which is perhaps why I’ve postponed starting on it again.  But, it would be really fun to get it to the point where I could drive it to work.  Between the body and suspension modifications it’s considerably shorter than stock and compares favorably with my Mini Cooper.

Chopped and Sectioned Studebaker

Chopped and Sectioned Studebaker

I also have several unfinished knife projects.  One is a stainless chef’s knife made from a purchased cast stainless steel blank.  I did the finish work on this blade years ago and had it professionally heat treated (heat treating stainless is a specialized operation).  I forged the dagger from a stack of discarded power hacksaw blades that I forge welded together with thin nickel foil.  When it’s etched it should have an interesting twist pattern in the steel.  The small blade at the bottom is forged from a scrap of 1″ round O1 tool steel.  All three need some more detail work on the blades, handles made and attached and guards fabricated.

Knives in the offing

Knives in the offing

And I have a long list of “someday” furniture projects.  Two from the top of the list include:

Reproducing this bookcase from the Blacker house:

Blacker House Bookcase

Blacker House Bookcase

And reproducing this light fixture from the Gamble House for my dining room:

Gamble House Dining Room Fixture

Gamble House Dining Room Fixture

But I’m still left with the question of what to do next.  Sigh.

Categories: Uncategorized | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “A Conundrum In The Shop

  1. Open a beer and sit down to think it over. It come to you….

  2. Seems like the gate is the most needed? Does that help? Figuring out what the most needed? That’s how I decided.

    Signed, Girl w/o a bedside table

    • Yeah, that’s a good place to focus, but I’m not quite ready to start on it. I need a little more design time to work out a few details, plus it’s going to be an expensive pile of wood that I’m not quite ready to buy yet. I’m probably over-thinking it, but that’s works soooo well in the past, why change now?

      I’m also hoping santa brings me a mortiser for christmas. Maybe she will make an early delivery this year?
      mortiser

  3. That will give Rudolph a hernia!! Be kind to reindeer, now.

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