13 For 2013… New Years Resolutions From the Down To Earth Woodworker
For many years I had a hard time coming up with New Years Resolutions. Either I was smugly (and falsely) pleased with myself or as I get older I am discovering more and more opportunities for improvement. This year the problem was not in coming up with resolutions, but rather containing the size of the list. So here are some things I would like to do in 2013…
#1 – Read more… In 2012 I read only 43 books. In 2010 I read 52. The steadily declining number can only be attributed to alternate activities. So, let’s see, I am not going to spend less time in the shop. Oh! I know… I will cut down on TV.
#2 – Less TV… In order of insignificance, eliminate TV by genre. I have already given up all network programming. Next, no more news. I’m sure I will be happier. After that, I will wean myself from the oldies. I’ve seen every M*A*S*H show like a hundred times anyway… likewise for Seinfeld, Raymond, and Dick van Dyke. I will miss Antiques Roadshow though. I still miss Norm.
#3 – More Music… Music hath charms, you know, but all my music listening is done in the shop and my wife already says, “You might as well just live out there”…hmmmm… I’m getting project ideas. How about a convertible workbench/cot? Wait! Maybe a Murphy bed… tool storage when folded up, comfy bed when folded down. I’m getting jazzed…
#4 – Coffee… My second (or is it third? Fourth?) grand obsession is coffee. I have learned dozens of ways to make it, but have yet to figure out how to work coffee into a Wood News column. How to stain with coffee? How to remove a coffee stain? Build a barista station? A coffee-serving tray?
#5 – More Time Outdoors… What better way to spend time in the fresh air thanbuilding some outdoor projects? I would like a pergola… just love the name…pergola. A teak table by the grill would be great. A custom gate for the fence. Oh yeah, and build the fence. So many projects, so little time. I’ve got to give up something else…
#6 – Less Sleep… Edison, Napoleon, and Michelangelo got by on 4 hours a night. I’m going for 3.
#7 – Less Shopping… An inordinate amount of time is spent shopping for unimportant things like food, clothing, and toiletries. Eliminating these tasks will allow more time for tool shopping.
#8 – More Efficiency… More shop time by being more efficient. Learn to sand with both hands. Never lose anything, put my tools back as I use them, keep my wood organized, use story-sticks more.
#9 – Go Metric… Sixteenths and thirty-seconds, inches and feet… very inefficient. This is the year to finally make the big switcheroo to millimeters. At least I will learn to use my Festool equipment the right way!
#10 – Go Green… My truck gets only 6 kilometers per liter (wow, my mental metric makeover is working already!), so hunt for an electric truck. Of course it will not make it to the lumberyard and back on a single charge. I wonder if they will let me plug in and sleep over?
#11 – Recycle… I’m going to learn to make fireplace logs from sawdust and maybe make my own particle board. Use coffee grounds in the garden, wood chips for mulch, and make progressively smaller and smaller projects from progressively smaller leftover pieces of wood.
#12 – Be Patient… A low threshold of boredom has me thinking about the next project before I am halfway through the current project. I rush through applying the finish when I know it is just as important as the build (sometimes more important when there is a little flaw or two to hide).
#13 – Fall Down… North country lore has it that everyone falls down once every winter. I would like to get it out of the way early. The surprise of the fall is one of the things I like least. And I would like to fall someplace soft… fluffy snow over a bed of pine needles sounds nice. And somewhere isolated. No one to laugh at me, no one to hear me cry. I think I’ll go take a walk in the woods.
What are YOUR New Years Resolutions for 2013?
It seems strange, but because the liter is such a small measure, in metric fuel consumption is measured in liters per 100 kilometers.
Trust me, you will get used to it.
Metric’s a good choice – late last year I was fussing over some division that was coming out in 32’s – for a tool rack no less – and my charming wife just said “Measure it in millimetres dear, and divide by 2.” Much simpler.
Happy New Year.
Re Going Metric:
Back in the 80’s the Federal Highway Adminstration (FHWA) mandated that all state highway agencies produce their plans for contracts for bridge and highway construction only in metric units. This had the following effects: 1. Many older engineers and draftspersons retired. 2. A new cottage industry developed that took the metric plans and converted them into inch dimensions so the people in the construction industry could understand them and build the necessary facilities.
If like the auto industry you are going to export your product or produce it in many countries then using metric makes sense. For most of us it does not.
Me, I have the following:
Drawers full of wrenches – about 1/3 are metric because I used to own Spanish offroad motorcycles.
2 drawers of screwdrivers (I guess they are all metric – lol)
Over a hundred twist drills in inch sizes (most by inheritance)
About a hundred taps (mostly by inheritance)
About 20 inch based hole saws.
About 20 Forstner bits in inch based sizes
Mortise and cabinet chisels in inch units
A drawer full of router bits in inch based sizes.
A 4 drawer cabinet full of inch based bolts and nuts.
Drawers full of inch based hardware.
Sorry, I don’t think I can afford to throw away so much and go metric.