More Workbenches!

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Check it.

Having approached my cluttered work area the other night I was inspired all sudden-like to snap a pic.

No, not because I thought it looked pretty or productive or whatever. But I had an interesting thought about how I organize my work space and projects and how that somehow translates into spontaneous productivity…

Every once in a while anyways.

∞ ∞ ∞

Granted, it’s really only cluttered because I don’t have much of a work area to begin with. But we work with what’s available, yes?

So what if available to you means a cluttered work area full of half-finished and half-begun projects? Well.. in this particular case, that’s what I was confronted with. So I decided to “clean up” by turning them all into completed & usable projects. In theory this would net me a clean workbench.

I was always a little bit uncertain about starting so many projects and never finishing them. Uncertain in the sense that I never knew whether it was a “good” thing or a “bad” thing. I’ve heard it said somewhere before that you should be in the habit of starting projects and then finishing them. Always finish projects! And that makes sense to me. You don’t want to develop the bad habit of starting and never finishing. Or even worse, never even starting projects?

Well when I took a look at my work area and got to work over the next few days, my ideas developed a bit.

First of all if you just aren’t into projects, but want to be, get a workbench. Anywhere that you can use as a dedicated work area will do. As you can see from the above pic, mine ain’t the prettiest, but it works.

Okay, so you’ve got a workbench, you’ve got a few ideas running through your head. But your workbench is empty, it’s completely devoid of all life, it’s a sad and dusty sight. First thing you may want to change is your attitude. Don’t talk about your project or ideas for projects. Next cool idea you get just think about how you can get it started and run with it. Throw all the parts onto your bench and hey, you’re well on your way.

If you’re like me and start projects whenever you feel like it, but don’t finish them, I say keep it up. It may feel as if you’re never getting anything done, but take my word, you’re at least getting many things started. Be sure to keep organized, however. Keep your parts sorted and out in the open. Don’t give in to the temptation of leaving your work area a mess, constantly be cleaning it and exposing yourself to your unfinished projects. If you get tired of a project, set it aside, not out of sight. Start something new and come back when you find yourself bored again. Before you know it, you’ll get into this snowball mentality of productive action.

For those of you who are good at starting a project and seeing it through to completion, I’m not sure whether to envy you or not. I say do whatever works. However I do find something appealing and exciting about many unfinished projects. I say more workbenches!

So back to my workbench. Can you spot the projects? Probably not all of them, let me list them.

1.) End-Grain Cutting Boards

  • These cutting boards were inspired by the upcoming (now past) holiday.
  • A simple woodworking exercise to gain some practice as well as experiment with some various glue-up patterns.
  • Oh, they’re all finished now, a total of 5 cutting boards. I snapped some pics, they’ll eventually show up.

2.) Encaustic Pictures

  • This technique uses a beeswax mixture to coat pictures, basically.
  • If there’s one thing that truly bothers me about framed pictures it’s that they’re almost always behind glass! Something about it bothers me… the glare, the separation.. something. I thought I might give encaustic a try, a thin layer of wax to protect (?) and even add to the art itself.
  • Plus, it’s a cool new thing to play around with.

3.) Skewer Knife Block

  • This cool little idea has made it’s rounds on the internet. I thought I would give it a shot. Skewers, at $2/100-pieces certainly adds up quicker than I would have thought…
  • I’ve recently finished this, pictures incoming!

4.) Coffee Roaster

  • I purchased a motor a while back. The idea was to use it as the agitation for the raw beans while applying heat from the top (Turbo Crazy).
  • I can’t say this will come anytime soon, but I’m working on it! And I think about it every time I roast beans, how much nicer it would be to be able to roast more than a 1/2-lb at a time!

Hey, that’s actually it. I guess it just tends to look out of hand at casual glance.

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And since I snapped these pictures, it’s probably been around 2 weeks now, my bench has definitely cleaned up.

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Ha! Okay I just realized it’s not much “cleaner”. I swear it was clean before I decided to throw wax all over that picture.

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