New Prize Category: Most Accurate Voter

With a last-minute prize donation from Green Buddy Distributors (distributors of Grex Tools in Canada), there is now one more prize than there are categories. So I’m going to create one new category and shuffle the prizes.

The exciting part is that EVERYBODY is eligible to win!

grex-aos368The winner of this category will be whoever most accurately picks the top Flair Woodwork’s Reader’s Choice Wall Shelves. In the event of a tie, I will contact the voters and we will break the tie.

Have you voted yet? You have until the end of this weekend to cast your vote! Are we having fun yet?

Vote for Your Favourite Wall Shelves!

The Wall Shelf Build-Off submissions are in, and I’ve uploaded them here on my site for your viewing pleasure.

Help choose the Flair Woodworks Reader’s Choice Top 3 Wall Shelves!

View all the entires, then vote for your favourite three by the end of February 12. Then I’ll tally up all the votes and announce winners!

Wall Shelf Build-Off Entries & Voting

How to Follow the Wall Shelf Build-Off

With the big day looming and registration now closed, I’d like to share some links so that you can follow along with the Wall Shelf Build-Off participants. You can also search for the official hashtag #WSBO.

Note that not everybody who registered provided links to where they are sharing their builds. Also, not everybody has committed 100% to participating.

Wall Shelf Build-Off Prize Categories

The Wall Shelf Build-Off starts tomorrow, so now seems like a good time to announce the categories. They are as follows:

  • Best use of materials
  • Best concept
  • Most off-the-wall (figuratively speaking) design
  • Most ambitious design
  • Most innovative design
  • Most inspiring design
  • Judge’s Best Overall
  • Judge’s Second Best Overall
  • Judge’s Third Best Overall
  • Flair Woodworks Reader’s Choice #1
  • Flair Woodworks Reader’s Choice #2
  • Flair Woodworks Reader’s Choice #3

Today is the last day to register to participate in the #WSBO!

Buzz about the Wall Shelf Build-Off

The Wall Shelf-Build-Off starts this weekend and you won’t want to miss it. In face, Jonas Jensen called it “the biggest event since the American presidential inauguration”.

Here’s some of the attention the contest has been getting around the web.

Jim Dillon @ The Thousand Dollar Shop

Garth @ Time Warp Tool Works

Megan Fitzpatrick @ Popular Woodworking

360 Woodworking

The Dusty Life

Jonas Jensen @ Mulesaw

There’s still time to sign up for the #WSBO!

Prizes for the Wall Shelf Build-Off

The Wall Shelf Build-Off is next weekend. Can you believe it?

A Pep Talk

If you’ve been hesitating to register because you don’t have a design, I’d encourage you to register today. Nothing like a little pressure for inspiration – even if it means heading out to the shop next weekend without a clear idea of what you’re doing.

Even though I’ve been doing lots of thinking and sketching, I still haven’t settled on a design. Remember that the event is about getting out in the shop and just making something – not about making a masterpiece.

Sign up for the Wall Shelf Build-Off!

Sponsors and Prizes

I would like to extend a big “thank you” to everybody who volunteered a prize for the #WSBO. I am especially grateful to have so many prizes available to woodworkers outside of North America!

Please use the links below to learn more about the sponsors and their products.

If you would like to contribute a prize, please contact me directly.

Now, where did I leave my collection of sketches…?

What is there to be Afraid of About Failure?

Well, for starters, I’m not sure what failure really is. I’m always experimenting and learning and, to me, what others may perceive as failure is really just an indication that something can be improved. I am always looking for ways to improve things, and constantly analyzing things for weaknesses.

Developing a solid design on paper (or in CAD) is exceedingly difficult, and perhaps impossible. For that reason, many designers, after they have put together a workable idea, create a 3D prototype that they can interact with, test it, and understand ways to make it better.

In almost all cases, there will be a desire to change something. Maybe it doesn’t look or feel right, or maybe it doesn’t operate as it should. These are not failures, but merely a part of the process.

This same mentality can be applied to the work that we woodworkers do. If I make a three legged stool, I might realize, when I test it, that the legs are too close together so it is easier to tip over than I might like. This isn’t a failure – it’s just a step in the design process. Next time I make something similar, whether it be the next day or next decade, I will take into consideration what I learned from the previous versions of the design and make adjustments.

I guess what I am saying is that creating good products requires patience. Developing a good design requires caring and often requires numerous versions, each a little more refined than the last. Quality workmanship takes an investment in time. And it takes time to fully understand a design – the best way I know is to use it in everyday life just as you normally would.

Welcome to the New Shop

Since moving three months ago, I have settled nicely into the new shop that is a one-car garage.

Here are some panoramic pictures to give you a feel for the space. Click to view full-size.

Shop Panorama E

Looking East

Looking South

Looking South

Looking West

Looking West

Looking North

Looking North

All the machines are more or less permanently positioned, and the overhead door is not used (it was last opened to move in the machinery).

Most of my work is done in the triangle between my sliding table saw, drill press, and workbench. That area is the most well-lit, with light provided by two fluorescent light fixtures which, combined, have five of eight bulbs installed. If I need an assembly table, I set up a pair of saw horses and a table top as seen here.

North End of Shop

The dust collector usually lives in the corner behind the table saw, and a flexible hose is run between the table saw, bandsaw, jointer and planer as required. A switch to the left of the bandsaw turns on the dust collector.

South End of Shop

My routers, along with their bits and accessories, are stored in a rolling cabinet next to my drill press, and frequently used drill bits reside on top.

Router Cabinet

Most other tools are stored in the drawers under my split top workbench (the other bench slab is standing up on end in the north-east corner).

East Bench Area

Rarely used equipment, such as my bench grinder, is kept on a rolling cart under the table saw. This area can accommodate 8′ long material, and may become a wood storage location in the future.

Table Saw Area

Currently, I have the area behind the doors at the north end of the shop dedicated for wood storage, as well as the adjacent north-east corner, which accommodates long narrow material. The three doors open into a single space.

Wood Storage Area

And, yes, I reclaimed my shop stool.

New House, New Shop

At the end of February, I moved to a new place about 15 minutes from where I was previously. Of course, the shop moved as well and it is now living in a one-car garage (formerly about 450 sq ft – approximately the space of a two-car garage).

The day before the move, I installed the same anti-fatigue mats I had in my last shop to cover the garage’s floor.

By the end of the move, the entire floor was covered with cabinets (wood boxes), tool boxes (plastic and/or metal boxes), moving boxes (cardboard boxes) and unboxable tools and accessories (not in boxes) stacked wherever convenient for the movers.

Currently, I am working on hanging cabinets on the walls to clear floor space for the machinery. Four rolling cabinets with drawers store most of my frequently used hand and power tools.

A week after moving in, this is what the shop looks like.

IMG015IMG014

Now, one tool is finally plugged directly into the wall, so there will be less switching of power cords when I need to use a tool. Yes, this is exciting.

IMG016

The shop is lit by a 4-tube, 4-foot fluorescent light fixture which is missing two bulbs (photos were taken without additional lighting). Needless to say, I will be improving the lighting situation.

Once the floor is clear I will be able to bring in the larger machinery which includes my sliding table saw, band saw, jointer and planer.

Once everything is set up and I’m able to work without unpacking boxes simultaneously, I will start work on some furniture for the new home, including a couple of bar stools (so I can get my shop stool back!), a dining table, dining chairs, a side table or two, and a dresser.