The New (Temporary) Workshop

It’s a bit of a drive from the ranch where I live and work, but a close friend of my boss invited me to visit his father, Bob, who would be happy to help me out with the loan of his workshop. So I drove up to his place (it’s about a twenty minute drive) and spoke with Bob, a very interesting fellow.

Bob served during the Vietnam conflict as an aircraft mechanic on an air base in Thailand. Apparantly, he had a lot of fun. I’m not sure if the ‘fun’ or service-related incidents did for him, but he has his share of physical disabilities as a result of his years of sevice. And he still smiles when he talks of those days.

My service was for the most part in Central America, with a few weeks’ TDY, once to Thailand and once to Cambodia. Other than a short stay in Singapore, there was nothing to smile about for me.

But Bob is a great guy. He has trouble walking and can’t stand but for a few minutes at a time, so his workshop has turned into a catchall for anything nobody wants to throw away.

The woodworking section is both small and cramped. The machine shop is larger, which tells you where he spent most of his time. I explained to Bob and his son that I would spend a week or ten days cleaning the place up and another week or so working on rearranging things so I would have room to work and then another week tuning up his floor machinery before I could start working on producing anything I could sell.

They smiled and said, “Ok”. After all, it’s free labor, why not smile? I will take lots and lots of of photos along the way.

Tomorrow I will be driving up to Waldo, Florida, to pick up an old lathe. It’s practically free, but still in good condition. I will spend about a week cleaning and painting it, maybe replace a few bearing races if necessary, and finalizing a ‘buy list’ of stuff to make the lathe truly functional. It’s not just the lathe – you need turning tools, a sharpening system (preferably a slow speed dual wheel grinder with shoft stone wheels), calipers and dividers, and an air hat, if you can afford one. That old lathe is priced to sell – it’s the other stuff that costs real money.

So far my buy list is right about three times the cost of the lathe. Good thing I don’t have a budget. Good thing I can’t afford to have a budget…

On the subject of that workshop I will be building here on the property. I’ve got an order in at a local saw mill for ten foot and twelve foot 2 x 4 pine lumber to frame in the shop. That should be delivered in mid-November. I still need 2 x 12 pressure treated pine for the floor framing,  and 4 x 4 treated pine to use as piers/anchors to keep the floor off the ground. Not to mention ten and sixteen penny framing nails, a pnumatic framing gun, an air compressor and a small generator, along with a radial arm saw to cut the lumber to size.
Then asgain, I do have a hand saw, tri-square and a few very good hammers, along with a very nice level if that other stuff never shows up. One does what one can with what one has, or one does without. Don’t one.

Don’t ever cheat yourself out of a future you want by wasting time complaining about what you don’t have.

About Gary Showalter

Gary Showalter was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He lived in Aruba, Florida and the Panama Canal Zone before joining the U.S. Army during the 1960s. Following his discharge from the Army, Mr. Showalter picked cotton in East Texas, baled hay in Ardmore Oklahoma, sold light bulbs in Los Angeles, California, and built cattle pens in Fallon, Nevada (during a blizzard, of course). After settling in Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Showalter worked as a professional gardener before turning his hand to furniture making. In 1981, he moved to Israel, married, and raised four children while working as a furniture maker, silversmith, goldsmith, and ornamental wood turner. He served in the Israel Defense Forces Reserves for sixteen years, and when not on active duty he worked in government and private security. He has also served in senior management positions in two software development companies in Israel. During his time in Israel, Mr. Showalter published articles dealing with international terror and the Israel-Arab conflict in the Jerusalem Post, Israel national News and several political science web sites. Mr. Showalter returned to the United States in the fall of 2003, to care for an elderly parent. He published his first novel, “The Big Bend”, in the fall of 2008. His second novel, “Hog Valley”, is now in print. Mr. Showalter's third novel, “Twisted Key”, was published in the fall of 2011, and his fourth novel, "Lonesome Cove" is now available in Kindle format and should be published in paper near the end of 2012. Those words were written a few years ago. Frankly speaking, the literary well has dried up. I now live in Dunnellon, Fl, where I amworking as the caretaker on a horse farm and looking to build a workshop here on the property where I can get back to building furniture. With any luck I will be sinking piers some time early in November and hope to have the floor joists ready for flooring by the end of the month. I'll get back to you on that.
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