Despite the usual state of my shop, I like to be organized. I keep a journal of tool purchases and work I do on the tools. (It just occurred to me that it’s really odd that I don’t keep a journal of what I’m working on. wtf?) My tool journal shows that I bought an old Unisaw from the Norwegian Termite in the summer of 2008. It had serial number 115-3856 which Delta support said was manufactured August 1955. The top wasn’t very flat, but it was a sweet old saw and really really heavy.
But on October 16, with a bunch of help from other fine people with names starting with “J” I hauled that Unisaw, and my 6″ Powermatic jointer up to Tried and True Tools in Fridley to sell on consignment. No, I’m not leaving woodworking. I’m as obsessed with it as ever. But my shop is small, and these two tools haven’t been getting nearly enough use to justify the floor space they take up. The table saw, frankly, scares the hell out of me. So I use the band saw whenever possible. And for a few years now I’ve been doing all cross-cutting with hand saws partly to get better at hand-sawing, and also because so much of my work is one-offs, and it’s just faster than setting up the table saw. After all that, the only thing I’d used the Unisaw for since I bought it was to plow dados in the wide panels on the dry sink I’m building. Dados can also be done by hand. And if something crazy comes up and I need to plow a lot of them I’ll do so with a router.
It was a similar, but even more drastic story with the power jointer. I’ve had a nice old Stanley #7 jointer (hand) plane for several years. Using that well also takes practice, and that makes the power jointer redundant. I can’t remember the last time I used it.
My friend Dennis, a professional carpenter, is very concerned about me getting rid of the table saw. And I could tell my Dad was a little pained to see it was gone. He really likes well-built old machines. But I am very happy with the change. With the little bit of open space, I enjoy being in my shop again. Just after moving those tools out I made this chest of drawers, the parts salvaged from the desk that was in Jen’s office (it had to be cut up to get it out of the house). I also spent a couple evenings drilling holes in the lower door on my band saw to improve the dust collection – something I’d been meaning to do for years. Some people might say that by making room I allowed the other things to come/happen. But that’s a bunch of woo woo (noun?).