On Being a Full Time Maker

Blog

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Well, it has been about 3 months that I have been a full time maker after we moved to Chicago from Washington, D.C. I knew this process would be a lot of hard work and it is so true! Coming out to a new city with no clients and big dreams has been quite the experience. I didn’t know what to expect starting out so I put my head down and hustled. Three months later and I have been swamped. I started collecting clients via word of mouth and before I knew it, I was doing handyman jobs and building custom pieces within two weeks of touchdown. I have not had a lot of time to just relax and build fun things in the shop. 6

On our way to Chicago, I picked up an entire woodworking shop from Drew Fisher of Fisher’s Shop. We bought these tools from an older woodworker who was retiring the craft. The tools are from 1989-1990 era and all solid cast iron and steel Grizzly or other similarly good tools. Drew helped me rewire them before pickup and that helped free up a ton of time for me to hop into making. As it is with older things, they break a lot and require more maintenance. The prior owner did not take as meticulous care of the tools as I would have liked and so I have spent the past three months stripping apart every power tool in the shop down to their raw components and giving them a thorough cleaning and greasing. I actually have really liked doing these tasks because I now know how to tear down every tool in my shop. So far I have stripped down the drill press, bandsaw, table router, thickness planer, and table saw. I have spent hours pouring over old manuals and using the blow torch to loosen up old bolts and replacing parts. I have loved it!

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Having different tools in the shop down at any certain point has forced me to get more creative with my fixes, forcing me to hone my circular saw and hand tool skills. All great lessons to keep me on my toes and constantly learning.

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One thing I was not quite prepared for in Chicago is the cold. I know, don’t even say it. Chicago is cold and snowy, blah blah blah. I have been told a million times like it isn’t obvious. However, if you have seen my last shop video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LH6s7BIHxZQ then you would understand that my shop is an old brick carriage house that refuses to hold heat and instead, likes to maintain a constant 20 degree temperature, regardless of the outside temp. BURRRR!!! Thankfully I have a little heater that is giving me the black lung… no, honestly, and this allows me to get it up to around a balmy 30 degrees. Not too bad actually when properly bundled up.

So yes, the past three months have been filled with a ton of client work with zero time and energy dedicated to making fun builds or YouTube videos. I cannot understand how other makers do both. My hat is off to them. All I can hope for is some free time when I can focus on fun builds and not just straight client work. I am optimistic that this is the start of something new and so I am keeping my head down and trudging ahead.

Wish me luck and send advice and comments my way! Thanks for reading!

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Poem

The fire crackles, the chill air blows. The toads mumble their eloquent prose. Tent flaps snap in the misty air. The smoke dances circles with dramatic flair. The hoot of an owl keeps the mice at bay. Baby does return home for a night’s rest from play. The burbling brook flows past our heads. Creating a beat for the night’s sleep ahead.

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Poem

Salty waves curl towards the skies. Tumbling and flowing, not hiding it’s guise. As we stalk from the depths, our sandy feet find purchase in the soft warm sand. The sun has baked a delicious crisp crust, awaiting our toes to break the surface. We walk from the water, towards a shady spot on the beach. We prop our feet up and soak in the heat. The day has done wonders to replenish our souls. The water and the waves have given us a new meaning. The replenishing chill of the water streaks into our hearts, washing out the illness and brightening our parts. They say the waters are healing. I shall always look to the skies, the water, and to the cold chill of a body warming in the sun baked sand overlooking the sea. Hammock and beer, and my sweet wife with me. Laughing and telling of all that will be.

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Poem, Uncategorized

Despite cloudy skies, we paddle our way. Through winding wet places, fun ahead does it lay. We tack our way true, through streams broad and narrow. For the sake of delight, our paddles kept shallow. Gushing water does spray, up into the bow. Cresting each wave, with a hoot and a howl. As the day grows long and the dark it does set. We lash our boat up and make ready our best. A spark for the fire, the kindling does set. The smoke and the heat, to ready our nest. Toes numb with cold, are brought to a boil. We eat fish and fresh things, that we found in the soil. Our beds have been prepped with all the love and care. Like nestling cubs, we retire and sky-stare.