Friday, October 19, 2018

Fall is in the air

My summer hiatus was longer than usual this year for a variety of reasons.  The primary reason is that I took on a major woodworking project that I didn't think would be of interest here.  Specifically, we purchased a cargo trailer and built it out as a camping trailer, complete with a queen-size bed, a throne room and lots of storage.  Surprisingly,  it turned out better than expected (I was making it up as I went along) and has attracted a lot of interest.  There are a fair number of baby boomers who, like us, camped in tents for years but are ready to expend a little less effort and be a little more comfortable without going into a full-fledged RV.

I have been reading the blogs from the Unplugged website regularly and commenting sometimes.  To me, it appears that woodworking blogs are in decline as there are many fewer posts than I used to read.  Many of those that remain are commercial.  That's too bad, as I really enjoy reading about what other amateur woodworkers are doing.  Of course, I am in no position to complain as I haven't been posting either.  My pageviews had been trending down and I wasn't getting a lot of comments which, along with being preoccupied with other pursuits, were factors.  Finally, I just didn't feel like I had a lot to share that would be of interest.  I'm ready to get back at it.

During our camping trips, I watched a lot of woodworking videos on YouTube and noticed that a video attracts astronomically more views than a blog of comparable quality does.  It's probably a sign of the times; people get their information these days from watching video rather than reading.  In some cases, I think there is a good reason for that.  I have picked up valuable tips from watching these videos that the author doesn't even mention; I just notice something they do and think it's a good idea.  Most times, though, it just seems like there is a much bigger audience for video than written material.  Dunno.

I don't want to make videos so I am going to stick with blogging and I hope you do too.  I think we can encourage each other by commenting but there is one issue I'd like to highlight.  My personal information has been compromised so many times by large corporations that I just won't give it out unless I absolutely have to.  Some blogs require you to share personal information like email addresses in order to make a comment and I just won't do that.  I have no idea if other people feel as I do.  I don't ask for any personal information in order to comment on my blog; comments are moderated so I can read them before they are published, mainly to filter out all the crude advertisements that bots post.

Once I finished the trailer, I turned my attention to woodworking while camping.  It is so pleasant to sit along the ocean or up in the mountains and work away that it is one of the main things I look forward to.  The portable workbench I made turned out to be unsuitable, a cumbersome attempt to combine a workbench and tool storage.  I am totally convinced by OK Guy that a Moravian portable workbench is the best solution (it is a fantastic design) but I just don't have the space for it in a small cargo trailer, so I went back to the drawing board.  Small size is possible because I will always have a stout picnic table available when I use it, so it doesn't have to have legs and can get necessary mass from the picnic table.  Standing in my workshop pondering this, the answer was right in front of my eyes:  I wanted to build a Nicholson portable workbench.  I'll show it to you in my next post.


  1. I appreciate you and several others who put forth the effort to blog. Video's can be good, but I much prefer reading. Thanks for continuing to share your experience, looking forward to the new bench.

  2. Andy,

    Looking forward to seeing your solution.

    I didn't use the bench much this year but the days I was able were very enjoyable.

    We are going to Houston to see the kids over the Winter Solstice, I plan to take the bench so I can repair the damaged changing table. It is really good to have a usable portable bench.

    BTW, I'm thinking about making a portable shave horse to take along as well, just haven't got everything worked out.

    I've settled on using Japanese tool boxes for tool transport and storage. Quick to build and will hold a lot of tools for its size.


  3. I can just copy-paste what Jefski wrote.
    Have you considered the use of wedges for the legs as in Paul Sellers bench? I think a wedge system can be retrofitted if the joint apron / leg frame become loose.

    1. Sylvain,

      I haven't because I like having the mini-bench clamped on the end of a picnic table. The height is just right and the mass makes it solid and immovable. If I wanted legs, I would make them like those on the Moravian bench.

  4. Ditto on the content and number of bloggers being down but it is the end of summer now. Maybe things will pick up now that old man winter is on his way. Glad that you will pick up blogging again.
    I am curious about the woodworking project you did that you say wouldn't interest anyone. I find that what you pick up in you tube, I pick up in so called uninterested blog posts.

  5. Welcome back Andy
    I think we would be interested in that camper of yours, don't sell yourself short.
    I know what you meant about camping, this Baby Boomer has done enough under a green canvas. I much prefer roughing it less now a days :-)

    When I watch WW videos, I pay much attention to the shop surroundings. I always enjoy watching other's shops, you never know what you will find that will grab your attention.

    I thought a few times, it would be easier to film rather than explain on paper, but I just don't have the time to do that, I am busy enough thank you :-)

    So if I got you right, you are using a small Bench on bench clamped to your picnic table? Sound like a good compact solution, I think I will try that.
    And perhaps if I ever found both time and space, I will build a Morovian bench for my shop

    Bob, who enjoy reading your blog

  6. I wouldn't mind seeing that camper. You never know what valuable tips I might pick up from reading or seeing a photo that the author doesn't even mention!