This year we are attempting to make many (but not all) of the Christmas presents for the children. Mrs. Curley is making cowboy vests, bandanas, and aprons. Number one daughter is making capes and masks. I am making rifles, guns, and swords out of wood. I will also be making a swingset.
Some years ago I used to make many things out of wood. Once the children started coming, I became more of a handy repair man than anything else. Last year, however, I made a very nice toy revolver out of wood. I used different types of wood for the handle, barrel, chamber, and body. I sanded it to a marble finish. My four-year old broke it within three days. Thus I have learned my lesson: simple design, one piece construction, no need to sand any further than eliminating major splinter hazards.
It is certainly wonderful to get back in the workshop. The smell of fresh cut wood and sawdust is unique and refreshing. The sense of accomplishment when working with your hands is also not as frequently experienced in the 'white collar' world.
I have never had heat in any of my workshops. However in the past they were always at least connected to the house - which had heat, either a garage or a basement. This shop is detached from the house and is an unfinished garage. Thus, it is generally colder working out there at night. I let the cats in to roam the garage while I am working just in case there is a snake, toad or mouse lurking about the shop.
I am somewhat of the old school in my tool selection. I never buy a power tool to do a job until I have done it with hand tools. I think this makes me a better craftsmen. (But I could be wrong). I do use power tools at times, but I would rather smooth a piece of wood or round a corner with a hand plane than with a power sander or a router.
My work is by no means that of a master craftsman, but my work is usually sturdy and functional.
I think we are saving a bit of money by making these presents ourselves, but more importantly, we are building love into the work with our efforts.
From the small holding in Bethune...
Oremus pro invicem!