17 February 2010

An Update

So, it's been a while hasn't it. I might as well update you on what's been keeping me busy. Well, I suppose that there's been a lot. Early last year, I ended up taking up a new hobby of sorts. It's something I've wanted to try for a long time, since I was a kid really. I've taken up fly fishing, and I must say I really enjoy it. Not only that, but I'm catching more fish too! When I was a kid, I'd spend most of my summers fishing. This fly fishing thing is really cool though. The scientific approach, the skill, the presentation. Everything is just more involved, and I find that it's almost a form of meditation. You're so focused on what you're doing, you're not thinking about much else. It's relaxing. I might post some more about this later.

The next thing? Well well, which one to choose? Well, ok, it's time to quote the title of one of my favorite films: "And now for something completely different!" This past fall, our church was going to have a missions emphasis service and the plan was to have everyone dress in the national dress of your heritage. Now here's the thing, I don't have any traditional Estonian clothes. But there was one guy at our church that I really wanted to encourage to dress in his own dress... almost literally, he's from Scotland. He said he'd only get and wear a kilt if he wasn't the only one. So, I got this ready:


 Yup, that's me, clean shaven (not something that happens often at all) and in a kilt. Now, for those wondering how I can get away with this, not being Scottish and all. The tartan is the Provincial Tartan for Ontario, and since I was born in Ontario, it's all OK. BTW, the hose (yeah, I know, great name for socks, but when wearing a kilt, they are called hose) were knit for my by the dearest and loveliest wife. Her skills still amaze me. You may have noticed that I mentioned that I got this ready, and I really mean that. From measuring, laying out the pleats, ironing them in, sewing them in, setting the rise, fell, and taper, all of it done by myself. I have made myself a kilt. And dare I say, I am rather pleased with myself. Now since these pics were taken, I have made some adjustments and fixed a few things I wasn't happy with, but as of now, it's a mighty fine kilt if I do say so myself. So there.

Now some may know that I have a fondness for woodworking. I fact, the reason I'm working where I do, was to try to increase my skills so that one day I could possibly open my own little one man shop. I'd really love to do that. But for now, I tinker at home. Oh, part of the other news, we moved into our own house. Yup, we bought a house. It's not large, but it is comfortable. It has a nice yard that needs some work, but it is ours. Since the move, the garage has been the catch-all for everything as we've been unpacking. My plan was that this would be my little shop. But I'm realizing that I must still share that space with the usual garage stuff. I was hoping to have lots of room for some nice power tools, but alas. So I began a search for information on how to get by on less (seems like a global theme lately, doesn't it?). My search led me to people who do woodworking with only hand tools. And I don't mean skilsaws and cordless drills. I mean good old hand planes, drill braces, dovetail saws, and lots of chisels. My interest was piqued. One person I found, and whose blog I really enjoy, is Tom Fidgen. He's a boatbuilder and cabinetmaker from Cape Breton. Recently he moved to Toronto, and in doing so had to decide how much of his woodworking shop to bring. Bringing all the power tools (table saw, band saw, drill press, jointer, planer, etc...) would be a huge effort. So he made the decision to become a hand tool only guy. He now makes a living building custom furniture only with hand tools. Recently he was appoached to write a book on hand tool use, which was released this past November. I ordered a copy of "Made by Hand" as a birthday present for myself. Great book, really great book. Very inspiring to say the least.

Anyhow, the point is, that I can save a lot of space, and money, by not buying power tools. Some may say that hand tools take too long, but really, when you factor in the time it takes to set up the tools so that they are cutting accurately you only save time when you are doing production work. If you only make one piece at a time, then hand tools are actually faster, cleaner (no dust, only shavings), and can be just as accurate if you are careful. I'm very interested in learning more and improving my skills. There is something very intimate, romantic, even adventurous about working wood by hand. I'll try to keep you updated on this.

I'll have more to post later, but this shall be a good start, I hope.

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