My download took considerably longer, and like Neo, my skills still need honing. But it's given me the confidence to take on the challenges. I throw my head back and breathe deep, curling my fists as I gather power: bring 'em on! I got yer dovetails right here, buddy!
For me, it was an ambitious undertaking. As I had hoped, it was a great skill-builder. Where before I was intimidated by complex machine setups, now I know I can just grab my hand tools and knock the work out.
It was also a successful exercise in patience, taking months to complete. But I disciplined myself to be happy with incremental progress. I enjoyed the time I could spend on it without getting greedy for more.
The greatest feeling is the sense of accomplishment, the satisfaction of knowing it was me, my skills doing all the work, not my machines. Now I feel like a real woodworker. I have a real workbench!
My only regret is that I spent 36 years being a wannabe power tool woodworker. Yes, 36 years! Starting with 8th grade shop class, where we had table saws and power jointers and planers. These were all hopelessly unobtainable for a teenager with little money. Think of all that time I could have been doing stuff if I had instead focused on hand tools. What a missed opportunity.
And now I'm that most tedious of boors, the instant Expert. You got questions? I got opinions. I'm qualified. I've completed one major project!
So I'll bask in the glow of self-satisfaction while I plot my next one. My wife keeps threatening to buy a side table for the loveseat in the living room. I've been telling her for years I can make one. That rediscovered Stickley...
The other thing that's been rolling around in my head is tool storage. I have one plan for the workshop so they'll be immediately accessible by my bench. But I also want to go portable with them. I've been trying out some till layouts for a chest.
Everything I need to go from rough-sawn boards to final furniture with fine joinery. You can see the major tool groups laid out for their stacking tills, clockwise from upper right: planes; boring and rasping; bits and shaves; chisels; saws and molding planes. Measuring and marking items spread around for the moment.
Some miscellaneous things aren't shown, like mallet and hammer. Coping and turning saw. And sharpening supplies. And work-holding devices. Hmmm, will I be able to lift this thing? Maybe I'll need two chests, stackable.