There’s a place called “Persimmon Hollow” up near one of the major shopping areas.  It has been there since long before the shopping centers and it shows.  But it’s kind of cool that you take what appears to be a driveway behind a large restaurant and end up at a dead end filled with a number of little shops that were built in a sort-of 1880’s style.  They vary from boutiques to antiques stores but I’ve been meaning to go there for years and just never have.  On Saturday, we went.  It’s kind of a dump actually but I suppose that will keep the prices down.  Quaint though.

I’m conscious of the fact that work expands to fill the time allotted and so with an empty nest, I have been afraid that we’d just sit down in front of the TV and never move from it. That’s what happened to Dad when he retired and I went off to college.  I don’t want that to happen so I’ve gotten out my “Big List of Things To Do” and started on it with gusto.  Persimmon Hollow was not at the top of it but it was on it and my brother-in-law had said I might be able to find some old tools there.

I have a fantasy of being able to find some old hand tools that are still usable but apparently that only happens on the east coast.  Everywhere around here about the best you can do is find rust-covered wrenches and the occasional dried up, cracked wooden jack plane with a broken handle.  I envy the folks that scrounge flea markets back east.

One of the proprietors mentioned that every male that walked into her shop asked for old tools and anything that showed up from the various auctions were snapped up as soon as she put them out.  Apparently there are a lot of collectors out there.  She also mentioned that junk shops over in Arkansas were plentiful sources of tools.  I wish she hadn’t said that; now I want to go over there to see for myself.

I did find a small bench grinder at one of the Ye Olde Junque Shoppe places for $25.  I had been planning on heading to Lowes to buy a new one at $78 so this was a big win.  It has smaller wheels than normal so I can’t replace them with full-sized ones.  I tried grinding a lathe tool with it when I got home and it worked well;  apparently all that stuff about the stock gray wheels being crap is overblown.  I put an edge on my bowl gouge for the first time ever and it worked well.  I need to build a tool rest for it; I was working almost free handed and with a proper rest, I’m sure it will be even better.  According to the Almighty Interwebs, you just have to go slowly with the gray wheels.  Well I can do that.  I also found a hand-cranked grinder which I thought was cool but the tool-rest was totally missing so I passed it up.  I’ll bet I can find another one someday with all its parts.

I did buy a normal sized wheel later that day but discovered that the shaft of my grinder is not long enough to go through and have space for the arbor nut but at $5, it wasn’t worth taking it back to the store.

I also took the opportunity to go up to Woodcraft and buy a two-sided diamond impregnated bench stone.  I’d wanted to do this for a long time – I’m tired of sticking sandpaper to a floor tile to put an edge on my tools.  I tried it out on a couple of things and I think I’ll end up with good results after some practice.  I used to go crazy with the sandpaper and all my chisels have a mirror like surface but this doesn’t contribute to the sharpness, it’s just cool looking.  The bench stone will get things sharp enough to cut after I’ve done the edge with my grinder.

It was beastly hot in the garage but I still went out there for a bit of woodworking.  I wanted to try to cut some tenons by hand and so got out my pull saw for this purpose.  I also cut one set of cheeks with my bandsaw which is certainly easier but somehow not as fun.  The surface left behind is not as pretty either but again, the look of a surface inside a joint is not relevant to anything as long as the glue has something to stick to.  Still, sawing is good practice.  What really needs to happen is for me to get out there and tune up that bandsaw (also clean it thoroughly) and sharpen every tool with an edge.  Then I can start doing something.

After getting completely drenched in sweat I gave it up and came inside.

I decided that with it so hot, the best use of time would be to redo the file cabinet.  I moved all the files from the big cabinet to the two smaller ones and dragged the large file cabinet out of the master closet.  Now Mel has much more space for some of her stuff.  Unfortunately the new drawers are not as deep as the old ones and they don’t extend fully outward so I actually have less space for files than I did.  This is not an issue since two drawers were just full of random crap anyway.  So that project went well until I ran out of file folders and then I aborted the project in favor of watching TV.