I’ve had an itch to spend more time in my workshop

Yes, I know.  I haven’t added much new material to MachinistBlog.com lately.  If it weren’t for Mike and Nate this web site would be as stale as 3-week old bread.  The reason is that I’ve had a strong itch to spend as much time as I can in my workshop before I get busy with getting our yard, gardens and house ready for winter.  My list of chores includes spending at least 20 hours picking up our leaves.  I have an arsenal of gas and electric powered tools to help, but even so I’m often too tired or too cold when I finish for the night to machine metal.

It has nothing to do with metalworking but I want to tell you about my next-door neighbor who thinks it’s OK for her to blow her leaves into our yard.  It’s not by accident.  She’ll stand there and patiently use her leaf blower to push her leaves through a chain-link fence into my backyard.  I’m not sure why, but apparently she must think that the leaves that fall from my trees into her yard should be my problem not hers, and so should most of the leaves from her trees, along with anybody else’s leaves that blow into her yard.

She must not have noticed, or cares, that she is upwind of me and I get many more leaves from her trees than she gets from mine.  The only leaves she got from my trees were the ones that fell on windless days from branches that hung over her yard.  And now she doesn’t even get those, because she had my tree limbs, and all the other neighbor’s, cut off at her property line.

I can be very assertive but I don’t think it is smart to feud with a neighbor.  So I quietly put up with her for years.  But, a few years ago she was being particularly brazen about it so I called the police.  I was then surprised to find out there is no law against blowing your leaves into somebody else’s yard!

The police officer did change her behavior a little.  Instead of blowing her leaves directly into my yard she started leaving them in the front yard near the property line, where there is no fence, so the wind would do her dirty work for her.  And last year her new husband tried something different.  He blew the leaves out into rush hour traffic so the breeze from the cars would carry them down the road.  Most of them ended up in my yard, but some of the other neighbors got a chance to share some of the joy also.

Getting back to my workshop, I haven’t been doing much machining even though I’ve been spending a lot of time in it.  Instead, I’ve been concentrating on making more room in my shop by reorganizing it and ruthlessly getting rid of stuff that I don’t need or have no room for.

I don’t want to give anyone the impression that you need a lot of space to have a home machine shop.  You don’t, and for a long time mine only took up an 8×10-foot space in the back of our single-car garage.  But I’ve recently added a CNC mini-mill (used) that came in a large wooden enclosure, another lathe (a used 8×12 that I got a good deal on), and a 4×6 horizontal bandsaw (also used).  In addition, I already had a full-size table saw, a bandsaw, a large combination sander, bicycles, an outboard motor and some assorted yard tools.  It was crowded, although not as bad as you may think because most of my larger tools are mounted on wheels so I can store them out of the way when I’m not using them.

I do have one machining project I’m actively working on.  It’s HMEM’s EZ Build engine.  I invited a friend to come over and learn how to machine metal and I though it would be a good project for him to work on.  I also thought I should build one myself first.  So I put Jan Ridders’ ‘Simpler’ Stirling engine on hold again to do that.

There’s another reason why I haven’t been working on this web site much lately.  I’ve been taking a 3-hour MIG welding class on Monday nights.  You’ll be hearing more about that later.

– Rob

4 comments to I’ve had an itch to spend more time in my workshop

  • Brian
    October 12, 2010 at 11:36 AM | Reply

    … I see him there
    Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
    In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
    He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
    Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
    He will not go behind his father’s saying,
    And he likes having thought of it so well
    He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

  • Rob
    October 12, 2010 at 2:11 PM | Reply

    We know she would like us to replace our chain link fence with a tall privacy fence. But I’m not going to be bullied into anything, which is what she may be trying do. We’re not losing sleep yet over the leaves or any of the other problems we’ve had with her.

  • Mikey
    October 13, 2010 at 4:24 PM | Reply

    Clearly, she feels victimized. Those leaves bother her a lot more than they bother you, every day, leaf by leaf, they bother her. If you do nothing then that is the best course, I should think.

    With everything you do, Rob, you need some time in the cave. If a neighbor can bother you with petty behavior then the cave and time spent machining will help keep things in perspective. There are many things far more important than her.

  • Martin
    October 17, 2010 at 11:40 PM | Reply

    A mig welder is the tool that I’ve been considering for some time, but my lack of expertise has delayed my acquiring one. I really look forward to hearing about your knowledge and experience from the class!

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