Thoughts on Rainy Night

Here is the monthly stream-of-consciousness about my shop construction. I have a permit to build – at least, the development review board approved my application, so I will get the paperwork in the mail in the next few days. I have milled about a quarter of the major timbers; and the pile of 1″ sheathing is growing fast. I will be out of easy space to store lumber in a few weeks. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it then.

I need to be out in the woods more in the next month cutting trees for the joists (timbers to which the floor is nailed). VELCO, the local electricity transmission folks are putting in a new line and will begin clearing their right-of-way in June or July. I want to get the hickory trees out before they are piled in a big heap. The trees are only eight inches in diameter, but thirty to forty feet to the first knot. Each tree contains two 12′ joists and the top can be used for a pole for two-horse implements, or some of the best firewood southern Vermont has to offer.

It seems a shame to clear all that land for dubious reasons. All those trees would grow to fantastic specimens if they were given the time. But instead we will clear-cut God knows how many acres so that we can be assured of having more than enough electricity to run our televisions, refrigerators, Christmas lights (year round) and blog on our computers!, not to mention use table saws and the like. I sometimes feel like a visitor from an earlier century. I don’t quite understand the desire for bigger, shoddily constructed and more in debt. Debts of money, debts of oxygen, debts of community, debts of understanding. When will we ever learn?

On other fronts, I have been building furniture in my shop! The third blanket-chest-as-wedding-present for a particular client. Nothing fancy or innovative about this design, just pine with dovetails, bracket feet and names and a date carved on the front. However, this time, I have made the hinges from scratch in the forge. In the past, I used screen door strap hinges and customized them in the forge to look good. It is satisfying work to take a straight, blank strap of mild steel and transform it with heat and hammer into something useful, in fact, something that does work.

Sorry, no pictures this time. Every thing looks like sawdust, anyways. There will be something to see (and show) next month. You can always see pictures of my work at


1 thought on “Thoughts on Rainy Night

  1. Dorset Custom Furniture

    Hi Jason … Sounds like you’re busy .. I didn’t know you had a forge. The forging thing is a nice process and it’s handy to be able to make your own stuff like that.
    I built my first shop kind of like you are doing back in 1976 and it is a lot of work. When you look back on it later though it will feel REALLY good … Keep at it and good luck … I’m building a new woodshed and that’s about enough ‘spare time’ work for me right now.


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