There’s a couple of things I can say about spending eight straight hours with my power tools:
1.) My right bicep is trying to figure out what the hell just happened to it, as it hasn’t had a workout that good in, oh, four year or so.
2.) I have sawdust in orifices of my body that I don’t even want to think about… in fact, never mind.
3.) There is a hole in my shirt from an unfortunate incident involving the dremmel, and lets just say I’m lucky I’ll still be able to breast feed one day.
Oh, yeah, and…
4.) Hell yes! That was an absolutely glorious way to spend a day.
Why did I spend 8 hours with my tools? Two reasons really… first, I needed to make some more brooms. It’s become a compulsion. Second, I wanted to know how much time I actually invest in these brooms. Usually for me it’s a couple hours here and there– after work or on a Saturday. So I wanted to put a full days work into it and see where it got me.
8:53 AM- Cutting Blanks
Notice, safety glasses… but no shoes. This is how I roll.
*Incidently, every time I do a batch of brooms I like to do one expiremental version. (I have one in the shape of a naked lady sitting in the corner of the workshop in need of some attention.) And then there’s this… a retro/blocky/squares version of a crookedbroom. Because why not?
I push the jigsaw right to it’s limits on some of those turns, and while I am very selective about the wood I use, sometimes it can’t stand up to the pressure… but, as Bob Ross says, there are no mistakes, just happy little accidents.
11:47 AM – I Ponder the Importance of Fingers and Say A Prayer to God
I don’t just like tools… I love them. But I am not afraid to admit that this router scares the living shit out of me. The first time I went to use it, Ricky said “Oh-kay, you can use it, but as soon as you hit a knot that this is going to jump and take off one of your fingers… and you’re not even married yet.” Let’s all take a moment to ponder the significance of this statement.
Anyway, about the router. I love what it can do. I want one of my very own and some dovetail jigs and a thousand little bits I can use to do whatever the hell I want to with. However, there are some tools are just not built for someone whose hands are this size…
First, this damn thing doesn’t have a safety mechanism on it… it says on until you flip the off switch, so if it jumps out of my hand.. that’s no good. Second, it weighs like ten pounds. Third, the bit is moving at like 20,000 RPM. Fourth, my hands are too small for the grips.
All of these things are moot points because I can use the damn thing just fine, its just that mentally I don’t feel I have enough physical control over it and it stresses me out. So before I turned it on I said a little prayer that went something like “God, I’m 98% sure I haven’t done anything in recent memory for which I would have to pay the penance of losing a finger…. Okay, unless it’s my middle finger because I did flip that guy the bird the other day when he cut me off and then decided to drive 43 on the express way. But really that was justified right? I mean, 43 mph? Okay, but I’m sorry for that. Honestly. Please let me not lose a finger and be condemned to spinsterhood for the rest of my life. Amen”
I did not lose a finger. But I had myself so worked up about it that I wasn’t making very good cuts… obviously…
So when MysteryMan got home I was like, “look, just do this part for me because I’m a big sissy and I’m scared of the router.” This is a very hard thing for me to admit so he didn’t give me too much shit for it.
EDIT: I found that Bosch makes something called a palm router, which I’ve never actually seen in action before, but I’m buying one ASAP
1:10 PM Routed Broomsticks, No Missing Fingers
2:37 PM Relaxin’ With a Roto-Zip Bit
Now this I can do… it’s almost like meditation for me. This is where all the really shaping comes in to play, so depending on how well I do laying out the pattern and making that first trim, this could take anywhere from an hour and a half to three hours.
This one is ready for final sanding, which takes about an hour, and then stain and paint!
It took me an hour to get one more done, and then the amount of sawdust clogging my eyes and nostrils became unbearable. Not bad work for about 7 hours on a Saturday though. The retro broom is going to be a little more work to trim down than the rest, but the fun ones usually are.
Want one? This batch will be up for sale sometime next week or so!
A kindred spirit. I can relate to the tool size problem. I just finished using the sand blaster. At 5’2″ I could barely see in the window of the cabinet and the gloves are sooooo big I could barely hold on to what I was sandblasting.
Have you ever considered using a router table??? I don’t like handling the router either. Not enough strength to control it if it jumps.
I also can relate to working in bare feet. I was using a torch to bend some metal and forgot I was barefooted. Oops!!! Luckily it was just a little spark.
How do you attach the broom to the handle????
Fabulous patio, also.
How cool! Now I have this feeling, like I REALLY NEED a crocked broom! Seriously, those are awesome. Can’t wait to see them all done.
And yeah, what’s up with all power tools being for big men? Like us ladies don’t love power tools too?? 🙂
holy frickin crap…my heart was pounding on the router part. loving the creativity of the blocky broom. all very nice, especially the man shot!
I’m afraid of my Bosch router also. I was recently able to get over my hatred of the sawzall, so maybe you just need some router exposure therapy. But me? I’m going to get a trim router so I have an excuse not to use the big-momma router. And when I drop it on my feet while remodeling in my socks, maybe it won’t hurt as much.
Very cool broomsticks!
Like another commenter said, you could always move up to a router table, but then you’d be less likely to have sawdust make-out sessions with MM afterwards. 😛
How much do you manage to pull off these brooms? I need a hobby that makes more money than it consumes!
Actually, we spent an hour or two brainstorming over the router problem… with the size of this bit and the wood (and the fact that you’d have to run it on a curve instead of straight) we were thinking that might actually be more dangerous finger wise. However I’m still thinking about it… and masonite guides, and fingerguards… after all, there is a perfectly good router table in my grandpas garage 😉
As to the money… that was one function of doing the brooms all at once. Until then if someone asked how long it takes to get a broom done, from past experience I would say, oh, six to eighteen months. After all the materials that go into a broom, I make about $9/ hour on them. From start to finish it takes me around 6 hours to get one done… but you gain some economies of scale from making a batch all together.
And of course… they actually have to sell!
I enjoy the way this article was written, so easy to read it.
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