The Prodigal Carpenter's Ten Commandments of Shop Life

Reviewing these from time to time will help keep your “shop life” smooth and productive!

  1. Pray First:  Essential for me is acknowledging God as not only the provider of all things but also the One who gifts us with our skills. Pray for alertness and safety.

    2. Clean Area Before Starting: Look around, is there stuff on the floor, your workbench, laying on your table saw?  Believe me you’ll have to move them sooner or later so start fresh by putting everything away and cleaning up before you start.  I’m the worst at diving into a project then having to stop, clean up, and start over!

    This is a bad way to start

    Much Better!
    1. Test your tools:  In time your saw blades may dull or even loosen, your homemade sleds may get out of square, your extension cords may begin to wear or fray; do yourself a favor and give a quick test/inspection BEFORE using your tools.
    1. Take the time to prep: The more I plan and prep the better my result, so like anything else preparation is key.  Sketch your product on paper, have the tools you’ll need ready to go; the more time spent on the front end the less you get caught in scramble mode.

    1. Beware of overextending yourself or your equipment..  Can you really cut a 4 x 8 sheet of ¾” plywood on a wobbly base?  When I exceed my capabilities 1 of 3 things will happen:  an accident, poor workmanship, or perhaps success (but let's face it, that's less likely).  We increase our odds when we either get help or find another way to "skin that cat".

    1. Don your apron, sharpen your pencil, and have a blast.
    1. Measure twice, cut once: the carpenter's motto!  Nuff said.
    1. Don’t be afraid to stop and walk away.  Sometimes projects don’t  go well, so before you get overwhelmed….STOP, take a break, walk away. I’m amazed at how well I do with a fresh outlook instead of grinding through to completion.
    1. Work smart not hard.  Find ways to hone your craft before tackling the impossible.  My wife has an abundance of cutting boards that were all part of my learning curve. Thankfully she loves to cook and spends as much time in food prep using those boards as I do in project prep.

    1. Quit work at least 20 minutes before your planned stop time. This allows ample clean-up time and will save you a step (#2 above) when you return to your shop.  

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