Last year, for some godforsaken reason, we finally succumbed to our media overlords and purchased cable TV. In our defense, it made internet access much cheaper and gave us a land-line. Plus, we bought the cheapest deal, the "family package", in which we discovered that families don't watch sports or news (you know, like the kind that basic cable gets you), those being too fru-fru, I suppose. There is probably a gem about the economic well-being of American families in there, somewhere; I'm just too tired to mine for it right now.
Anyhoo, I must admit that I have become hopelessly addicted to the DIY Network channel, with its interesting shows, its upbeat personalities, its 'go get 'em, Tiger!' attitude. Even its commercial breaks tend to be entertaining, containing little tips on how to lay a floor, build an addition, put in crown moulding, etc. The danger of the Do-It-Yourself channel is that it starts to convince you that you can, in fact, do it yourself. However, there are some pitfalls, especially for a person who can only afford cable that doesn't even give him CNN.
It's the little things that get to me, like how to save ten grand on your kitchen upgrade (if my kitchen upgrade saved ten grand, it would leave me about $9,950 richer than I am now). Or the army of helpers, power tools, and expertise each show comes equipped with. If I had a radial-arm saw, a four hundred horsepower compressor, nail guns and a table saw with a cavalry's-worth of sawhorses, I honestly believe I could do it myself. But, as I am reluctant even to purchase the 4x8 plywood for the lazy susan spinning shelf, my abilities are a tad constrained. (In its defense, DIY Network has a show called "Renovation Realities", where they basically pick on people who don't have bottomless tool sheds and scores of minions... but, at least it is reality TV that shows reality.)
I do have a ($75) bandsaw and some rotary tool stuff. I even have a circular saw. And I have various wood-removing hand tools (scraper, teeny handplane, dentally-challenged Japanese pull-saw, tiny Marples saw*). Of course, most of my tools have a beautiful, light, even layer of rust on their flat parts, a result of the seive-like roof of Castle Rattington, the storage shed. I don't know if you've ever had the pleasure of sawing down a palm tree with a Japanese pullsaw, but let me tell you that it's even more fun when the sawblade is missing a few teeth and looks like it was stored in a collander in a tidal zone.
I'd been overwhelmed by the notion of tackling that storage shed for a couple of years, and it wasn't until I tore out every hidey-hole for furred vermin that I realized I had a diamond-in-the-rough. It's big enough (say, 14'x7'), and after removing the weird shelving from a previous owner, I felt like I had something to work with. I knuckled under and bought a sheet of pegboard, hung a bunch of tools, and suddenly the place actually felt useful. What I needed was more organizing storage... which, if one were completely seduced by the DIY channel and various interesting sites on the internet, would require more purchases.
Shaking my head to remove the consumerist fog, I looked around at what I already had: An old duck-and-dog house that, for emotional reasons, I still can't touch; a few cedar fenceboards that I'd purchased when I realized how useful and cheap they are; various hinges and such from previous unfinished projects; a pile of wood boxes I'd acquired via craigslist's free site (another addiction that doesn't cost a thing, except perhaps the emotional state of one's spouse). I cut a couple of boxes to size, attached them to a piece of cedar fenceboard, and now I've got a nifty little container for the rotary tool drill press. I plan to mount it to the bottom of of a cedar fenceboard shelf, and build a cedar fenceboard spinning shelf atop it for the rotary tool bits and pieces.
I just may have the nicest-smelling workshop in town.
|...did I mention that the boxes were free?|