Growing Pains

Well, we made the decision to put our house up for sale as we were rapidly outgrowing it, especially the “wood shop.” We didn’t even need to list the house before it sold and we were suddenly in a jam to get tools in storage and get out. So unfortunately that means the tools are in hibernation for about a year, as is our Etsy shop. Hope to re-open in about 12 months, if things go smoothly. Now on the hunt for enough space to build a decent workshop so we can start cranking out wooden toys and other curiosities. Thanks all for the support. Be back soon!


Getting Back to It

Christmas came and went in a blur of snow, gifts, family, sickness, and lights. It was one for the books. We opened the shop for just a few orders and sent them out just before the Holiday. Some were marble runs and some were signs made with the new toy! (Which we will share more about soon. It is bomb and already part of the family!) Then we closed down to just enjoy the time together, because we knew at the first of the year everything was going to change. Things were going to pick up. And, indeed they have. Here are just a few of the things we have checked off thus far…and it is only January 15th:

  • Helped a neighbor with his Eagle Scout Project
  • Put our son’s “night light” on a timer so he won’t leave his room at 6am
  • Used the juicer 5 times
  • Ate out only 6 times (big deal for us)
  • Got pelted with “pepper balls” four days in a row (real job stuff)
  • Cleaned the entire house
  • Filled five garbage bags to donate
  • Visited with a realtor
  • Had her do a walk through of the house
  • Talked about our need for a larger plot and detached workshop
  • Boxed up some things for storage
  • Noted all the fixes that must be done before March 1st
  • Purged one bookshelf
  • Made a list of 10 pet friendly apartments in the area
  • Got contact information for a great contractor
  • Drove through a beautiful area of town, lot shopping

It is insane how quickly things are moving, but we honestly feel the time is right. With The Workbench LLC expanding and our garage overrun with tools and toys, we are just about bursting from the seams here. We like where we live, and will be sad to give up a few things likes friends, routines, and Google Fiber (yes, we are real attached to our internet provider). But we also know that now is the best time to jump on the market before things get crazy in the summer.

All this to say, yes! The shop will re-open, and soon. But we won’t be producing nearly as much product because of all the big changes happening right now. However, you can expect big things from us once we find, build, and get into our new place.

On the Job

iPhone August 452

There is so much to be said about being a parent and still getting things done. This little guy is so full of life and fun, it makes things like housework, job work, and yes even woodworking seem like the most dismal accomplishments in the universe.Sometimes the best you can do just has to be enough. At the end of the day it is better to have a list full of unaccomplished tasks and a happy child, than the reverse. So, superheros it is. I’ll be Flash and you be Flash, and Woody, and Buzz riding on cool airplanes. You will only be 2.5 once, Littleman. I don’t plan on missing it.

PSA: Gold Spray Paint

iPhone August 033Been working on a few projects for our new arrivals nursery and gold has really been the order of the day. We were originally thinking of doing a focal wall with big textured gold stripes, so we went looking for a gold spray paint that would match our vision. These cans seriously look like they could be the same color, one is just “hammered” and the other is not. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Before you spray paint anything, test it in a similar material. It will save you time, effort, clean up, and disappointment. For example, we would have been extremely disappointed had we painted anything for baby sister’s room with the Rust-oleum Hammered Gold Spray Paint. The coloring was very green, or brown, or something not really looking like gold. Even letting it dry did not change the hue of this paint at all. This was definitely a paint you would consider using on outdoor furniture, or something of that sort. Unfortunately that was not what we were doing.

As for the Rust-oleum Metallics Gold Spray Paint, we were really hesitant to try this one. This too looked like it would come out a green gold and would not provide the kind of results we wanted. In fact, of the two cans of metallic spray paint, this was the one we were most hesitant to try in the first place. However, Pinterest lead us to it, so it must be good right? Well, at least right in this case. This gold spray paint is bright, and yellow, and very much the metallic luster it claims to be. There is a bit of a gold tint, but nothing appalling. We used this paint on the edge of a decorative mirror, on the base of the crib, on hardware for the dresser–on pretty much every surface and material. The results were just beyond expectations.

Two thumbs up for the Metallics Gold Spray Paint and one thumbs down on the Hammered version.

Top 5 : Tools in the Garage

Starting a garage workshop has taken a lot of time, quite a lot of money, and needless to say, a number of tools. Over time I have quickly come to see what tools work well for my needs. I love to work on a variety of projects, everything from heavy duty furniture to small detailed puzzles. As such, there are certain tools I just could not live without. These are just my top 5 tools I have in my little workshop.
Ryobi 15-Amp 10 in. Table Saw
My table saw is a love hate relationship. I hate how dangerous this thing is, but I love how useful it can be. Really the best thing about it is I can rip wide boards in half. I buy the cheaper value lumber and get twice the product. Boom! Also, I love how simple it is to use. Before I got a table saw I thought I really didn’t need it, but now that I’ve lived on the other side, I can’t seem to figure out how to do things without it any more. In my dream world I will one day be able to afford a “Saw Stop” table saw. I’ve just seen too many people with missing fingers to not fear the power of this tool.
This is the saw that I use the absolute most, without any question. Even though this one took a part of me with it when I sliced my thumb, I will still love the infinite uses this saw provides. I bought this saw back when we were building our backyard awning, wow over 5 years ago, and have used it on virtually every project since. I hope to upgrade to a larger one some day, but will never get rid of the one I have now unless it completely breaks.
PORTER-CABLE 8-Amp 12-Speed Drill Press
My Drill press has been one of the best tools in my shop for many reasons. First, I can make perfectly straight holes in my projects with this tool. Second, I can install a drum style sander in the chuck and use it as a sander for curved and small pieces. Third, I found that I was able to use it to polish the brass rods for the clock projects I have made. The drill press seems like such a simple tool, but it has been worth its weight in gold, so a special thanks to my wife for gifting this to me for xmas.
Ryobi 32 in.x 16 in.Universal Router Table
4. Router and Router
I have two of theses in my shop and it still isn’t enough. An old woodworking friend of mine once said that you could tell the quality of a woodworker simply by finding out how many router’s he owned. Its the truth. This tool was used to make the tracks for my marble runs, decorative edging on the entertainment center, rounded corners on the dresser, and the handles on the bed drawers. There are so many different uses to a router and so many different router bits that this is the ultimate tool and can easily become one of the most expensive when all is said and done. The router itself is not all that pricey (in comparison of other power tools) but after you get the router bits and a router table if you want one, the cost starts to add up fast. However, this is another dangerous tool that can easily grab the wood and cause some major damage to the project or the person so I am extra cautious when using it.
DELTA 1.3-Amp Variable Speed Scroll Saw
This has to be my favorite tool that I own, not because its the most useful (because its not), but because it is the most fun. With this tool I can make all the small intricate cuts in wood. With my scroll saw I’ve made animal puzzles, jewelry, clock gears (in fact build an entire clock with this tool alone), helix marble run, and so much more I can’t even remember all the things I’ve built with this guy. I also like that it is so easy to use and there is only a small risk of injury and no chance of loosing a limb.  I can’t wait to explore all the other ways to use this tool.

Thumbs Down

thumbs down


Well, we have some sad news. Spencer, Mr. Workbench himself, had a bit of a disagreement with our compound miter saw and the saw won. It took a bit of his fingernail and flesh as a consolation prize. This just goes to show that no matter how comfortable you are around power tools, accidents still happen. It is so important to be careful and use proper safety when you tackle any kind of project. And now, if you are even the least bit squeamish you might want to stop reading and just skip along to another one of our delightful posts because it is about to get real, and even a little grizzly up in here.

On the morning of the accident I was going about my morning business of feeding our 14 month old son his breakfast. He was still in footy pajamas and I was nursing a box of Kleenex trying to get past what had been my worst night’s sleep since catching a dreadful cold. Spencer was out in the garage hoping to finish a custom project for a customer. Suddenly, from the garage, I heard a shout. A very loud, very painful shout. I knew immediately something bad had happened. The garage door opened, Spence shouted up the stairs that we needed to go to the emergency room, and a whole lot of scrambling happened.

While I drove Spence sat sweating in the passenger seat gripping his thumb in a hand towel and Blakie sat quietly in his car seat. I dropped Spence off at the ER and ran to go fill up our empty tank of gas. By the time we got back to the hospital Spence was trying to talk to a nurse. He was sweating bullets and looking very white. After intake we were moved to a small little room where a nurse came to check things out. I swear, every practitioner who uncovered Spencer’s thumb made a little grimace. I glanced over a couple of times and, in their defense, it was a little grotesque, but it certainly could have been much worse.

Spence got a shot of anesthetic to numb the pain and then we waited. We had to wait a while, which was not a problem. There was a teenage boy in the ER with a serious, life threatening infection and he needed to be tended to. While we waited I read to Blake and tried to take Spencer’s mind off of his severed digit. Blake fell asleep, Spencer got another shot for his pain, and the Doctor came to check it out. He made a little face too. Surprisingly there was not a lot of blood, but there was a bit of finger missing.

After looking things over the Doctor said there wasn’t anything to stitch, so the best thing they could do was clean it and bandage it up then just let it heal on its own. Another option was to remove Spencer’s nail, but the Doc didn’t recommend it. So Spencer was wrapped up and released. When we got home he even examined the floor of the garage in search of the tip of his finger. Know what? He found it. Yuck! Luckily I didn’t have to see it. Throughout the rest of the day he was in a lot of pain, but I was just glad he would recover and his injury wouldn’t likely even be noticeable once it healed.

Now I get to re-wrap his bandages, ew, and not allow him to work in the garage for a very long time. As you might have guessed, this means things will be even slower around The Workbench, but we hope to have one prototype to show you all soon. I’ll give you a hint, it is another marble run!

See you on the flip side and THUMBS UP!

Welcome to the New Year

Well, we cannot believe a new year is upon us and our business has been up and running for over half of a year now. Crazy!

Things have been going really well and after the Bijou Market we ended up selling all of our inventory. Granted, not all of it was sold at the market itself, but the venue definitely helped to get our company name out there in the real world instead of simply online. The Holidays treated us well and we are really excited to start working on new things for the New Year.

Some of these new things, we hope, will include Mr. Workbench projects as well as some Mrs. Workbench projects. We also want to get you acquainted with our shop as well as some of the tools we love and love to covet. We want to make this blog a little more DIY friendly instead of merely a listing place for our products. We also hope to make a few videos for fun.

Granted these changes will all be a bit of a learning curve, so give us some time to get things together. Also, Spencer is still recovering from his arm injury. That paired with the winter weather is really slowing us down.