Entrepreneurship is like jumping off a cliff and trying to build an airplane on the way down.
A friend of mine on twitter posted that quote a few weeks ago and it pretty much sums up the commercialization of my woodworking thus far. Maybe I'll fail because of it, but honestly I am not all that worried about it since I don't rely on it in any magnitude to keep food on the table.
Since this is my first year doing taxes as a sole proprietor of an LLC, I'm curious to know how anyone else handles their tax stuff. The amount of business I do hasn't justified any type of book keeping software, so to date I've just been keeping receipts in a folder and tracking sales using the Paypal Here app. I'm assuming I need to classify 3 things: revenue, expenses, and capital? Is there a certain dollar amount to the IRS that has to qualify as capital (aka depreciable deductions?)
Also as I understand it, I need to make a table of all my tools, what I paid for them, assign a percentage of "personal use" and then use the MACRS table to determine the depreciation. Do you do the same thing with utilities? All my work happens in the attached garage, so it seems logical I should be able to count some amount of power, water and internet as business expenses. What about my car that is all stickered up with the S&S logo. Obviously I can count miles going to shows and to get materials as expenses, but is the cost of that vehicle (minus the personal usage percentage) valid for depreciation? Does that then make it a commercial vehicle and affect my insurance? What about the house? Now I see why business people wait so long to finish their taxes.
As you can tell, I haven't though all of this stuff out. Any experience that ya'll have had would be valuable information.
Do you guys ever have problems with doing what's right. I'm not talking about philosophical or ethical right or wrong, I'm just talking about simple tasks that you know you should just do. Exercise? No thank you, this couch might up and walk off if I get up. Diet? Are you crazy?! I can't survive without 12 servings of carbs a day. Write a blog post? But there's a How It's Made marathon on, and those only happen once a year right?
My biggest issue? CLUTTER! It dominates every aspect of my life. It doesn't matter if it's my car, my desk at work, my bathroom counter, or the drawers of my nightstand. My wife believes it is all due to the scientific phenomenon known as Hurricane Lloyd. I've witnessed it myself. My wife could spend hours cleaning a room of our house, leave me alone in the room for 5 minutes wearing a straightjacket, and when she comes back it looks like the zombie apocalypse has started.
You can guess what the worst location is: that's right, the workshop. I genuinely have had plans for months to start offering a video podcast focused on woodturning, but I'm too ashamed of the mess in my shop to put anything out there. I let stuff build up until I spend more times looking for tools than working. I've built several storage pieces and read so many tips on organizing, but I seem to have a physical disability that prevents me from putting something back where I got it from as soon as I am finished with it. My father tried physical therapy known as boot to ass, which seems to have been ineffective to this date.
Who else struggles with this? Any of you defeated this crippling disease? Do we need need to start a support group? Help me help myself!
Sorry folks, I know I said I would have this post up within a couple of hours from the other one, but when I got down to trying to explain how this system works at the microscopic level I had trouble working it out in my head. So that being, said, I'm going to just tell you about how to execute the method of sharpening, and will have to follow up later with some detailed pictures on what is happening and how this works from a physics standpoint.
Since a cutting edge is simply an intersection of two surfaces, and it is impossible to overflatten one surface to make up for the other one. The first step to having a truly sharp chisel or plane blade is to flatten the back of the tool. Chisels should be flat over 70% of the surface, and at a minimum it should be completely flat at least an inch back from the cutting edge. Plane blades do not need to be flat over the entire surface, and this can be addressed using the ruler trick to be discussed later. Rob showed a quick and easy way to check for flatness.When looking at the polished surface, look at the reflection of a fluorescent light tube. If it's not flat, the mirror image will bend off to one side or the other, following the profile of the surface. A good chisel should be prepped first on a 1000 grit diamond stone. If it's in really bad shape you may have to go down to 300, and at that level Rob recommended just scrapping the tool and finding on in better shape. I've got a set of Craftsman chisels that I bought right after I started woodworking, and now that I know what to look for I realize how horrible they really are. When I was getting them ready for the dovetail class, I flattened the backs to what I thought was a reasonable level and then put them in the Veritas MKII jig. After polishing up to 4000 grit on the secondary bevel, I noticed the bevel looked slightly crooked. At first I thought it was the fault of the MKII, but upon further investigation I found that the sides weren't even flat enough to register in the jig correctly. I think I might try a set of Stanley Sweethearts, but I hate getting rid of tools so I plan on flattening and tuning the Crapsmans just to practice. Here's a video of Rob in action:
Now that the back is flat, you can move on to address the primary bevel. Rob used the wolverine and slow speed grinder to get the primary bevel set to 25 degrees. He did not bother touching this up on the diamond or water stones. He used the analogy of a hockey goalie constantly hitting the uprights of the goal with his stick to know where he was in the box. The primary bevel serves as your goal post when you sharpen by hand. Put the heel of the chisel or plane blade to the 1000 grit honing stone, lift the handle until you feel the primary bevel ("Find the goal posts"), then lift the handle another 2 degress and start honing the secondary bevel. Hone until you can just barely feel a burr across the entire width of the blade.This should take about 10 seconds. Next, move over to the 16,000 grit stone (make sure you have flattened this stone first!), find your goal posts, raise 2 degrees, and then raise two more degrees to establish a tertiary bevel. Hone for 10 seconds and you're almost done. The burr probably will have fell off by this point, but just to be sure, flip it back over and lap the back for 3 seconds on the 16,000 grit. If it is a plane blade, use the ruler trick to establish a very slight back bevel by laying a 6" machinist ruler on the stone, and lap the back of the plane blade for 3 seconds. Because you aren't using the back of the plane blade to register during a cutting operation, you don't have to worry about lapping the entire back surface like the chisel.
I know it seems odd jumping from 1000 to 16000 grit like that, but I can attest that we were able to make paring cuts on the end grain of some southern yellow pine with absolute ease. I think that's probably all you folks want to read at one time, so I'll try to follow up later this week with some illustrations to show whats physically happening with a secondary and tertiary bevel approach, as well as some of the ergonomic cues and stances he used during honing operations by hand.
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Out of the 12 hours I spent on learning to cut dovetails last week, probably 3 hours of that was spent on sharpening. According to Rob Cosman this is the biggest problem woodworkers face, whether they know it or not. I have tried a few different shapening methods and gadgets, most of which Rob ruled was not good enough or a waste of money.
My Current setup consists of:
-DMT Duosharp system (8") with extra coarse/coarse and fine/extra fine grit (200 - 1200 grit) stones
-Woodcraft 12" Granite Plate with Pinnacle Diamond Films in 15, 5, and .3 micron (1200, 5000, 16000 grit)
-Veritas MkII Honing Jig
-Oneway Wolverine Grinding jig with a Ryobi 8" Bench Grinder
Of course there are many ways to skin a cat, and some would argue there was nothing wrong with what I was doing. What I have to go on in my limited expereience is the results I achieved with my old methods, and the results I experienced using Rob's method. In the class we used the following:
- Trend 300/1000 grit diamond stone
- Shapton 16,000 grit ceramic stone
- HoneRite Gold Water Additive
- Wolverine Grinding Jig (At least I got that right!)
- Delta 8" Slow Speed Grinder with COARSE stone
I've assembled an Amazon Store here in case you're looking to buy any of this stuff. A couple of quick notes on why these things make a difference:
Trend Diamond Stone
Why would I switch to the Trend stone when I have the bases covered with my DMT's? One word: FLATNESS. It doens't matter what type and size of grit you use if your stone isn't flat. I can't even find published values on the flatness of the DMT's, while the Trend is guaranteed to be within +/- 0.0005!!! The 300 side can be used to flatten the Shapton 16,000 stone. Don't get me wrong, the DMT's work well for general shapening and I will continue to use them on my pocket knives and turning tools, but there's no way they can achieve the flatness on their plastic substrate compared to the metallic on the Trend. Oh, by the way, the Trend has a 5 year guarantee on it.
HoneRite Gold Water Additive
One thing I noticed with the DMT's is they will rust if you dont keep them completely dry. HoneRite, in addition to being a lubricant, renders water non-corrosive. One bottle of HoneRite is good for a couple gallons of water. Just add a few drops in a spray bottle and your'e good to go.
Shapton Ceramic Stones
I believe these are universally recognized as probably the best honing stones in the world. At $130 the 16,000 isn't ridiculously priced and will probably last the average woodworker 10+ years. Be careful, the one we used in the glass got knicked in a few places from inexperienced people trying to sharpening. It might be safest to use the granite plate and .3 micron diamond films. Probably won't be as good as the Shapton, but I plan on getting by with it for the short term. I'll cover how we jump from 1,000 to 16,000 in a minute.
Wolverine/Slow Speed Grinder
At least I have this base covered. I could not get by on the turning side of the hobby without this setup. I don't have a slow speed grinder, but I've kludged a setup together using one of those inline speed control boxes from Harbor Freight. I was thinking about replacing the stones on the grinder with fine ones, and this was something that Rob was against. The finer stones are going to heat the metal that much faster and you'll risk losing the temper on the metal. He also brought attention to the fact that the large substantial grinding platform of the Wolverine acts like a heatsink, especially with larger pieces like plane irons.
Check back in a few hours for Part II where I'll go into the actual honing techniques to get razor sharp edges.
I'm 31, a Registered SC Professional Engineer, Certified Project Management Professional, and all around nerd.