What happened??

I’m baaaaaack! (Sort of)

It’s been over a year now since my last post—it’s amazing how much time 3 kids can eat up.

My youngest son was born in January of 2014 and pretty much all of last year was devoted to helping care for the infant while making sure the older two (now 6 and 4) didn’t (a) kill each other or (b) burn the house down while attempting (a).

The workshop was closed up for the winter last year around this time and I have shamefully relegated the workbench to a storage receptacle. But, as the days turned into weeks, and the weeks into months, I had less and less time to putter around the shop. Once the big projects were completed for the older kids (the Princess castle bookcase for my daughter and the Saturn V rocket bookcase for my son) the priorities in the household shifted from creating things and expanding our furniture to simply surviving the day and making sure we had enough diapers and wipes on hand.

Fast forward through the long cold winter of 2015 and the summer without end (though as mild as this summer was, the case could be made it was also the year without summer). Since I knew I wouldn’t be able to get back in the shop, gaze at the stars (my neglected astronomy blog can be found here), or participate in any of my diverse hobbies for the foreseeable future, I focused on writing in the spare minutes and hours here and there scattered throughout the year. I ended up writing 4 books in the last 12 months and the inspiration just keeps coming. If you want to see what I’ve been up to, see my writing blog or website—Marcus Richardson is my pseudonym.

But now that the older kids are back in school and the youngster is getting into that independent phase of life, my duties are shifting from following him around constantly to being in the same room as he plays with his toys. He just wants to know I’m nearby, and sometimes makes sure I’m available to “play car”. So I keep my notebook handy and jot down story ideas.

Lately though, the lack of sawdust in my life has been gnawing at my soul. I started carrying my design book around, too (just a composition notebook filled with sketches and dimensions of projects I’d like to build at some point). Recently I flipped through it and rediscovered a lot of great ideas and it got my creative juices going.

Every now and then, a break from writing and all the thinking that goes along with that pursuit is in order. I need to recharge. The best way I’ve found has been to escape to the shop and make some sawdust.

This couldn’t have happened at a better moment, as my wife and I decided on a rather large project (my biggest to date) to be completed for Christmas as a gift to all three of our kids. I’ll give you a hint, it has to do with Lego’s (which all three seem obsessed with, though in his defense, the little guy really plays with Duplos more than Lego’s—he just likes being near his older siblings).

So here’s what I did lately to get the rust off my tools and skills (yes, there was a little rust on my plane irons—I’ll be fixing that soon):

  1. A new mallet!
  2. A pair of kick-ass sawhorses!
  3. An oven rack puller!
  4. A Japanese-inspired planing bench! (wait, what?)

Stay tuned for more details. The Mallet is first up…


About Steven M. Vaught

A native son of Delaware, now living in Illinois, Steven is a writer, family historian, amateur astronomer, sometimes-gardener, woodworker, father to three wonderful children, husband to a wonderful wife, and caretaker of one cheeky vizsla.
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