Friday, September 16, 2016

Pick a Date and Celebrate, by....changing batteries!

  Years ago I learned about changing batteries from  a friend who was a serious photographer.  Philip told me that he changed all the batteries in his cameras each year on his birthday, whether he had used that camera much during the year or not .   The fire department wants you to change the batteries in your smoke detector annually too, on your birthday. This way you have fresh working batteries all the time.

  I went to school forever, (or so it seemed), and then I taught school for years and so now September is the time I try to take care of those annual things. Each year in September I take my saw blades in to be sharpened. My table saw and sliding mitre saw have Freud blades.  I like Freud blades because I feel they are good value for money, especially since the blades can easily be sharpened 4 or 5 times. I figure that it works out to about $30.00 year per blade to have good sharp blades in my shop.  

  Another annual job is more of a mess and one that I hate.  I take my vacuum and dust collection systems totally apart and clean all the cracks and crevasses.  I use the fall clean up to clean all the filter bags and vacuum filters.  Once a year I take both dust collection bags off the machine and shake all the fine built up dust outside. Yes I know I should do that every time I change a bag but I don't, I am always in the midst of a project and don't want to  interrupt my work.  

  A September job is assessing consumable supplies.  We have a big wood show in our area in September and that is where I buy glue, drill bits,  sand paper and misc. nuts and bolts when I can.  It seems as though I need those consumables regardless of whether I have had a busy or slack year in the shop.

  This is also the time of the full-on cleaning blitz. I get down on the floor and sweep up the lost screws and bits of wood from underneath the work benches and dark corners.  As a  well known wood junkie this is also the time I gather all the little useless bits of wood and condemn then to the fire, (in two life times I couldn't use all the little bits I collect in a box by the mitre saw as wedges and cleats.)

  At some point in September I sharpen or check for sharp, all my knives and chisels  Generally I put them away sharp one is perfect.

  Over the course of the year I gather empty containers and shop rags, always more than I need, and so those extras are recycled. 

  I have a large collection of wood working books and plans which I often peruse for ideas.   This is the time I put them back on book shelves and into folders to make way for new projects.

  Changing the furnace filter is another thing I do to get the season started.  Our furnace hasn't come on yet this year but......the time is coming soon. 
 Our summer's are humid and this is when I check tools and machines for the beginnings of rust and wipe them down with wax or surface treatment.

  If I were a more dedicated/disciplined person or not doing wood working as a hobby I might do most of these annual things regularly  and not let them add up over the year.  But...I'm not. 
I suspect many people are like I am and so I encourage you  pick a regular time to take care of this type of task, including changing the batteries in your smoke detector and camera.

cheers, ianw


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