Wood shop provides escape from winter

The thermometer read minus-41 on Monday morning.
The temperature had not changed all weekend and I guess that is good because all weekend I was buried in my wood shop. The heaters were churning out their BTUs, the radio was turned to CBC, and I was in my own world (my wife was travelling and I was alone).
In the summer, I enjoy fishing as a hobby. In winter, I like to tuck myself away in the garage and do woodworking. The majority of my woodworking projects involve building furniture.
The projects have ranged from shelves to tables to Adirondack chairs—and now to a deck chair modelled on those that were on the sunning deck of the Titanic.
Each project has been a little more complicated than the previous year’s one. And each seems to require additional tools to the workshop. All of my work has used wood that has been grown, harvested, cut, and planed in the district.
The dining table that sits in the sunroom of our cottage is jointed with white pine, red pine, spruce, and balsam. I kept the wood all natural in colour, and each species has changed to a different honey shade.
My children gave a lot of kidding when the table was being taken to the lake (the top alone required three people to carry it). The final assembly took place in the sunroom.
The table took up all of the room in the shop that winter, and it wasn’t until the following year that the benches were designed and built. They are equally massive (it was another case of over-building).
And even though they can be flipped open to reveal a storage compartment, I doubt that much will ever be stored because they are now so heavy to move.
As mentioned, this winter’s project is deck chairs, which are being made from ash that was sawn and kiln dried at Manitou Forest Products. They will be stained a dark mahogany red colour and will be on the deck this summer.
They are my most ambitious project.
One chair alone took more than a day to cut out on the band saw. I have spent several evenings making tendon joints for the back, the seat portion, and the footstool with only dry fitting the pieces.
There are lots of pieces to put together, and the next couple of weeks will involve lots of sanding and gluing. But what began as a bunch of boards is being transformed into something beautiful.
The wood is taking on its own sheen. The chair with so many curves will begin taking shape this week. Hopefully in a month, the staining and final finishing will begin.
The workshop is an escape from winter. The smell of fresh-cut wood fills the air. The room is warm and close.
In the meantime, building furniture is my escape from reality. So maybe it is a good thing to have plunging temperatures in January.

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