Ramblin' Dan's Workshop

The Sanctum of Fine Art and Invention

My Four Hoods

I have two major hobby passions and a whole lot more minor ones. I am at a point where I want to set a creative path for the time I have in my final hood of life. I have made it through childhood, parenthood, career-hood and peering into retirement-hood. They all overlap but the hobby enjoyment is getting more attention these days.

I have been building toward that last retirement-hood for more than 15 years. That is when I started a planned mission to build a small workshop I could spend a lot of time using rather than trying pay for in retirement.

A complication set in that I had to include in my plans. It's something I had years before but didn't know what is was or how it would affect my plans. It's called Peripheral Neuropathy (PN) in a version called CMT. Google it if you want to know more. Lots of information out there I don't want to repeat.

The result is I mostly have to sit down to stay stable and I am slowly but permanently losing motor skills, heavy in my lower legs and less so in my hands and arms. I am determined to push on and work to the edge of my abilities.

So my creative urges are becoming what I can do from a seated position. The keyboard here while I am writing is one good path I can still mentally trod. It's why I have so many blogs and publications on the Internet. I have become a very good web site creator.

However, I still have a passion to create more tangible output. Re-enter the workshop! Ha!

The seated computer use has led me through CAD/CAM/ CNC for operations within my workshop. That involves hours at the computer developing work that is automated in the workshop without me standing and turning wheels. A very good plan for me so far. I will continue in that direction.

But I miss the hand work too. I want to do more before I totally loose the ability in my fingers and hands. The CMT is non-curable but it can be slowed down by exercise and keeping muscles working. I always sit on a stool when working in the shop. I need to be seated.

I have seen a light! I have played with wood carving and especially power wood carving with rotary tools. After hogging out, the work requires only a light touch with todays high speed tools. The work is done SITTING DOWN in a comfortable position for hours at a time. More of that is in my future. I am currently working on better dust control.

I also looked at fine metal crafting which gets very close to jewelery making. I am not talking about just stringing bead earrings but real metal and art crafting. The hand work jeweler has created a working environment and a workspace that is perfect for my needs. They sit with everything they need surrounding them. They have superior lighting and use hand and power (rotary) tooling. CNC is becoming a strong asset to their work.

I don't see my self becoming a jeweler per-say, but I can adopt the working style to my needs. I like the bench and the arm rests and the concentrated working area. It's work that is done mostly SITTING DOWN in a comfortable position. Yep, gotta put that on my list. I see a lot of professional model makers with the same setup. It's because it works! I take a look at pros as they have to make their working spaces as efficient and comfortable as possible. I can do the same.

My projects are going to evolve from the pure mechanical to the artsy. I want to be able to sell what I create and the market for mechanical gadgets is not as open as practical display art. Well, to me a finely made model engine is a work of art, but the audience that thinks the same is limited.

What I am going to do it to please myself and have fun as comfortable as possible. If other folks like what I make, I may sell. I put a slogan in the header of my Dimensional Art Org website; “Do what you love for those who love what you do.”

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