I quit my job a few days ago, so it’s time to get started on some real projects. I’m building out a workshop over at NIMBY. It’s in West Oakland, near the port. I’ve heard the area referred to as “dogtown” (as opposed to dogpatch, in SF, I guess). It’s a strange mix of industrial, aging residential, and brand new vandalism-resistant condos. Every block has a different personality - some are benign, and some scare the shit out of me.
The seemingly inexorable death of the industrial zones at the hands of the housing boom has halted, and in a weird place. The warehouses are here, but they’re empty, or converted to light industry. Some were probably waiting to be torn down so more condos could go in. But it’s bustling during the day; we’re next to a lumberyard and a recycling center. The local drug addicts are omnipresent, and always hungry for scrap to feed their habits. We let them go through the trash, and they leave our stuff (and cars) alone. It’s an amicable relationship, conducted at arm’s length.
One beneficial side effect of the death of industry is that there’s a LOT of equipment available at the wrecking yards, and it’s being sold at scrap metal prices. This is large stuff, so it’s hard to resell. All of it requires a forklift to move, and it runs on three phase power, which isn’t available to your average home based woodworker. Details on the machines when I have more of them in my greedy little hands, but it looks promising.
The space that I’m turning into a shared workshop is reasonably large - about 1500 square feet. It’s going to need a lot of help. But today was a milestone, I think. One of the local business had a large Taiwanese dust collector, a little banged up. I have one of these at home, and I can’t say that I love it, but it’s functional, and I”m not excited about hauling mine across the bay. I offered the shopowner a low price, and he thought a moment, and made me a gift of it! My fantasy is that we’ll get people to contribute to the shop, and they can come play and make it a better place. I’m four days in, so far, so good.
Just ‘cuz. Also a fork and a giant metal wrench thing. The wrench thing was a gift. When I got it it was covered with orange rust. I hit it with a rotating brass brush (drill mounted) and then put tung oil on it. The tung oil took almost two weeks to cure, but I love the look. The hammer is made from a chunk of maple and a piece of god knows what that was used to sticker some wood that I was shipped. It seems to be some kind of exotic, not very heavy. This is my uncle’s xmas gift. He can fill in the punch line for himself.