So... how does one prepare for re-entry into the world of the hobby luthier? Pretty much whatever is necessary and/or works, I guess. Issues facing me (that I know about):
- When I bought my current house 5 years ago, it was with the express intent of having a workshop in which to do stuff like this, which is what led me to buying the house I now live in. It has a one-car detached garage, which has a nice large workshop (complete with workbenches and shelves built-in) attached to the back of it. AND a goodly-sized shed besides! Lots of space. What I've learned since moving in, however, is that the garage workshop is not only un-attached, it's also un-insulated, un-heated and un-ventilated. I knew all that when I bought the house, of course, but didn't realize how much of a problem it would be for actually using the workshop. Not that I've really tried.
- Besides that, the garage workshop area has been pretty much a dumping ground for detritus of all sorts these past 5 years. Partly out of inertia, partly out of not knowing what I should really ditch and what I'd want to keep (ending a marriage in mid-life is a real bitch, and there are still things I'm not sure I'm ready to go through and decide the fate of), and partly because a new life partner moved in with me a few years ago, and lots of his stuff is still where it was parked in the garage workshop when he moved in.
- For some reason, I've been really, really slow in figuring out that I would want a workshop inside the house as well. Now that I've made THAT decision, it makes all kinds of sense, and solves a number of problems.
Things I've done so far:
- Decided to split my work areas between the garage workshop (most power-tool work, and anything large or extra-dirty) and the basement (hand-tool work, carving, gluing, finishing)
- Decided where in the basement to locate my workbench and UV-drying box)
- Ordered some tools and supplies from Dov Schmidt (great quality and low prices!)
- Located some of what I still have (1 complete set of ebony fittings, an extra set of ebony pegs, a new bridge, 3 sound posts).
- Discovered that my favorite wood store is actually on my route home from work (both my company and, apparently, the wood store have relocated since I was last there), so I'll be making a trip there at lunchtime to reacquaint myself with their products, and perhaps obtain some quality wood for future making.
What I currently have:
- I have a garland for my #2 currently on the mould, and the back for it has been glued together. I have an Englemann Spruce top for this violin as well, but not planed or joined yet. I also have a 30+ year-old Bosnian maple neck block from Dov Schmidt (which I bought back in 2009 or '10) that will go on #2. So #2 is already well-supplied and under way.
- I also have what I think is a decent back that I also bought back in '09 or '10, and I have a whole bunch of ribstock of various kinds, I have to take inventory of that. I no longer remember what I have - it was given to me several years ago.
Beyond that, I think I'm pretty well equipped with tools, but the act of setting up my basement workshop will no doubt confirm or refute this. I did, after all, make #1 with the tools I had at the time, and I've added some additional tools in the meantime.
One thing I will need to do as a preparatory activity is spend time sharpening everything - gouges, planes, etc. I remember I bought a nice jack plane at an antique store a number of years ago too, that will need a fair bit of setup in addition to sharpening.
No shortage of stuff to do!