If you could walk out to your shop or work space right now and build any project you wanted--if time needed, whether or not you have the necessary tools or skills, the cost of materials, etc. didn't matter--what would it be? Or maybe I should say, what would they be?
For me there are many more projects that I want to build than I can ever get to. But if I could head out of work right now and start a new project today, I'd build a Sam Maloof-style rocking chair. I was lucky enough to spend two incredible days documenting the work of Sam--a humble and incredibly talented man--and his "boys" a decade ago. Here's a photo from that trip.
You are indeed a lucky man being able to spend time with such a man. He is definitely one of the greats with a dedication to working wood in such a way that some of his works have become an art.
Your question is a tough one to answer as I too have many projects of which I would like to do. However if I could just build anything I wanted, it would be a larger shop with an attached class room so that I could consider opening a woodworking class room in which to teach free classes to anyone who wanted to learn. I have found that there are many out there who are willing to learn if someone would just teach them. The local high schools, state and junior college where I live no longer offer woodworking programs, yet some still have a full equipped shop sitting there gathering dust. My area is one of which the county prevents me from adding on such a facility.
Other than that I will have to stick to building custom cabinets and furniture of which customers continue to request. This can be anything from a full house of cabinets to a piece of furniture.
I hope others will reply to the question as it would be interesting to see what interesting thing others would build in other areas of world.
Yep, some guys are lucky.
Sam makes some exceptional rocking chairs.
The craftsmanship is truly a work of art.
Re: wanting a shop to teach classes.
That's gone thru my mind often; however, due to liability issues, I put that idea to rest.
Personal Injury lawsuits are out of control.
A log style 2 story home,
a log cabin guest house, and
a 5 car garage shop, full of Kreg Tools.
Getting to spend two days with Sam and his crew was one of the great highlights of my many years of involvement with the woodworking and DIY world. He was well into his 80s at the time, and was still working in the shop every day. His band saw skills were amazing, and I learned many great techniques from him. He was a willing teacher, in addition to a great craftsman. He stayed at it right up until he passed on, which is great inspiration for all of us.
I wish I had a place, Jay, to build a large, separate shop. I'm lucky that I was able to build a nice big garage onto my home that doubles as shop space. I put in lots of outlets, lots of lighting, and worked it out so I can have tools set up and cars inside at the same time. But it's never big enough! I've taught a lot of kids and adults over the years, helped a lot of neighbors, etc., and I congratulate everyone else who helps spread the crafts we love. I'm also lucky that we still have some strong high school woodworking programs where I live.
So what else would I build if I could go do it right now? The list would take a long time to write! I'm sure, too, that my wife's list might vary somewhat, as I have a number of projects to wrap up after I built an addition onto our home. I'm looking forward to working on those through the winter.
Well now, fun topic! My home would be dressed out in all oak trim with perfect miters and crown molding. I would have a solid wood bedroom set, perhaps in a exotic wood and I would no longer have a wish list for new shop tools but a complete ready to go shop. I stopped in a antique store yesterday and spotted a old woodworkers bench. It was incredible with a price tag to match. It brought a smile knowing that at some time a gentleman (I presume) enjoyed many a hours of building on that old bench. I bet it could hold some stories!
Let me see......I would build an European Workbench with two vises; one at the end and one at the side of the bench. All the woodworking tools from Old School style woodworking. Make furniture for the house and have fun projects to build like snowflakes and ordaments for the Christmas tree. Make projects to sell for some extra money. There is so much more stuff I couldn't thing of right now off hand but, I would enjoy having a fun shop to make anything I wanted right now.
A30x30 ft shop would be on my wish list with built in dust extraction . Also a sturdy bolt on the door to keep the wife out ha .
I would like to build a hall butler from cherry with maple trim. I even have the plans for one but between time and costs . . .
I would build a decked out custom master closet and a small shop to get out of my garage.
I would rebuild our medea center. w/storage drawers.
I rarely think too far in advance on what project will be next. I just do it for a hobby and don't have any customers to consider. When one is finished, or getting close, I'll start thinking about the next one. So far, I've never kept any woodworking project for myself; I give them to my adult kids or relatives as gifts. So, If I can develop the skills required to do it well, I would like to build a really nice gun cabinet for myself. My newest tool is a new band saw, and I'm anxious to use it and make something with curves for the first time!