Often you'll start a project and not be able to get back into the shop for several days. By then, you may not remember where you were in the job.

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Add a hand-held cassette tape recorder—the kind used for business memos--to your shop equipment. Then, talk to it about your project. Talk about steps you have completed or have left to do, machine setups, dimensions, and, things you need to check. Start the taping for each workshop session by announcing the date. (Remember to reset the tape counter to zero, too). Now if you're away from the shop for a few days, just rewind the tape to the beginning of the notes made the previous time and listen as your recorded comments bring you right up to date. Store the recorder in a resealable plastic bag to protect it from sawdust.
—Dan Wilks, Gowrie, Iowa