Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Winter Workspace, Part 1

Like so many other woodworkers, my shop is a garage.  Or, more precisely, half of an unheated, uninsulated garage with no lights and almost no electricity;  The space I have available, assuming I use the pool table as an assembly bench, is about 10'x18'.  While that has its own share of problems in the summer, in the winter it's just not usable.

Unfortunately, and also like many other woodworkers, there's no good space in the house to use.  So I have two options:  make a good space, or pay to insulate, heat, and provide light in the garage.  Inside the house it is, then, at least for another 8 months or so.

Over the last week or so, I've managed to mostly clear out a corner of my basement.  It's a space about six feet square, bounded at one corner by the door to the outside, and the opposite corner by the clothes dryer.  The floor is cracked old concrete, the walls are fieldstone, and the ceiling is about 6'4" high.  I'll post before and after photos in a later post.

Believe it or not, this is actually a step up from my first indoor space, which was only six feet by four feet.  Here's the plan:

1) Standing on concrete sucks, and dropping edged tools on it sucks more.  I'm going to buy some of those chip-board subfloor panels with the raised plastic nubs on the bottom, and lay them in the corner.  That will make it a lot more pleasant, and also a lot more level.  Some of the panels may need to be shimmed, but most will be fine.

2) The bench I'll be using (from my Inexpensive Bench post) is four feet by two, so it will sit along one edge, probably against the wall, with about 18" of space to the right.  That should let me easily plane boards up to about 5' long.

3) My tool chest will sit on a pile of milk crates in the corner near the clothes dryer.  I don't have a good place for the milk crates anywhere else, and it will put the chest at just about exactly the right height.  That will be next to the dryer, so it will only be a few steps away from the bench.

4) That will leave an open space in the middle for me and the sawbench.

My hope here is, first, to be able to do some woodworking this winter.  I want a new monitor stand, a wine rack, and some bedside tables.  But also, I want to prove that you actually can do reasonable woodworking in a very small space:  in an age where I've hear people gripe about "only" having a one car garage (usually about 12'x20', or 240 square feet), proving it can be done in a 6'x6' space would be satisfying.

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