I have wanted a workshop in our house for a long time, but I haven’t found the right space. Our house in Louisville has a garage, but it is not in the kind of condition I’d need for a permanent wood shop. There are several holes on the walls, it is not insulated, and there is no good lighting. Our plan is to eventually renovate the garage, and we have several ideas for what to do with the space, but realistically we don’t know when we will be able to make it all happen. In the meantime I need a space where I can work on projects. My initial plan for a workshop included several power tools, but power tools require space that I don’t currently have, and they also tend to be very expensive. So, given my limited space and budget, I decided to start a workshop without power tools. Everything is going to be done with hand tools, which means less dust, less noise, less space, and less chance of losing a finger in the blink of an eye.
The location of my meanwhile workshop will be a small area in our basement that was the dog’s room until a couple of weeks ago. Now it’s my workshop and the dog’s room (they don’t mind sharing)! I removed the old carpet, which looked terrible and was filthy and stinky. I moved the dog crates from one side of the room to the other, and a couple of shelves from one wall to another wall just to open up as much space as possible. Unlike every HGTV show, when I removed the carpet I did not find pristine hardwood floors…instead I found OSB subfloor, which works just fine for the shop. It is not a huge space but it is enough for my needs right now. A bit of organization and creativity will go a long way in this type of space. My first project is to build a traditional Moravian bench. I purchased a DVD from the Wood and Shop website and I am following their instructions. The great thing about this bench is that it is portable and it requires different types of joints that will serve as practice before I get into more delicate projects. The bench is heavy and solid but can be broken down into several parts to transport it if needed (ideally when we refinish the garage!). The whole building process will be done with hand tools (I will make another post about the tools I am using later) and to keep cost as low as possible I will be using 2 x 4s from the local home store as my main material.
With so many resources online (youtube, websites, forums, blogs, etc…) I have been able to gather plenty of woodworking instruction, and now I need to put into practice. A while ago I took a woodworking class here in Louisville where I built a small shaker style coffee table, and that class was the perfect place to learn some hands on basic woodworking skills. Now it is up to me to try things out and figure out ways to complete my projects successfully. More posts detailing my woodworking adventures coming up! If you have recommendations for websites, books, or personal stories please share in the comments below.