The house project has been progressing in spite of the typical delays and hiccups. It has been inspiring to meet and watch the many skilled tradespersons working on the project. From the framers, to the electrician, to the HVAC pros, they all have demonstrated great expertise and tremendous pride in their work. I’ll be dragging guests to the basement to check out Robert’s meticulous wiring runs.
As you might expect, the workshop situation at the new place crossed my mind while we were planning. Kristin and I considered all sorts of scenarios, including the possibility of me building a small workshop apart from the house. Ultimately, we decided that the attached two-car garage would be the workshop. That decision was based partly on practical simplicity but, also, on what has worked for us already.
Our one-car attached garage has been my workshop for the last 27 years. It has worked well for me and it’s what I’m used to. Much of my workshop time necessarily occurs in small bursts of time, so it’s nice to step right out of the kitchen and into the shop. Three large-enough windows have allowed in a fair amount of natural light. It has also served as a transition area/mudroom from outside into the house.
The new shop will be larger (absent of two theoretical cars instead of one), but still attached, with a place for everyone to kick off their shoes and hang their coats. A few good windows will let in natural light, and, for most of the year, the large garage door will open up the shop to the outside.
I’ll build in some bookshelves, tool storage, and all that. I’ll sort out the details later. Meanwhile, I’ll be able to work just fine with a bench and my bowl horse. The bowl horse and low bench can be moved around easily, but I’ve been thinking a lot about the workbench location.
I built my workbench 27 years ago. It began with a simple framework of construction lumber and a 2×4 ledger board lag-bolted to the wall studs. I ripped two sheets of 3/4″ plywood in half lengthwise, then screwed and glued them, one-by-one, to the frame beneath and then to the layer below as the layer cake rose up. It sort of grew organically from there as my methods and work evolved. More holdfast holes, extended vise jaws, and a face frame to expand the edge-holding possibilities.
I know there are many other workbench options, but I’m taking this one with me. It works for me and I can’t bear to leave it behind. I know a lot of folks prefer to have a free-standing bench that allows access all around, but, after considering adapting this one with back legs, I plan to attach mine to the new wall, much as it has been attached to the old wall. The only difference is that the left end will be accessible instead of trapped in a corner.
One of my reasons for attaching it to the wall is stability. The bench simply doesn’t move, even with heavy or sudden pressure. Also, I’ve gotten used to having many of my tools in easy reach on the wall behind and beside the bench. I think I’ll arrange things similarly, although I will have two windows just above the bench.
That upper shelf in the current workshop runs around the room and is incorporated with the boards lining the wall itself, so it, and much of the shop, will stay. But many things will be coming with me: shelving units (including the one holding the planes), wooden boxes, chests, cabinets, hooks, stools, horses, racks, and more.
Book shelves will be important. I’m thinking about putting doors on the shelves to keep the dust out. Ideas are welcome!
Shelves like the one above my sharpening area will be relatively easy to transfer.
I like the way narrow shelves, like this one from a branch crook, catch the light coming in windows. Things like these will re-attach in the new shop.
The view will be new. Here’s a look at a little grove of aspens from the north wall window of the new shop.
Meanwhile, things are busy for now, but I’ll still have some time over the next couple months to work in this shop. Maybe I’ll even finish this bowl over the weekend.