Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Workshop for Lilliputians

June marks the 4th anniversary of the completion of my new workshop. Prior to that, I worked in a basement shop with concrete floors, 6 foot ceilings, exposed lightbulbs, and exposed knob & tube wiring. Dungeon-like.

Yet it was still my favorite place in the house.

I dreamed for 10 years of having an above-ground shop and when I finally decided to have one built, I spent a full year researching heating systems, insulation, material, lighting....everything.

I even built a to-scale model of the shop, complete with all my equipment, just to make sure that everything would fit and that I would be able to tell my builder where to put the outlets. I determined where to put the 18" bandsaw in relation to the back window, so that long boards could stick outside and rest on the sill while I ran them through the blade. The model also helped my builder work up pricing.

The first design had a second story and a finishing room closed off by a sliding door. After my builder told me how much it would cost, reality set in, and both those luxuries were crossed off the list.

The model itself was built hurriedly—just plywood tacked together with brads—but it helped immeasurably when I was able to tell my builder where to put my 300 pound band saw and 400 pound table saw, as he and his helper carried them out of my basement shop and into the new one. They were able to plop them down exactly where I wanted them. I doubt they would have appreciated some lady telling them to "Move the table saw to this wall. Nah, that's not right—move it to that wall instead. A little to the left, no right."

The next sound I would have heard would have been my contractor and his helper slamming the door shut behind them, leaving a trail of expletives in their wake.

Planning for and designing my shop was an exciting journey, and I ended up with a cute little woodworker's dollhouse in the process.

14 comments:

Wyldth1ng said...

It does not look like you just slapped it together.

It does look awesome, though.

Markew said...

Brrrr! Just came in from breaking down, milling and dimensioning the blackwood for my next project. As it's into winter here in Oz and my workshop is a 10m x 6m tin shed, the thought of a heated, indoor shop is, well, warming!

(Your shop's a good deal lighter, tidier and better organised than mine too! - well done.)

Still wondering how you got your partner to agree that the must-have extension to your house is a woodshop! I made sure my partner's drawing studio was well set up in the indoor extension before I extended my shed. Mind you, my toys are a lot more expensive than her's.

Shazza said...

Geez woman - you really have an eye for the details don't you?

It's like a dollhouse for woodworkers!!!

You need to get a little VC in her little overalls in there!

The Village Carpenter said...

Markew, it was my partner who said, after hearing me go on for years about wanting a new shop, "Then build one."

Am I lucky, or what?!

Shazza said...

She's a keeper that Presbyfruit girl is!

Bill Stankus said...

Great job... wish I had known you when I did my last book, your model would have been a featured presentation.

Bill

The Village Carpenter said...

WOW — Thanks, Bill!

Michael said...

Nice model, I did the same thing trying to figure out the layout of my 12x12 shop. Then my daughter commandeered it as a dollhouse.

Michael

The Village Carpenter said...

Michael, maybe it will make a woodworker out of your daughter!

Markew said...

Lucky indeed. A real keeper! I'm sure you've made a few nice pieces for her since.

Stephen Shepherd said...

Nice small shop VC,

I too have a weakness for miniatures as well. I started making small furniture and ended up making a cabinet shop model in which those pieces could have been made.

You need to make some small hand tools to populate the shop, some wall art and shavings on the floor to flesh things out.

Stephen

The Village Carpenter said...

Maybe I should carve my two little terriers sitting in a big pile of shavings. : )

LadyBurg said...

Can I have the wood shop dollhouse? I've got some dolls that would love to live in it!

just kidding.

It is so cute - I love miniature stuff. Just love it.

The Village Carpenter said...

Actually, Ladyburg, I would't mind giving it to you at all. We don't have room for it in the house, since our house is about as large as this model of my shop.