The small shop

Call it what you like shop, lab, work space or  shed. It is where you will do all your work. It is the place you might go to gather your thoughts or reflect on a problem. It is an extension of your home and who you are.

As you watch videos online or stream shows you might notice some people have huge shops outfitted with massive amounts of tools. They might all be the same brand and they might be the newest thing out there. Don’t be discouraged, you don’t need all of that to start. You can look at someone like Norm Abram from his show “The New Yankee Workshop” and see the number of tools he has would be a heavy financial burden if you set out to buy a quarter of them to make just one project.

On the other side Roy Underwood from “The Woodrights Shop” has nothing but hand tools that were either made or found used. Both of these guys make wonderful furniture with two very different sets of tools and two very different mindsets.

Having a large shop makes things easier for sure and have a ton of money to buy tools does make things go quickly. However in the end you have a shop full of things you are not really proficient with and in the end you will run into the same problems you would have without all the money.

Keep things simple.

Step one, figure out where you can set up shop. For most things you don’t need much more than a dedicated desk or table where you can work. Designate a spot in your house as “The Shop” will make it feel that more special. Jack Olsen has a a really detailed thread on the Garage Journal website about his 12 Gauge Garage.

Essentially he had limited space and a Porsche that needed work. Though some careful storage selection, being patient and giving everything its own place to live Jack has a garage that I would love to aspire to. Check out his website.

Step two, buy only the tools you absolutely need. Having a proper planner or a CNC mill will let you make things faster but, a good used plane you tune your self or a sturdy manual mill will help you become proficient at using these tools so when you do have the money and space you will get so much more out of them. A perfect example of how you can do great work with very little is Chris from the Youtube channel “Clickspring”. His shop is smaller than most peoples bathrooms but, the work he puts out is incredible.

clickspring website

Making is about the experience and acquiring of knowledge that will spur you into making things better. The tools don’t make the maker its the maker that does that.

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