Plusses and Minuses of Working from your Apartment Patio

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Blog entry by MilFlyer posted 05-30-2014 05:10 AM 1974 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Okay, so I found Gaya lumber which was great, but I still like the idea of free so I cut a deal with the BX (our version of K Mart on the base) and they let me raid them for a couple of pallets every now and then. I haul them back to the apartment building in the wife’s Kia Soul (Yes, I can actually fit a couple of them in the back) then grab me a Mtn Dew…a couple of my children…and we sit outside the building and tear down pallets. We then throw the broken down lumber into a grocery shopping cart (there are always several parked in the lobby of our building) and haul it all up to the apartment for me to work with out on the Patio. If any of you have looked at my “shop” pics you’ll see that my patio isn’t small, but it certainly was never intended to be used as a woodworking shop. The only thing that stays permanently out there is my little Black and Decker work bench and the wooden platform that I put together to raise it up 4 to 5 inches (I’m 6’3”/1.84m). Everything else has to be hauled back and forth from the laundry room and out to the patio when I want to work…and then hauled back inside when I’m done. I made the mistake of complaining about this to my Jedi Master, WMD2006, here on Lumberjocks and he basically said “Wah, you’re still actually able to get outside and make some sawdust so suck it up.” And I’ll have to say, in the end, I agree. :)
I’ve been asked what tools does an apartment woodworker keep and I’ll have to tell yall that I keep pretty much what any other garage woodworker has. I tried to think in terms of space saving, and I bought a tool that took very little space but proved to be a waste of money in the long run. So now I just buy what everyone else does and I haul it back and forth. I will say that tools that come with cases or carrying bags are preferred because it makes it easy to haul them, and the mess they make is alot less as I track through the wife’s clean livingroom!
So now I’ve got tools. So time to get started on the end tables. This would have been about 5 months back and I still only had hand power tools to work with but I felt that I could cut a straight line with what I had. Yeah, not so much. My first attempt at the End Tables crashed and burned dying a horrible death. I had nothing with which to really clean up the boards…nothing to clean up the edges….not a catastrophe but I realized I needed to regroup and replan. So I took to Youtube. I’ve taken to watching alot of Woodworking for Mere Mortals and Jays Custom Cabinets videos. Those guys break down woodworking to a level that a talking monkey like me can understand. And you can tell that they genuinely enjoy what they are doing and that just makes it all the more fun to learn from them. And from them I realized that I had not been taking enough care to prep the boards well enough for assembly and joining. My RO Sander became my best friend while I waited for my Porter Cable power planer to arrive! I made sawdust of epic proportions! I also ended up making a fair bit of noise….which I was going to hear about shortly….

-- VR, Richard "Fear is nothing more than a feeling. You feel hot. You feel hungry. You feel angry. You feel afraid. Fear can never kill you"--Remo Williams

7 comments so far

View stefang's profile


16133 posts in 3536 days

#1 posted 05-30-2014 08:00 AM

When you eventually get a permanent shop you will appreciate it all the more. Too bad they don’t have a woodshop on the base.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View richimage's profile


43 posts in 1932 days

#2 posted 05-30-2014 02:02 PM

Perhaps – I managed to cut off the tip of my right first finger at a Wood Hobby Shop in Hahn AB Germany in the mid-seventies…. no safety gear of any kind, a cut-off piece shot back into my inner elbow, and jerked my right arm forward. I’m just now getting back into woodworking, and as my retirement nears (sort of – keeps getting postponed) I’m looking forward to it! Keep working on the basics, and your skills can’t help but grow.

-- "Women are like modern paintings. You can't enjoy them if you try to understand them." Farrokh Bulsara (Freddie Mercury)

View Earlextech's profile


1162 posts in 2892 days

#3 posted 05-30-2014 02:32 PM

30 yrs ago I started my shop on our back patio, about 150 sq ft. Things were simpler then, no overhead, no employees. I miss those days.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3068 days

#4 posted 05-30-2014 03:19 PM

When you start small and grow you will always appreciate what you have so much the more.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Mean_Dean's profile


6902 posts in 3349 days

#5 posted 05-31-2014 12:58 AM

Just don’t use the wife’s good measuring cups to mix up your finishes….....!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View NormG's profile


6283 posts in 3206 days

#6 posted 05-31-2014 05:59 AM

Saw dust raining down from above

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View MilFlyer's profile


941 posts in 1874 days

#7 posted 05-31-2014 02:12 PM

LoL. You are all so right. I do look forward to having the extra space. And I really do wish they had a woodshop on the base here. The closest bases with a woodshop are Yongsan which is about an hour north and Kunsan which is 3 hours south. The guy at Gaya Lumber has been kind enough to let me use the industrial tools he has in the back of his lumber yard but they are all sitting exposed to the elements and have a fair bit of rust on the feed tables that leaves some pretty hefty streaks on my project wood. I’ve started trying to scour the rust off the tables and am having some success there but I don’t want to offend my host by cleaning his tools for him.

And Norman you couldn’t be more right. I’ve tried to keep my shopvac hooked up to the tools but that hose dragging behind is such a….umm….drag….lol

-- VR, Richard "Fear is nothing more than a feeling. You feel hot. You feel hungry. You feel angry. You feel afraid. Fear can never kill you"--Remo Williams

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