I have to confess that I’ve been guilty more than a few times of complaining about my small shop. But, I have also found that there are many great woodworkers who had small shops. The size of one’s shop may impact the size of your projects, but it doesn’t necessarily have to affect the quality of your projects.
Several years ago I was working in a man’s basement who was a woodworker. He had wood hanging from the ceiling everywhere. He had a tiny table saw, a tiny lathe, and several hand tools. Nothing amazing as far as equipment, but he was a master woodworker. In fact, he made violins! His daughter, who was a concert violinist, used one that he had made, and he’d made several for other people. Most of his work was small projects, but very intricate. And, he had fun doing it being a retired mechanical engineer from General Electric.
I often find myself looking back to that occasion, and reminding myself that a small shop doesn’t mean you can’t produce nice projects, although you may not be able to make a lot of big pieces conveniently. Even Don, our expert box maker admits that his shop is small, which limits the size of his work. But that’s OK, because a lot of us are hobbyists anyway, and so we’re doing this because we find enjoyment in it.
I just read this great article from Popular Woodworking where the author visits the shop of a master woodworker, who had a small one car garage that he shares with his car. I found it to be somewhat inspirational to me, because the author mentions how he is able to work efficiently with “such a small shop.” One of the things he mentions is that it is highly organized. In other words, everything has it’s place. That is something that I’m trying to work toward.
If you are a woodworker who is challenged with a small shop, I invite you to read this short article and be encouraged by how this fellow has found a way to be a master in woodworking in a one car garage.
-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28