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Setting Up Shop #1: My Introduction

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Blog entry by wmgworks posted 09-15-2015 04:14 AM 793 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Setting Up Shop series Part 2: The Plan »

About six weeks ago, something happened that made a light flip on in my head. It wasn’t anything earth shattering or noteworthy to most. But, for me, it reignited a long lost love in me that I really hadn’t paid much attention to for 20+ years. Simply put, I sanded a few pieces of plywood.

I come from a long history of craftsmen. My father was a carpenter, my grandfather was a carpenter, all of my uncles were in skilled trades like siding, cabinetry, electricians, etc. I chose a different path. Still one that involves building, but just not quite so physical. I’m a system’s engineer by trade. What that means is I get to think of the various components of an IT system – the cables, the connections, the servers, the software they run, the clients that talk to them and all of the aspects in between – and use them like an erector set in creative ways to solve business problems.

Still a builder – just not with physical materials.

I did lots of woodworking as a hobby when I was a teenager. I was in 4-H for many years and built some pretty cool projects. Also took woodshop all 4 years in high school and made some cool stuff there as well. Being a carpenter, my Dad had a table saw, a circ saw, miter saw, drills and various other small tools. I just grabbed what i needed from his stash and made my stuff. We didn’t really have a workshop – just some saw horses outside the garage for the most part.

Then, once I went off to college, I got “educated”, then I met my wife and got “domesticated” and my skills went with it. I would try every once in a while to do some stuff around the house, but always felt it was better left to professionals.

Then, she had me make some stuff for her classroom (she’s a teacher). I got a little mouse sander in my hand, and it was alll over from there. I was bit by the woodworking bug again.

We live in a townhouse community and have a 22×19 detached garage. It’s been full of clutter. Couldn’t even park the car in it. But, now that I needed a place to do woodworking again, you better believe I got that garage organized and the car in it over a weekend.

Another thing happened to convince me I was on the right path. My 14 year old son – who I had never seen turn a screwdriver or swing a hammer (and felt terribly guilty about) – saw what I was up to and told me he wanted to do woodworking, too. That was it. Our destiny was locked in. We are making a woodshop.

Before I can get into the meat of building a workshop I still have to clear out some more space. We still need to park the car in the garage, and store some stuff in it. The garage has a 15’ high ceiling that (as far as I can estimate) has a 5/12 pitch over the 19’. So, I’m going to build a loft to put a lot of stuff up into and give us more room for the shop.

As for tools, I really have very little. I have a drill, some basic bits, some wrenches, a jig saw, and a few other tools (a circ saw) that were given to me by a neighbor once she heard what we were up to. I’m starting with a completely blank slate. Which is good and bad. Good because I get to design it from the start. Bad because i have to spend the money to get everything. My parents live 2500 miles away, so getting my Dad’s old tools is not going to happen. Plus, when I used his stuff, I never really paid attention to he different types of saw blades, or when to use what as much as I should have. I’m figuring most of this out as I go.

One last note regarding my nickname. I’m very big on honoring the people who have come before me. My grandfather, my father, myself and my son all have the same middle name (starts with “W”). My wife’s grandmother, my wife and our daughter all have the same middle initial “M”. And our last name starts with G. My wife and daughter are really crafty, too, and I’ll give them maaaaaaaybe a little corner to make a mess in if they’re really nice ;P That;s how I came up with the name of our shop – WMGworks

I’m really looking forward to gleaning knowledge from the hive mind that is LumberJocks in order to really relearn the fundamentals the right way and get things going.

-- Butchering wood since 2015



8 comments so far

View fatman51's profile

fatman51

335 posts in 1304 days


#1 posted 09-15-2015 04:35 AM

Welcome back to the woodworking fold VMGworks. I look forward to seeing what you come up with for a shop when you post it. It seems like there are lots of knowledgeable people here on Lumberjocks that you can consult with as you acquire your tools and start to build projects.

-- The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. Benjamin Franklin

View handsawgeek's profile

handsawgeek

591 posts in 863 days


#2 posted 09-15-2015 01:22 PM

Hi’ya, WMG,
A hearty welcome to LumberJocks !! You have certainly come to the right place to gain insight, knowledge, and encouragement on all things woodworking. Don’t hesitate to ask lots of questions.
Look forward to following your progress.

-- Ed

View wmgworks's profile

wmgworks

193 posts in 452 days


#3 posted 09-15-2015 03:44 PM

Thanks guys! Looking forward to absorbing everything I can. Our first woodworking projects will be setting up the shop itself. We have no storage, no workbenches, no jigs… nothing. But, to be honest, I’m just as excited about this part as anything else we will create

-- Butchering wood since 2015

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

1471 posts in 2105 days


#4 posted 09-15-2015 03:51 PM

It’s a real blessing when you have a child who wants to do something with you. Make the most of it while it lasts!

My 3-year-old wants to do anything with Dad. My 14-year-old not so much.

I really like the idea of the loft. Are there any windows?

But when you make the loft, take into account that it’s handy to have more than 8 foot of headroom in your workspace. So maybe the loft gets a low ceiling so that downstairs can still have 9 ft. I can’t count the number of times I’ve picked up an 8’ board and realized that I missed hitting the fluorescent lights by a few inches. A 9’ ceiling was one of the best things I did in my shop.

Also, make sure you have plenty of lighting. It doesn’t have to be fancy. In addition to the fixed lights, I have a couple of cheap clamp-on lights with 40w (actual) compact fluorescent bulbs. They just plug into an outlet on the ceiling and clamp onto the exposed joists. You can move them around and position them over your machines or work spaces.

-Paul

View wmgworks's profile

wmgworks

193 posts in 452 days


#5 posted 09-15-2015 03:59 PM



It s a real blessing when you have a child who wants to do something with you. Make the most of it while it lasts!

My 3-year-old wants to do anything with Dad. My 14-year-old not so much.

I really like the idea of the loft. Are there any windows?

-Paul

- Ocelot

You’re so right. Trying to get both my kids (I have a 7 year old daughter as well) involved with as much as I can.

No windows in the garage. I will be posting some pics today a little later on the layout as it is now

-- Butchering wood since 2015

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

23209 posts in 2334 days


#6 posted 09-15-2015 03:59 PM

Well, it all sounds great and I hope you can get your woodworking hobby back on track after being sidetracked for a few years. Welcome to Lumberjocks.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View wmgworks's profile

wmgworks

193 posts in 452 days


#7 posted 09-15-2015 04:39 PM

Thanks Charles! Glad to be here

-- Butchering wood since 2015

View handsawgeek's profile

handsawgeek

591 posts in 863 days


#8 posted 09-15-2015 05:24 PM

Setting up shop is definitely a lot of the fun of doing woodworking. I’ve been at it for 20+ years, and I’m STILL setting up shop!

-- Ed

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