A change in woodworking habit and environment #1: Changes to the environment

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Blog entry by David Craig posted 10-19-2012 06:17 AM 1659 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of A change in woodworking habit and environment series Part 2: Brain clutter and a new mindset »

I have had a number of changes in my life over the course of the last year. I was a little spoiled over the last five years with a job that I could work from home and a schedule that allowed a somewhat normal pattern of sleep. I have been adjusting to the midnight shift and a couple hour drive each day. I don’t expect much sympathy here, I am grateful that I am still gainfully employed :)

But it has caused me to have to reassess how I spend time on my hobby. Kiids, relationships, work, house maintenances, etc. all have their place and importance, but a hobby helps inject a little energy back into your life and helps take your mind off some of the daily troubles and worries that we all go through. To be honest, I can be a real jerk if I don’t have a little “me” time now and again.

I looked at my schedule, and I pretty much have 3-4 days a month I can call my own. Even on those days, much of that time is to take care of things that slip by the other 26+ days. I needed a different routine, something that allows me a little escape but does not let me get too carried away where responsibilities suffer. In order to have this time, though, it was going to have to be productive. My shop situation at the time involved almost 30-40 minutes of scooting things around in order for me to perform a task, followed by 30-40 minutes of the same to do something else.

My shop is in my basement. When I purchased the house, the basement was already filled with a variety of goodies and left overs. When I first started the hobby, I could set up shop in about a quarter of it. That moved to 50 percent and, with tool purchases over the last year, it was going to have to move to around 75%. If I can only work for an hour in a day, 2/3s of that time can’t involve setup.

So… It was time to get rid of the dishes, old furniture, used cans of paint, mangled boards, and a very strange plywood camel used by someone in the past as a Christmas decoration. Family does mean well. They see a guy living alone in a large house and they want to “help.” Add to that, the reputation of being a “woodworker” and you will get some of the strangest assortments of “useful” items imaginable. I was able to give about half of that away and the other half went to the garbage. After about a month of heavy loads, I bought a significant amount of shop space. I have work flow again and most of my benchtop and stationary tools are setup without the need to shuffle.

I have no before pics, but took a few while in the process. It looks chaotic, but in reality I have enough space to even setup a finishing station on the other side. I couldn’t do that before.

So now I can move from TS to bandsaw to scrollsaw to lathe to planer to router to two workbenches without much fuss. I know where everything is at and I don’t have to trip over things in order to get to them.

Clutter in the environment was only half the problem. The other half is clutter in the brain. I will go over that in my next blog.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

5 comments so far

View patron's profile


13694 posts in 3946 days

#1 posted 10-19-2012 06:23 AM

first thing i noticed david

you can get to the tools

that makes working more productive
and enjoyable

good for you

now for the brain clutter …...

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3409 days

#2 posted 10-19-2012 12:22 PM

I can relate totally. I just said the other day to my wife, “I can’t believe 2 people can have so much crap”... Time for some clutter cleanup on my side also. I think the brain part is too far gone fer me tho… :)

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4278 days

#3 posted 10-19-2012 01:29 PM

Nice work, David. Clutter can make a woodworking shop unuseable.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3720 days

#4 posted 10-19-2012 04:53 PM

nothing beats a good cleaning when it comes to be able to find the mancave again :-)

good to see you back online again David

take care

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4272 posts in 3770 days

#5 posted 10-28-2012 03:21 PM

Looks good, David. Having a large amount of setup every time is a real pain.

I have a little setup in my vacation home shop, meaning, I have to pull out one car, and will then set up an auxillary table with two 1’x6’ torsion boxes that can be used separately or together. I have started the torsion boxes. I don’t have a table saw because of the space, and will try to make do with a plunge saw and band saw. I think this will be workable.

I managed to get decent lighting set up, and put in a 240 V circuit for a space heater that works quite well. So that little shop is getting somewhere.
At home, the shop has been idle for nearly 6 months, not including some minor items, while I deal with work stuff. I have reduced my presence here at LJ’s until I get the work situation under control. Hopefully soon.


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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