Workshop Development #1: Background and history lesson. Welcome to the Wayback Machine!

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Blog entry by dbhost posted 05-07-2010 08:16 PM 2215 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Workshop Development series Part 2: Why the garage anyway? »

This entry, the first in the series Workshop Development.” is where we get into the wayback machine, and go for a little history lesson. Specifically, how, and why I went from a guy with a garage and some tools, to being a guy with a workshop in progress. Not sure if I will ever be done, but at least it is in progress!

In the beginning there was a garage, Dave saw the garage and said it was good… Hmmm okay maybe a little to grandiose for my posting… Let me try again…

In early 2002, I was in a lousy domestic situation, with one upside, I had just closed on a suburban Houston home, with a garage. Now this garage was on the smallish size, and lacked anything nicer than a structure, a door, a single dual recepticle outlet, and a single bare light bulb, I am guessing for interrogation purposes, because it simply was insufficient for giving any real light to the garage, but it had to do. Due to the lousy domestics, the only “shop” I was able to squeak in was my existing tool box from my prior career as a mechanic, and a simpson strong tie workbench made from 2×4s (free, neighbor was throwing them out after a completed remodel project), a sheet of cheap sheathing grade 3/4” plywood complete with dips, knots, and other fun stuff, Strong ties, and screws. That same bench still serves in my shop today.

Fast forward a mere year and a half, and the domestic issue had completely changed, I got the house (big deal) and the Dog (I know this sounds funny, but he was all I wanted out of the whole deal, and to get away from her…) Now I have a 2 car garage, all to myself.

Now in the time span between getting the house, and getting free of Mrs. mistake, I had acquired a few woodworking related tools, some because they were left in the garage when I bought the house, some because I needed them for home repair, and some because of a rented RV that suffered a broken dinette table, and it was cheaper to build a replacement than it was to get one from the MFG, and nobody could tell the difference. Those tools were a Skill jig saw, a Craftsman 3/8” VSR drill, a Ryobi fixed base router, Craftsman 6 piece bit set, and Wolfcraft cheapie table. Along with the mechanics tools that carried over from career #1, tools given to me by friends as they upgraded, and tools that I acquired when the hardware store I worked in during college went out of business and the boss gave me a box of misc tools that we used in the shop including a Skil circular saw, bench vise, Ace hardware 6” grinder, hacksaw, a mess of window screen spline rollers, box cutters, tape measures, hacksaw blades, and a myriad of drill bits. This was far from a workshop though, this was still a garage with some tools in it.

And so it sat, mostly because I was spending time (and money) pursuing other hobbies, particularly blondes, brunettes, and most importantly red heads… All the while this goofy looking guy with a beard and a plaid shirt would come on every week, enticing me back to the hobby I enjoyed so much as a teen, but have been unable to pursue as an adult… I watched, dreamed, and went out of my skull meeting new people and just having fun…

Needless to say, she happened, a firey red haired angel that got my attention… Time, attention, and finances went to dating, and then moving forward it was obvious we needed to be married, so we busted our hides and did a proper wedding, and honeymoon. You know it’s amazing how much Cup O Noodles a guy can put up with for lunches when trying to shovel cash aside for a trip to Cancun… But that is a different story all together…

After the wedding, and the finances returning to normal, my lovely bride noted that I am always tinkering with things, and building this, that or the other thing, and I should put together a shop (Thank God for a wife that grew up with brothers, and a Dad that are tinkerers and craftsmen), so I started, slowly, putting a shop together. At first thinking I was just going to put together something I could stash aside and pull the car into the garage…

Now that car is an F150 super cab 4×4 lifted on 35×12.50 mud tires. Even if it was a 2wd on stock rubber, just fitting the mirrors between the door jambs is a challenge. Why I insisted on wanting to keep the shop small at first I do not know… I had even toyed with the idea of a shop in a dedicated outbuilding, but my HOA restrictions being what they are, meant no shop building big enough for me was going to happen, and even without the HOA, I would never get a building big enough on my little suburban lot.

So what to do about building up a shop? I already had a good amount of stuff stored in the garage, camping, hunting, lawn & garden type stuff. And I did NOT want to be tripping over tents, coolers, and lawn mowers to get to my table saw, and routers…

Well, that will just have to wait for installment #2. There is a reason I made this a series you know! There would be no way anyone would read the history and thought process of my shop all the way through beginning to end. But string y’all along and you might just stay interested…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

8 comments so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3531 days

#1 posted 05-07-2010 10:19 PM

thank god you got an understanding wife you lucky man
I will look forward to read the rest of the story
it sounds interressting


View PawPawTex's profile


78 posts in 3409 days

#2 posted 05-07-2010 10:28 PM

I too look forward to the rest of your tale. Some pics of the process would be great too. I also have had a wonderfully understanding wife these past 33 years. It’s a fair trade she says as she gets most anything she wants built for her. Good luck with your shop and please don’t keep us waiting too long between installments! LOL

View dbhost's profile


5772 posts in 3648 days

#3 posted 05-07-2010 10:59 PM

Unfortunately no pics of the nearly bare garage, but pics are forthcoming for the next installment, where I started the shop buildup…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Will Stokes's profile

Will Stokes

267 posts in 3770 days

#4 posted 05-07-2010 11:34 PM

Where’s the subscribe link? :-) J/k, looking forward to the next installment.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4267 posts in 3580 days

#5 posted 05-08-2010 12:28 AM

Hmmmmmmmmm…......even more like me…..but you have upped the ante. How am I going to keep up?

Fine fix, and from a buddy at that.

So yup, I am hooked. Looking forward to the next entry….......let’s see…... great topic…....we all have shops…........ set the anticipation…......perhaps there should be even more tension….....then perhaps you could get sponsors….....(-:

We are in a B&B between Holland and Kalamazoo Michigan. Looking at the weather we think we will head south, maybe take a ferry across Lake Michigan to Wisconsin, if that is possible, probably not. Weather wise…......warmer in Anchorage, Alaska (home, for the benefit of those that don’t know me) than here. Oh well, we really like free form traveling, and that’s what we are doing.


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4177 days

#6 posted 05-08-2010 01:34 AM

Congratualations on your new life turnaround.

For guys with cramped garages and a need for space to be multi-purpose I recommend that you look for a used Shopsmith 510 or 520 on Craigs List or eBay. About 40% of Shopsmith owners work in 100 to 200 sq. ft. spaces – can even roll it out in the driveway on nice days.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View dbhost's profile


5772 posts in 3648 days

#7 posted 05-10-2010 04:00 PM

8iowa, I had considered a Shop Smith, but capacity of the tools themselves are problematic. I know a few guys with these working out of 10×12 sheds and they have plenty of room to move!

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View NedB's profile


659 posts in 3981 days

#8 posted 05-10-2010 04:10 PM

\_/ munching on popcorn waiting…

-- Ned - 2B1ASK1

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