My Take on the Restricted Space/Budget Shop. #1: The Space and the Tool List

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 01-04-2012 07:22 PM 13354 reads 2 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of My Take on the Restricted Space/Budget Shop. series Part 2: The Beating Heart of the Shop »

When we bought a winter home in Green Valley AZ. in 2007 it didn’t take me long to realize that I couldn’t spend half of the year without a shop. The problems were that there wasn’t any space for one except the semi-enclosed carport and it’s hard to justify the price of “two of everything” good quality tools.

This blog is about the solution I arrived at. For starters here’s the space I had to work with.

The bench is 26” x 8’ and the cabinet behind it is 30” x 8’. There is a 30” square area behind the cabinet that houses a mobile tool caddy. The DC takes up 30” x 4’. Total is fifty-three square feet. The little building behind the cabinet and the DC is the laundry room.

The other side has a small lumber storage area and a couple of saw horses. They take up about 20 square feet. You can still park two cars in the carport.

In the laundry room I have a 6’ x 6’ marquetry shop. The total occupied space with tools put away is 109 square feet.

The stationary tools I have are:

Table Saw, Drill Press, Lathe, Disc Sander, Belt Sander, Jointer, Planer, Horizontal Boring Machine, Bandsaw, Compressor, Thickness Sander, Marquetry Press and of course my Chevalet de Marqueterie. They are all good quality tools.

The drawers have a number of hand and power tools and in general I can make anything here that I can in my much bigger, much more expensive shop at home.

I may have as much as $2500 invested here but I don’t think so.

Gotta run, I have a tee time but next post I’ll start showing you the tools.

Thanks for looking in.


-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

9 comments so far

View rance's profile


4274 posts in 4127 days

#1 posted 01-04-2012 08:03 PM

That’s a great space Paul. Surely you don’t plan on filling it up with a car do you?

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4301 days

#2 posted 01-04-2012 10:08 PM

Two shops to keep neat and clean! Poor Paul, lol.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3833 days

#3 posted 01-04-2012 10:17 PM

Paul, your shop away from home is a grand little shop and I know that you must enjoy it very much.


-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4275 days

#4 posted 01-04-2012 11:18 PM

Looks like a first class setup. I know what you mean about not being able to spend half of the year without a shop. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Before I built my current shop I also worked out of a carport for nearly two years…I guess we just make do with what we have at the time. It is not the shop that creates..but it is the person.

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3889 days

#5 posted 01-05-2012 01:33 AM

One of the realities of a good woodworker is to have a good workshop however I agree with Greg’s… It is not the shop that creates..but it is the person. and to me… you are the person who have the shop that creates wonderful marquetry that in my honest opinion… you can create more than your shop capabilities like doing tools of your own style, shipbuilding, and much more. Keep it up and looking ahead to find out what tools you have in those drawers.

Hope someone will follow your woodworking way.
God bless,

-- Bert

View Schwieb's profile


1914 posts in 4428 days

#6 posted 01-05-2012 02:42 AM


Mega dittos on Bert’s comments. You demostrate something my Dad told me years ago: “It’s not so much the tools you have as what you do with the tools you have.” I admire your talent and creativity. You continue to be an inspiration to me personally. Thank you for the time you spend in posting your projects and sharing your accomplishments.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View twokidsnosleep's profile


1130 posts in 3940 days

#7 posted 01-05-2012 08:33 PM

I can’t believe you are down south missing all this wonderful wind and rain
God, retirement is a long ways away for me.
Enjoy yours to the fullest

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View canadianchips's profile


2632 posts in 3964 days

#8 posted 01-08-2012 11:18 PM

You are living MY dream, you live in a beautiful place in Canada and spend your winter in Arizona. People have asked why we do not go south ? I would like to get away from the cold, THE BIG question is what to do for 6 months ? You have answered that. Keep posting your work, we enjoy it very much ! Thanks

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View sedcokid's profile


2738 posts in 4565 days

#9 posted 01-16-2012 03:38 AM

What a great little shop!! I wish I had one like this in Florida!!

Thanks for sharing

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

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