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Workshop Information

United States
This is a workbench-in-progress. What you see is pretty much the entire "workshop."

It all started when I picked up Aldren Watson's "Hand Tools" to try to figure out what those old rusty things in my Mom's basement were and if they should be restored and used, displayed on a shelf, sold or thrown out. It turned out they were planes, files, chisels and saws and I determined they could be restored and used. However according to Chapter 1, I would need a bench and a vise to really use them. The closet workbench in Appendix F gave me hope that I'd be able to fit a bench in somewhere in this tiny house.

That lead to Scott Landis' "The Workbench Book." Chapter 14, the lutherie bench made me realize the kind of work I wanted to start with. Carving cigar-box instrument necks wouldn't take too much space. On a budget, and not sure if I would stick with this pursuit, I plopped a piece of chipboard down on a metal-topped kitchen table thing, picked up a light-duty Pony vice and bolted it to the board. It all slides around terribly, and I can't wait to put together. a better arrangement.

To the right off screen, there's a small five-drawer telephone table with chisels and gouges in the top drawer, files in the second, small planes and scrapers in the third, and the bottom two are out of commission until I can fix them.

Under the bench on the right is a three-drawer rolling cabinet I picked up off the curb. Top drawer is for the try square, mallet, ruler, marking gauge, and other non-sharp things I use all the time. Second drawer is sandpaper and my #6 and #7 planes that don't fit in the other drawer. Bottom drawer is a few Jorgensen and a bunch of cheap spring clamps.

Wood is stored off camera to the left in maybe a 1'x2' section of a corner next to a bookshelf. There's not a whole lot there as I'm mostly making tools and bench aids to practice for the time being. Cigar boxes are stacked on the bench itself and I really have to move them.

Saws are in two long cardboard boxes that I shipped them in on the floor to the left. Various Dunlap and Disston rip, crosscut, panel, keyhole saws and some cheaper new backsaws and coping saws.

The "sharpening station" doesn't have a fixed location, but consists of an old hand grinder with a lumpy gray wheel (I have a new white one, but it's not installed yet), a marble square with some sandpaper glued on, a few slip stones, Grandpas old oil stone, Dad's new-ish water stone and a $2 belt that's waiting to be turned into a strop. My sharpening technique like everything else needs work, but is making progress.

The "finishing table" also is just a bag on the floor with a jar of Bullseye sanding sealer. One thing I'm trying to figure out in such a small space is how too keep the sharpening from contaminating the finishing.

The "dust collection system" is a hand broom, dustpan and waste basket off camera to the bottom (don't worry, I'll post more photos soon). Occasionally I try to come through with the vacuum as well.

I'm not a complete Neanderthal. There's a cordless drill and toolbox under the bench to the left. I'm looking into laminate trimmers for common luthier tasks (anyone know about the new Porter Cable mini router - looks like maybe a 310 replacement, better than the 7310). When I move out of this house, hopefully I'll have room for a bandsaw and a drill press.

This is obviously not an example of how to put together a proper workshop, but I am glad I decided to slap that piece of chipboard on the table to see what happened.