Ode To Small Shops #1: From Garage to Patio to Deck, My Small Shop Finally Has A Home

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Blog entry by slooper posted 11-16-2008 10:10 AM 1400 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Ode To Small Shops series Part 2: A Shop With An Identity Crisis »

My first shop was what I could squeeze into a one car garage, leaving enough room for the car of course, and a workbench in my crowded basement.

My second “shop”, if one could call it that, was a combination of a 3’x6’ closet off the patio of my 1st floor apartment, the 6’x10’ patio with picnic table, and the back of a utility trailer. If I caught you scratching your head, let me explain. My big tools; table saw, jointer and planer; were in a storage shed across town. I had my table saw preloaded in the trailer, strapped down and all (I’d have to switch it out if I needed something else) which I’d hook up and pull into the parking lot. I would then run a 50’ extension cord to the trailer and make my cuts right there. Boy did I get some confused looks, and a reputation in the complex. I’m not sure what exactly that reputation was, but people knew who I was before I met them.

My third “shop” was a deck attached to our mobile home, that same picnic table in the back yard, that same utility trailer, the tailgate of our pickup and a second bedroom closet for tool storage (on the opposite end of the trailer as the deck.) The storage unit was closer but without the room to preload my table saw. Had it not been on wheels, I don’t know what I’d have done.

My fourth “shop” can legitimately be called a shop. I’ve gone from a house to an apartment to a mobile home and now, get this, an RV. No, my shop is not in the RV, but behind it. I purchased a 12’x24’ portable building and finished the inside, custom designed for a small woodworking shop. It has a full 200 Amp circuit, insulation, climate control and an office, with it’s separate entrance, in the corner. (The building also is wired up for an RV hook-up.)

My Workshop

This thread is about the design, functionality and overall purposes of this shop. I have acquired a lot of my ideas/designs from my fellow woodworkers out on the web. So in the spirit of sharing, I hope to give a little back through this blog.

4 comments so far

View Tim Pursell's profile

Tim Pursell

501 posts in 4857 days

#1 posted 11-16-2008 02:40 PM

Looking good! I’m looking forward to seeing more on your shop “evolution”


View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 5037 days

#2 posted 11-16-2008 04:49 PM

Wow, what commitment! Woodworking under extreme duress. Or maybe, woodworking with Steven King. Good luck, my friend, you’ve come a long way.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View dustygirl's profile


862 posts in 4803 days

#3 posted 11-16-2008 09:03 PM

You’ve made a lot of changes along the way Slooper,you now have a nice size to work in.Looking forward to seeing the inside of your shop when you get it set up.

-- Dustygirl..Hastings,Ontario.. How much wood can 1 gal chuck if 1 gal can't cut wood?

View rod's profile


9 posts in 5131 days

#4 posted 12-06-2008 10:49 PM

You are a good example to those who want a shop but say they haven’t the room or the money. If you want it badly enough, you’ll find a way. My first real shop was 8’ x 20’, uninsulated, and dark. Before that I moved tools in and out of a bedroom onto a deck (no woodworking when it rained).

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