Looking for a shop to use in Pittsburgh PA

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Forum topic by jupdyke posted 11-18-2011 02:59 AM 7269 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 4142 days

11-18-2011 02:59 AM

Topic tags/keywords: shop community pittsburgh morris chair

Hello everyone,

I just moved to Pittsburgh PA and am awaiting my fiancee and her son to move here. We have to wait for her visa application to be processed and as we know the government is not fast. So I have a lot of free time right now. I grew up working in my fathers shop and he has posted some of his projects one here.

I have learned the basics and am ready to start building some real furniture. I got the idea to sell or throw out all the college furniture that I owned build it all when I got here and settled. Well now I am here, and have a mattress and box springs sitting on the floor. The rest of the house is empty. Maybe this was a bad idea. :)

I finally have a job to afford the raw materials to build some fine furniture and I lack the shop. I checked around and found two shops that would rent me time. The first shop is too busy until February for me to demonstrate I am familiar with all the tools. The other shop was more for a professional woodworker who wanted to rent a room and access to the shop. It sounded amazing until I saw the monthly price.

So I am looking for a shop that I could build a set of Morris chairs. Then I would have somewhere to sit. I am willing to pay an hourly rate or flat fee. I think two good Saturdays and I could get the bulk done. My uncle owns a lumber mill about two hours away and I suspect I can get a good deal on rough cut lumber. I was thinking of driving a trailer there and bringing back a good quantity. I would be willing to share.

Anyone know of a community shop around Pittsburgh?


5 replies so far

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 3901 days

#1 posted 11-18-2011 05:07 AM

What kind of rent are you looking to pay. I feel like with a small amount of money you could purchase a few tools to get you on your way especially with Black Friday coming up next week. Start with a Random Orbital Sander, a table saw, and router/table/bit set up. After a bit you can add things like a miter saw, drill press, planer and joiner. IMO i’d rather own a couple of low end tools, than to rent access to a high tech shop.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View derosa's profile


1597 posts in 4173 days

#2 posted 11-19-2011 07:21 AM

Agree with the above, especially for some morris chairs. One of the woodworking mags did a build on them a couple months ago and it seemed like it shouldn’t be too difficult to build a pair with some basic tools. Looked like a planer, bandsaw, circular saw and a couple of basic tools would have done the job. Beats paying rent and you have to get started with your own tools sooner or later.

-- A posse ad esse

View DrDirt's profile


4615 posts in 5079 days

#3 posted 11-21-2011 06:39 PM

May be short term but check out the community College/Adult Education centers.

They often have classes – it is what I did before we built the shop. Basicaly it is a school shop with a person for oversight and advice. People were doing entertainment centers, some just doing refinishing and repair to use the spray equipment etc.

Some classes are project specific, but others are a really open format. So you have several evenings per week for 8-12 weeks for ~35 bucks.

Second option is joing a local club/guild. Some have a “community shop” many do not.
I am in a guild in Wichita which doesn’t have its own shop, but kansas City guild has an amazing shop and classroom space for invited speakers. I would bet that Pittsburgh would have a pretty active membership and perhaps a good shop that you can get access to.

and see what they know about this is the Western Pa Woodworkers

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3935 days

#4 posted 11-21-2011 09:18 PM

I will agree with Dr Dirt, I live in KC and get the guild emails, they do offer shop time, if you purchase a membership and meet some safety requirements. Maybe something like that in you area.

View jupdyke's profile


2 posts in 4142 days

#5 posted 11-23-2011 06:42 PM

Thanks for the input. I don’t want to start purchasing my own tools because I my father has a rather larger woodworking shop with all the tools. Once he can sell his house and move to Pennsylvania I will have access to his shop again. If I were to were to start purchasing tools I would be buying lower quality tools then my father has already invested in.

I have already contacted and that is how I was able to find the two shops which I mentioned originally. I will look into the college / university idea.

Thanks for the help,

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