Apartment Dwelling Woodworkers

  • Advertise with us

« back to Focus on the Workspace forum

Forum topic by BustedClock posted 01-11-2014 04:44 AM 3739 views 2 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View BustedClock's profile


129 posts in 3772 days

01-11-2014 04:44 AM

Topic tags/keywords: apartment living room bed room workspace

So, a couple of years ago, my wife and I moved to Denver, CO. We moved out of a townhouse with a single car garage in which we never parked the car except when I was working on it. I wasn’t much into woodworking at that time, although toward the end I was reading lots of stuff about it on the toobz.

In Denver, we moved into a two bedroom apartment, and rented a covered parking space. The only place for woodworking is somewhere in the house. Here’s my current “workshop.”

Although she agreed I could do this (for mental health reasons) she’s not best please. Indeed, neither am I.

I would like to use the second bedroom as a workshop since we only get out of town guests at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Unfortunately, I’d have to learn enough woodworking to make Murphy beds out of the two twin mattresses in there. Don’t think that’s going to happen soon.

So, what’s an urban dweller to do? Did any of you folks have the same sort of issues? How (short of moving) did you solve them?

Enquiring minds want to know.

-- Hey, I'm usually right twice a day! Except where they use 24 hour clocks.

24 replies so far

View BustedClock's profile


129 posts in 3772 days

#1 posted 01-11-2014 04:45 AM

I should say, it is my mental health about which my loving wife is concerned. ;-)

-- Hey, I'm usually right twice a day! Except where they use 24 hour clocks.

View Core2's profile


62 posts in 2856 days

#2 posted 01-11-2014 05:29 AM The Club Workshop metions woodworking.
This could be a good option for you. Some places you even bring your own tools in. But the bad thing is anyone can use them. I have never participated in these but a friend of mine made me check one out once. seems like a good thing. Might be what you’re looking for.

View NormG's profile


6573 posts in 4254 days

#3 posted 01-11-2014 06:18 AM

It is a start, good reason to make the Murphy bed

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Mark Smith's profile

Mark Smith

509 posts in 3290 days

#4 posted 01-11-2014 07:07 AM

Depending on how tight money is, you can always rent a shop someplace.

View knockknock's profile


473 posts in 3423 days

#5 posted 01-11-2014 12:23 PM

I work in my living room using hand tools and a cordless drill. While making a project, I keep my workmate and tools in a corner, and pull the workmate out when actually working on it. That works for small projects, but currently I am building my tool chest/cart and occasionally it has taken over most of the room. If my ex was still around, I probably wouldn’t be allowed to do this. If you can utilize the spare bedroom, that sounds like the best option to me (remote locations aren’t convenient).

-- 👀 --

View MalcolmLaurel's profile


303 posts in 2873 days

#6 posted 01-11-2014 01:08 PM

I used to use the extra bedroom in a small apartment as a workshop. Sawdust and metal chips don’t go well with carpeted floors… :(

-- Malcolm Laurel -

View knockknock's profile


473 posts in 3423 days

#7 posted 01-11-2014 02:10 PM

Interesting point about the carpeting. I have low pile carpet (looks like flat weave) in a color pattern that hides almost anything. I scoop up the big stuff with a plastic dustpan and then vacuum up the rest with my Dyson DC18 (I don’t have metal chips?). So I would say it depends on the carpet.

-- 👀 --

View Ted78's profile


415 posts in 3250 days

#8 posted 01-11-2014 03:05 PM

Been in your shoes before, minus the wife, she’d left long before that point. Do look into hackerspace, sometimes called makerspace in your area. There isn’t one where I live, but the one in the quad cities where my brother lives is amazing. You might want to consider a small band saw (they are versatile, don’t take up a ton of space and are quieter than a vacuum cleaner. Take over the bedroom and tackle that murphy bed project.

I am not personally very familiar with anything but European style hand tools, but it seems to me that the Asian tradition of woodworking where one is less reliant on big heavy benches and big vises might be more suited to working in a smaller space.

Can you just prop the twin mattresses against a wall while you are working and put them back when you are done? or are there box springs and bed frames as well?

Good luck.

-- Ted

View bondogaposis's profile


6050 posts in 3601 days

#9 posted 01-11-2014 03:10 PM

I don’t think I could work that way, I’d have to rent a shop somewhere.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4117 days

#10 posted 01-11-2014 03:16 PM

I went to both the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech back in the 1970’s. To be honest I studied very hard and didn’t have a lot of time for woodworking. However, I did have a nice set of woodworking hand tools and what time I did spend in woodworking was done on the small porch and balcony of the small apartments that my wife and I lived in.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Loren's profile


11277 posts in 4898 days

#11 posted 01-11-2014 04:15 PM

You’re in luck in Denver, there’s a community wood shop there.

You might want to consider focusing on carving or chip carving
or something like that.

View BustedClock's profile


129 posts in 3772 days

#12 posted 01-11-2014 09:08 PM

I did look into the community workshop—Club Workshop—but it’s $100 per month. Also, when the semester starts I won’t have time to go there.

The woodshop at school is quite nice, but we are only supposed to be working on school projects. I think everybody gets away with doing little things, now and again, but it’s one of those don’t abuse it situations.

Now that the holidays are over, my loving wife may consider letting me prop the beds up for a while. They do have box-springs and frames, but those shouldn’t be a problem. I can always strap everything together before propping them.

I’m not sure I’m up to making Murphy beds yet. So far, I’ve only worked on mortise and tenon joinery, and I’m still far from mastering those. BTW, except for drills and a router, I only have hand tools.

As for cleanup, you might have noticed a flannel sheet on the floor in the picture. That works pretty well, especially since I only create dust when I saw something. The rest of the time is shavings and chips, and those clean up fairly well.

-- Hey, I'm usually right twice a day! Except where they use 24 hour clocks.

View BustedClock's profile


129 posts in 3772 days

#13 posted 01-11-2014 09:13 PM

One thing I’ve thought of is to create a small workbench, like the size of one of those roll-around butcher block thingys rich folks have in their kitchens. I think I could make one nice enough to pass for an interesting piece of furniture when not in use.

I was thinking of using… is it Shipwright’s?—V8 wedged leg vice, and a small face vice. I’m hoping something like that would hold me for a while. Once I get the SketchUp done, I’ll post it here for you all to comment on, and perhaps provide suggestions.

Glad to know this isn’t an uncommon situation.


-- Hey, I'm usually right twice a day! Except where they use 24 hour clocks.

View richardwootton's profile


1701 posts in 3205 days

#14 posted 01-12-2014 01:28 AM

Check out Mosquito’s bench in the work bench smack down thread. I am currently working on building a smaller bench to use inside about 5’ long by 16” wide, which will hopefully look like a piece of furniture when not in use instead of just a really cluttered work bench which is how my current bench typically looks.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5411 days

#15 posted 01-13-2014 07:31 AM

someone once shared how he did his woodworking in hotel rooms, as he was on the road all the time. He carried his supplies in a suitcase!
another member shared his story of having the attic as his workspace
and then there is Dilo Marcio Fernandino who works in a closet. His wife set rules: no sawdust anywhere and no power tool noise

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

showing 1 through 15 of 24 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics