As I have already explained in another post, I never had a proper woodworking shop in Florida. My workbench was a couple of 2 x 12 boards laid out across a couple of sawhorses in the backyard. Whenever I dropped a bit or a screw in the tall grass below me, I usually never saw it again. Every time I wanted to work, I had to pull everything out of the shed and set it all up. Then I had to shove it all back into the shed when I was done working. You can imagine how inconvenient this process was on rainy days…repeatedly taking everything out and putting it back in.
There’s no way I could’ve established or maintained a real woodworking business with such an inconvenient setup. There I was, applying polyurethane out in the open wind with flies and mosquitoes landing on my work. Everything was always dirty. It was a big unworkable mess.
But then in March of 2018, I got an incredible job offer in Houston. I accepted the offer and moved there with my family. Months later, my wife and I found and bought a house we liked in Pearland, just south of Houston.
A Blank Slate
There’s a lot that we like about our new home. But the only part of the house that matters in this post is the 1-car garage. I’m gradually making it into a fully functional workshop. And the purpose of this post is to chronicle the evolution of this garage from a simple, empty space to the workplace I need it to be. Here it is when I moved in…just a bunch of paint and materials from the previous owner and a few of my tools. It’s a blank slate with unlimited potential.
At first glance, I’m sure you’ve already noticed a few things which make this garage an ideal working environment. First of all, it has nicely painted walls with insulation behind them. This is critical during the hot summer and the cold winter. It won’t be any fun to work in this garage if it’s uncomfortable. The window in the back will help with ventilation.
Also, as you can see, it’s a deep garage. It’s only 8 feet wide, but it extends more than 24 feet from the front to the back. That amounts to 200 sqft of floor space and 1600 cubic feet…and I intend to maximize every bit of it.
A Humble Beginning
I have big plans for this space and I’m really excited about it. In this post, I’ll chronicle the development of this garage from this humble beginning to whatever it becomes. The most recent updates will appear at the bottom. In September, I filed the paperwork for Joseph’s Woodwork & Crafts Company. Click here to read about the ongoing development of this new business.
As for this post, this is all about my workshop. I’ll lay out my plans, list my tools and honestly explain what’s working and not working. I still have some considerable tool purchases to make. But as I make those purchases and build work stations in this garage, I’ll faithfully update this post with pictures and a summary of all that I did.
I understand that maybe only woodworkers will be interested in a post like this one. But that’s ok with me. I understand woodworkers because I’m one of them. And it’s only after spending hundreds of hours alone on projects that you can begin to understand the importance of a proper workspace. Thanks for joining me on this journey. I’d appreciate your feedback. Feel free to comment down below.
The Evolution of My Woodworking Shop
July 2018 – Although it’s incredibly hot and uncomfortable here in Pearland this summer, nothing can dampen my enthusiasm for making this garage into a super-productive woodworking shop. Since we just moved in a few weeks ago, however, there are many little projects I must attend to first.
I went ahead and bought a $400 Honda lawnmower at Home Depot. It’s the first lawnmower I’ve ever purchased. There were others that were cheaper. But I figured I’d go ahead and get a good one, take good care of it make it last a long time. $400 is nothing when you consider the cost of paying for a lawn service month after month, year after year.
The real drawback to owning a lawnmower, aside from the maintenance and the price, is that it takes up so much space. I can’t put it on a shelf or hang it on the wall. It occupies 10 square feet of the limited floor space I have in this garage. As a result of this, I’m already thinking about building some kind of shed in the backyard that would hold the lawnmower and other big items for the lawn. Although I’d like to own a wheelbarrow, for example, there’s no way I’m going to keep one in this garage.
Critical project #1 is to build some kind of shelving for our master closet, which currently has nothing; no shelves, no rod, no paint. When I get a chance, I’ll write a post about that project (here’s the post).
It’s actually good to do a couple of projects in a garage where nothing is set up. It slowly reveals the arrangement that’s going to make the most sense. For now, I put my sawhorses against one of the long walls and laid some 2 x 12 boards on them. And then I hung a bright light above it. That’s my setup so far. It’ll probably change 100 times.
Wow, great news for me. It turns out that a lot of wood is thrown away where I work. The thing is…lots of parts and equipment arrive to our facility on pallets or in crates. They end up reusing a lot of it, but most of it just gets thrown away. Therefore, if I see material in the dumpster that I can use, I’m free to take it. Oh man, this is great. Several times already, I’ve brought material home that would easily cost more than $50 if I bought it at the store.
Of course, some of the wood is loaded with nails and have been exposed to the sun and rain for a long time. But that’s perfectly fine with me. Some of the stuff I plan to build will specifically require worn material. Check out this awesome crate they gave me:
Too Much Free Wood
Oh man, I sorta got carried away with all the free wood at work. It’s now taking up a huge section of the garage and it’s in my way. Ironically, because I’m spending so much time removing nails from these boards, I don’t have any time to build anything with all this free wood. I guess I’ll have to hold off on bringing more wood home.
If I see more great pieces in the dumpster at work, however, I won’t resist taking it home. It’s simply impossible for a woodworker to refuse good, free wood. If you can’t relate, imagine seeing a $20 bill on the other side of the street. It’s inconvenient for you to cross the street, but you’re gonna do it anyway. Twenty dollars is twenty dollars! And when I see awesome wood in the trash, I see dollar bills!