The weather has turned cold on us, making the thought of working outside rather unappealing, even for someone who hates to be inside for any reason. So as soon as classes have ended on Wednesday, I'm headed to my woodworking shop to work on reducing a backlog of projects. I haven't done any woodworking in a while, though, so that means that the shop is in some disarray. I'll need to get in there and clean it up before I can start the real work.
By comparison, this is what it looks like in summer, just after sunrise:
The shop is tiny; it is a former single car garage, original to our 1940's house. But if I keep it very, very organized, it is just big enough for my needs. In the summer, I throw these doors open to the outside world:
The screen doors keep the mosquitoes at bay in late summer. But my favorite thing is to throw those open, too, and use the drive as an extended part of the space. Here's a picture of me working on one of my paddles in warmer times, using the shaving horse I built on a Brian Boggs design, and a spokeshave:
When I built the horse, I personalized it with a walnut heart on the front to symbolize how I feel about the old ways of woodworking. The knobs for the pivot axles are walnut hearts, too:
A shaving horse acts as a foot-operated clamp. You can hold your work tightly, but the advantage is in being able to release it easily and quickly to move it around for different angles. This type of shaving horse is called a "bodger's bench." A bodger was someone who cut down trees to make parts for chairs. The bodgers would move into the woods when it was time to work, living in tents until it was done, and making their benches and carving the chair components right there on site. It was easier to do it that way than to transport the whole tree back to town. There is something appealing to me about the notion of making the tool and doing the work in one fell swoop. It's something McGyver would do.
With his Swiss Army knife.
The shop in summer is a soothing place. Here's the view from my workbench:
Most days, I can work by natural light:
My tools are close at hand, on the wall in a cabinet I made:
The shop originally had only one little window at the back, but we did a remodel of our house and I rescued the windows that would have otherwise gone to the dump. I framed them in myself, and later added insulation and drywall, all of which really helped with the light and regulating the temperature. The white cabinets are a re-purposed bathroom vanity from the same remodel. I also added more incandescent lights and several more electrical outlets (the original only had one of each). A neighbor who is an electrical contractor helped me out with the final steps, so I have no worries about fires breaking out anytime soon. Walu and several more neighbors helped me take down the original overhead door (it was very heavy), from which I made the carriage doors you see now. The door at the rear of the shop is a dutch door, which adds even more light and air.
Of course, none of it looks that neat right now, since Walu and I have spent the last several months cracking the door open just wide enough to throw things inside until we can deal with them later.
Well, later is now. It's time to fire up the heater and get back to work in there.
On tap for the winter's projects:
- Finish a paddle I promised a friend, many moons ago
- A compost fence to enclose the farm and keep the chickens inside
- A new double gate for the end of our drive
- A chicken coop.
I'll keep you posted on how they all shape up.
Breaking news for my LBB readers: Just got the call that classes are cancelled until 10 AM, owing to hazardous driving conditions. Be safe.
Stay away from my yard.