setting up (work)shop

We’ve been living in this house since 2001. The newest set of caretakers since the house was built in 1880. When we were fixing things up, painting and such for the month before we actually moved, the dining room sufficed as a workshop, apart from the occasional bump on the head from the chandelier. Everybody did it at least once. It was more than half filled with lumber and my grandfathers tools. The rest of the tools were mostly my dads and a few were mine. I had mostly the newest looking ones (basically from dis-use). Apartment living called for little more than a hammer to hang pictures and some spackle (to hide the holes when we moved out).

We chose the Dining room for its central location, easy access to the back door (table saw and power sanding done on the back porch) and the fact that it was likely to be the last room we needed done. Ironically, it became the first room we completed. It took a couple of tries to get the paint color right, but with all the tools removed for the “Christmas break” we found it easy to finalize.

I did my best to set up shop in the basement. Dealing with the 6’1″ ceiling height (in most places) less where plumbing was involved was, and still is a challenge. As you guessed I’m 6′ tall myself. I’ve endured some minor head trauma while walking around carelessly – at least I know my tetanus is up to date. I took a stab at, and constructed a workable work bench. Proud of my skill level at the time (and that I could manuver full sheets of plywood down the stairs and around the space.

My wife commented recently that I should make a doll house for our Sweetie, (and I will since I want to make or do just about everything), just not this Christmas. My grandfather built one for my sister, decades ago. It came out great, and is still in great shape. I don’t remember how old she was. I do remember that my grandfather was finishing it up on Christmas morning. I don’t want to follow in those footsteps, I want to give myself enough time to not rush the job. My wife is ok with it being a “next year” thing – her acknowlegement of how much I already have on my plate.

Now that I’ve acuired some more power tools as projects demanded them, and am dabbling in furniture making, I’m finding I need to rethink things, and set up a more workable space.

So far I’ve spent the last 2 weekends trying to make heads or tails of the space, clearing out anything recyclable, hauling off trash to the dump, and trying to get a basic sense of the space. Keeping the headroom and support posts in consideration, and trying to get a handle on how much more I’m going to need to build. Shelving, work surfaces, permanent and/or knock down.

This morning I repurposed 2 doors into a long countertop/workbench. A good place to set up the mitre saw, as well as stash all sorts of things under. This suits the yankee inside (as well and the practicality of having 2 less things to finagle up the stairs, in the car and off to the dump.

Hoping that next weekend I’ll have done a good deal more clearing/cleaning, and will be well on my way to having an inspiring space to have the space to turn dreams of Mission style chairs, games, toys, and a new dining room table, as well as that doll house into reality.

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