“warts and all” workshop views

I had this foolish notion that at some point, my new workshop would be all organized and tidy. Presentable. Then I was going to photograph it and post a tour of the shop here on the blog. But…it keeps gathering junk in piles, only to be cleaned up so I could work – and make another mess. I guess that means my shop is “done” as much as it’s going to get. I did write a short piece in Popular Woodworking about it – but here is a short glimpse of what it looks like these days.

Might as well start at the beginning. here’s the view to the door:

Looking through the door, into the room. The carving over the door is a place-holder. there’s a new one coming.


The main workbench. 8′ long. shelves underneath for large planes, boxes of tools like chalkline, hammers, mallets, bench hook and other bench accessories. Racks in the window for marking gauges, awls, chisels, squares – etc.

Same view, but extended to the left – showing the neglected lathe. More later on that.

Looking back toward the door – showing my version of Chris Schwarz’ tool chest.  I couldn’t bear to paint it a solid color…small shelves wedged between the braces and corner posts. Auger bits, sharpening stuff, other odds n ends.


Here is that corner straight on – spoon knives and scratch stocks in boxes… random junk sitting on ledges til I figure it out. Could be years…

The view into the corner beyond the workbench. Cabinet for hatchets, chopping block below.

Patterns and story sticks. they’re everywhere.

I’ve taken this picture many times – it’s just beyond my workbench, the cabinet that houses the hatchets. Recycled wall paneling for the doors.


Half of a Connecticut River carved panel – couldn’t leave that stored in a box…

Inside the cabinet – hatchets, adze, twca cam in 2 sizes –

Like I said, the lathe has had little attention. The current plan is to make a set of shorter beds for it. Right now I can turn a 48″ chair post, but most of my turnings are under 32″ – so I’ll store these beds, make shorter ones, and save a bit of space. Right now, it is a place to pile stuff out of the way. Well, it’s not really out of the way. It’s just a mess. Books and notes to the left.

The old Ulmia workbench is not much better off than the lathe. There’s a shaving horse stuck behind the bedstead-in-progress. The oak desk box will go out of here soon. The baskets too. this junk-gathering place at least changes a lot, unlike the lathe.

that’s it mostly. A stove just after the Ulmia bench. A 12′ x 16′ building doesn’t require a lengthy tour…there is the loft, but I’m not going up there right now. It’s a rabbit hole…

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19 thoughts on ““warts and all” workshop views

  1. Are you able to stay cool enough so far? My garage shop turns into a level of hell in the summer. But I find that more tolerable than trying to work wood when it’s twenty below. But it requires a lot of water to keep me going.

  2. It looks great, Peter–and after all, it’s a workshop, not a museum. Maybe if you leave some cookies out the elves will come at night and straighten it up for you.

  3. Peter,
    Your shop is beautiful, and it is not messy by my so called standards. I particularly liked the carving on the summer beam and the bevels on the joists. I wish that I had a shop just like it.

  4. Beauty of a small shop is that one is forced to rearrange in order to work, so the piles can’t get too deep! Looks great to me..

  5. Now that it looks like a well organized shop with a living active person working there; it look terrific!

    Many happy wonderful functional works of art and love awaits you in your shop. Enjoy every one.

  6. It’s enchanted. May you find much magic in it. That’s some paint job on the Schwarz chest… out-anarchisting the anarchist!

  7. Here in Wisconsin we have a number of ‘History Museums’ that look just like this except they are free of wood chips and any other signs of life.
    It sure is heart warming to see such an inviting work space being used.
    I was thinking what a nice one man shop this would be except it would be very cold here in the winter, I’m glad you mention the wood stove.
    My two teenage sons and I have a much larger wood working shop than this, all for hand tool woodworking only. The percentage of space that collects messes is still the same so at least you have less mess and it’s just your own….

    The Lords blessing on you.

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