Small, Very Small, Workshop

To help round out a very busy year, I also decided to build a small workshop. I won't go into all the details but for various reason I was limited to a 10 x 12 footprint. This was part of my goal to have facilities to better maintain our new boat. The other is the soon to be completed boat shed.

After a bit of research on potential designs I decide on a Salt Box style and drew up a quick sketch in Google Sketchup.

I elected to go with a ridge beam since I enjoy high ceilings and with such a small space I want as much openness as I could get. I also decide on two large skylights instead of windows to maximize the interior wall space.

Here are a couple of early framing pictures. I green tank is my irrigation catchment tank. I elected to forgo on the smaller additional black tank for now.

After a number of month with some time off for other commitments here is where I stand now.

And a few, hard to photograph, inside pictures.

One of my challenges in designing and building a small shop was how to actually get real use out of such a small space. I want to have all of the basic wood shop capabilities I can get but I just don't have the space. My first thought was to go with something like the Shopsmith system. You can read about my Shopsmith thoughts here. Although there was a great deal about the Shopsmith that I liked, two things held me back. One, their table saw does not seem to be universally liked and two it still requires room for infeed and outfeed which was a deal breaker for my small space.

By chance I happened across the Festool system and this is the direction that I went. You can read about my initial tool purchases here. The big advantage with the Festool system for me is that the tools move and the work piece stay stationary. This is a big deal for a small shop. In addition the quality of their tools is outstanding (albiet very expensive).

So far I am quit impressed by the usefulness of these tools in my small shop. I will add updates as I gain more experience.

As with everything I still have a list of tasks before I can call it complete.
  • Insulate walls and ceiling
  • Finish interior walls and install flooring
  • Run surface mounted electrical
  • Build hinged drop down table for east wall
  • Install cleats to hange shelves and cabinets
  • And of course buy more tools
With respect to tools, I am still contiplating a Shopsmith Mini. This is a Shopsmith that has been cut down so they don't take up as much space. You can read more about this here. I headed back in this direction when I started looking for a benchtop drill press and disk sander. I didn't find very many great reviews and the Shopsmith looks to handle those task very well. In addition you get many of their other features. Time will tell and I am still shoping.