Monday, September 30, 2013

A quick break

I'm on the other side of the country right now, visiting family, and seeing a good friend get married. The shop move is 95% done. I do have some odds and ends to move out when I get back. And I have two commissions to get in motion, even while I get some of the basics set up. But I'm looking past the move now, and into the future. There's been some soul searching going on. I've been thinking about what I really need in my shop, in our home, in my life, and trying to clarify what's useful. And, I'm getting ready to clear out the dead wood. A big part of that will be redefining my relationship to the shop.

Moving everything into the new space is one thing. Putting most of it away is another, and it's been an ongoing process as I move. I've talked about the hazards of setting up a space that's so full of stuff that it's no longer capable of being productive. That's been very much on my mind over the past couple of weeks. A lot of stuff that I won't need for a while has been stored away elsewhere in the building. And some other stuff will get sold, or thrown out. I'll get into final contents and layout soon enough. I'm letting some of that simmer on the back burner while I'm on vacation.

A new shop needs a new mission statement. And part of the new statement will define this shop as productive, and not creative in nature. There is (and will continue to be) a high level of artistry in some of the things that I've built, and a lot of creative sparks that regularly fly. But when the rubber hits the road, the shop is not a studio, or a refuge. It is a tool to make things happen, and a testbed for finding better ways to do the work. That's going to inform many of my choices going forward...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The move just got a little more real.

Four Corners.

The space is cleared out, and it has a bench in it. The bench came from my home, where it wasn't being used. The space is going to be about 15.5' x 22', with a chunk missing from one corner.
From the back-right corner, by the office.

From the back, left corner, by the window. The stub wall that's sticking out will come down soon.

From the front, right corner, as seen through the entrance.

From the front, left corner, by the window.

I still need to figure out how I want to set up camera angles to show work in progress, so that I don't crowd those areas out with stuff. I did like to be able to take the shots from the pillar in Lawrence, because it was cool to see the shop evolve with time. It would be fun to do something similar here, but the walls are an impediment to some angles. I don't want to conform the shop to the photo needs of the blog, that would be silly. But over time, I will want to be able to show what I'm working on in a way that looks less awkward than these photos, both for blogging, and promotional purposes.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013

First photos: Demo work

Part of my area in the new shop will occupy what used to be an office. So there was a wall that had to come down, and the drop ceiling had to come out. These photos don't have a lot of woodworking content, they're simply for posterity. At this point, the studs of that old wall are out, the carpet is out, and another wall has been erected that partly encloses the space. 

At the top of the photos you'll notice one of the nice upgrades I'll be enjoying in the new shop: Heat. I remember years ago, looking at a bottle of glue, reading the suggestion to use the glue at temperatures above 50 degrees, and wondering who on earth would be working in a shop that cold. That was before I settled into the shop in Lawrence.

Those photos were taken a couple of weeks ago. Today I started breaking things down in Lawrence. Tonight I brought the first load of tools into the new place. (My Festool stuff.) I'm excited. The space is small, but it's a chance to reinvent a few things, and manifest some of my ideas. Some of the thoughts I've had about what I'm going to do have been cool enough to keep me up at night.

A space this small has no room for extraneous nonsense or distractions. It's going to be a focused, purposeful space, and it's going to be really enjoyable to work in.

I can't wait.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Prelude to the move

My first shop was a basement shop. It was tiny, and I put so many tools in it that it ceased to be viable as a workspace. The table saw was the beginning of the end of that shop. My second shop was a space in a building that has since shut down. I had 800 square feet, all to myself, and in one year, I came close to putting too much stuff in it. Close, but not quite. I left that shop in 2008 for my current space, which has 3500 square feet for three of us. I'm moving out over the course of September. No, I haven't filled it with too much stuff. It's actually too big. 3500 sq feet is way more space than we need. Certainly more than I need. 

The new space is a shared space. The machine room is communal, and already set up. Many of my big machines will have to be stored, since they won't be needed. My personal area is about 300 square feet. In there I'll have a bench, a table saw, and a few other things. I've had five years of having lots of room to experiment with what is and isn't necessary. Now I get to see just how efficient I can be with 300 square feet. 

I'm not worried about having too much stuff. The communal machine room will take some pressure off, and there's storage space elsewhere in the building. So, I'll be able to flex and shift until I get things settled, which I couldn't do in my basement, way back when. But after 5 years of experimenting, I think I have a pretty good idea of what I need... And what I don't. It's actually going to be pretty liberating to get rid of some dead weight. And I'm not going to miss all the walking around.