My workspace is different than my workplace. It’s where I occupy and work, that’s true, but my workspace is the environment where my tools and bench and tool cupboards and tool chests rest. My life revolves around this space and I live a great deal of my life immersed in it. You see, it isn’t so much hanging my tools from pegboard panels anchored to the wall above the workbench that creates my work space. Neither is it a ‘my-shed’ thing, but more a series of ‘pods’ in pods, that generally exist in the form of tills, boxes, drawers and workbenches, cupboards and so on. This series of pods isolates me from the building structure itself per se. If I go into my castle workshop, my tools rest and are podded, moveable, adaptable.

In my home shop I have some differences. Restricted space allows much less movement so my pods must be restricted; customised to fit the available room. Room is determined by the amont of space I need to work effectively making what I make as a furniture maker and not by the amount of stuff I have. Excesses beyond my daily needs can be stowed elsewhere. My essential tools must by right to hand.

Because I use mainly hand tools, I need only a fraction of the space machine-dependent machinists need. My actual workspace needs seldom exceed more than 3′ x 5′. I can make anything in that space. It’s assembly and finishingfinished pieces that consumes space, but this is not workspace.

My son makes violins. His work space measures 5′ x 5′ and that houses a 2′ x 3′ workbench! Again, his pods are available to him in the moveable arrangement of pods and it’s this that gives him the versatility he needs to work. The volumes remain the same no matter the arrangement of the pods, but pods give him adaptable and creative adjustability so he can macro or micro adjust according to need.

It’s often the case that some things, by natural restriction, must sometimes be permanently wall-hung or floor-fixed and therefore immoveable, but my methodology is to create pods that can occupy any space and could if need be or as needed enhance an evolving environ in a customising minute ways until the workspace fits in a belonging way. Your work space, no matter how temporary or large or isolated, should have that sense of settled ‘belonging‘ to you whereby you belong to it and it belongs to you.

  • Paul Keane on Working AloneI must say your website is excellent with lots of information on how to work with and improve my wood working skills. Due to the lockdown I have build a workbench, I have been look…
  • Dan on Branching outSteve, was that the one on display inside a ranger station in California? If so, I have seen that as well. Definitely worth a look to anybody interested. Keep well, everybody.
  • Gary on Working AloneYou are not alone when you go home to your partner at the end of each day. The same person you saw when you awoke this-morning. They're even with you in many ways when you're apart…
  • Paul Sellers on Edge Sharpening Under £10Is it "cheap" plates or 'less expensive' or 'low cost' plates? There is a difference here. Mylow cost plates in all gritt=s are holding up well after almost four months to date. My…
  • Paul Sellers on Edge Sharpening Under £10I might suggest something different here. I think that with the larger diamonds to top angular points fracture more readily and in a sense, create a sort of plateaued top which is…
  • Richard C on Edge Sharpening Under £10with the cheap plates, I find that yes, they wear very quickly initially, but then 'settle'. another thing I've found is that it's possible to scratch the grit off completely if yo…
  • Samuel on Working AloneThere’s a childlike joy in only having the bare essentials in tools and knowing them and admiring them.