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.

  • Thomas Olson on Sharp TalkingI also love to sharpen. One of the greatest ways I know to relax.
  • Dennis Sheehan on Sharp TalkingAs a plumber I drilled or cut many round holes usually anywhere from 1/2” through 8” and the benefit of a sharp bit and new worm was self evident at the end of the day . The master…
  • Joe on Sharp TalkingThanks Paul. I followed your advice regarding diamond stones. Have my three and have never looked back. They work well and I'm blissfully ignorant of any other way and happy to rem…
  • Patrick Sadr on Sharp Talking"I do use a coarse abrasive, cloth-backed, to reestablish a damaged bevel and so on, or if I have gone out of square." Paul could you please go on about this? I do vaguely remember…
  • Brandon Wilson on Sharp TalkingPaul: *is an expert and a Sellers and talks about sharpening* Also Paul: *complains when "expert sellers" talk about sharpening* (yes, I know I'm not the first and probably won't b…
  • Jerry Stark on Sharp TalkingI certainly agree with Paul on this one. The more time I have spent wood working, the more I have realized that it is better to build skills than it is to buy machines. (I could ha…
  • Samuel on Sharp TalkingIn relation to sharpening Paul has taught me the word “acuity”