Ever thought about where you work? I mean, the space you occupy is your place of occupation and it’s more important then that you customise it to suit your personal needs. Even shared space necessitates that you create a working environment within the greater whole: a place of functionality if you will, that allows the placement of all things so that the positioning affords optimal accessibility.

This is my personal work area at Penrhyn Castle workshop where we have the woodworking courses. I have another workshop in my garage at home where I have a different set up, but have replicated the same tool choices so that I can work in both places.

Creativity involves the place you work. I am often inspired from just seeing the tools and the wood in their rightful place. Every workshop I’ve worked in has quickly evolved into a workplace that carried within its walls an essential sense of belonging. Those who have never had a workshop or developed it will never truly understand the value and impact this has on the work you do. I’m often dismayed when woodworkers create a sterile artificial environs that look more like kitchens than woodworking workshops. Real always works best and it has nothing to to do with ideal size but working with what you have.

A workshop should of course feel as comfortable as possible to work in; good light, tidy, tools to hand, wood in its place and all of this surrounding the central hub of a solid workbench. A craftsman’s ‘space’ reflects who he is and of course what he produces, so watch out for my next article on Creating My Workspace.

1 Comment

  1. JW Dougherty on 9 December 2016 at 3:21 am

    I think you are completely correct. I often think about my shop. There are innumerable ways I could improve it, but … There is something about handing hand tools that is special. Well made ones in particular. Handling them leads to thinking about ways to use them. Pick one up and there’s no telling where your mind will take you. My shop is small and way too crowded. I keep promising my wife I will build more storage, but I often find myself sitting on a stool my grandfather made studying a plane, or sharpening everything that has an edge on it in the shop. I built my granddaughter a unique ash foot stool after walking out to the shop to clean up one day. The place was ankle deep in plane shavings. And when I looked around, I had designed and built a foot stool using two bridal joints, six brass screws and a little water proof glue to handle bathroom humidity. She brushes her teeth standing on it. There’s a handle hole cut through the top and a central spine that ties the legs and top together. The spine has a relief cut in the upper side for the fingers using the hand hole on the top, and an arching profile underneath that reduces the weight a four year old has to move. She loves it and I had to ask her parents for pictures. I never made any drawings. There were even more shavings to sweep up after the stool was mailed off for her birthday.

  • John on Happy Birthday Paul!Paul, Happy Birthday! You are the bomb! The nuclear option—top of the heap. Thank you VERY much for your magnificent contribution to our craft. Bought your book for Christmas, and…
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  • Steve on Happy Birthday Paul!A most happy and birthday 🎂wish to you Paul and thank you for that quiet voice heard as I work the wood, it's magical.