My Garage Workshop Excites Me

It’s coming together. We have already filmed several videos and I’m adding the missing bits as we go. This week I have been building my shelves for the wall behind me whenever I had a free minute or two. It’s hard to workout why it’s called work. I have it together and now I am ready to apply the finish which will be the waterborne clear satin floor finish. When that’s done and in place I should have my stuff, currently scattered too randomly for sanity, all in the near right places before final tweaking.

I’m pretty well settled in so now it is mostly about adding the missing features that have for two decades worked and now become non-negotiables; my saws held on my right towards the end of the workbench for instance, my sharpening plate shelf, my bench drawer.

In between fitting out my workshop I have continued some filming events and working with the team has become so much easier as we now all fit into my creative workspace without us all breathing in. To say I am more settled than in a long time is an understatement.

I found time to hang my saws to my bench with the toggles atop for securement. That happened only a day ago so I was very happy about that. We actually filmed how to make them and determining where and how to arrange them so that will soon follow.

What has been most impactful over the more recent years for me has been being able to do things as they should be done rather than always done in a hurry. I know what it’s like making the most of every minute because time is the scarce commodity. How much more is that so today. At least that’s how it seems to me and of course with the viewing audience trying themselves to strive for skilful work patterns with quality outcome.

Making my shelves has meant 14 housing dadoes and 4 stub tenons, 4 full tenons and corresponding mortises currently in the making. I am using redwood, a pine softwood from Eastern Europe. I’ have worked with this as a medium density softwood since I was 13 years old and it is still one of my favourite woods for a range of reasons including stability, smell and ease of working. It’s my predictable wood and it is one that has been used for working class families for well over a century. This is the wood you found in servants quarters and mansion kitchens and generally the “below stairs” life where many softwoods came under the vernacular name of ‘deal‘.

Though my working is always serious, mostly because I take most things in life as serious, it does not mean that it has ever become mundane or dull at all. work is as it should be, enjoyable. I just got home from applying the last coat of finish and tomorrow I will assemble all of the components for the last time and stand it in its final place for fixing in place.


10 thoughts on “My Garage Workshop Excites Me”

  1. Hi Paul,
    just a quick note to say I very much appreciated this post. I am also very excited at the development of your workshop and hope that you will continue to post with the finer details of how you develop and refine it. I am soon to get a garage of my own and can’t wait to start modelling it on yours.

    I also liked your notes on redwood and its place in history. I’m with you on the smell – I recently made a dovetail box out of redwood using your video guides and it gives me great pleasure to stick my nose into that box and fill my nose with the smell of the wood.

    Thanks for everything you do,

  2. Doug Hathaway

    I love the “feel” of what you are doing. I am your age and did not find woodworking before a year and a half ago.

    No matter because I have found it now. I “train” every day and I use you as my mentor every day. I have built an adequately equiped woodshop in my garage and it is my go-to place.

    It is said that to maintain mental accuity as one ages, one needs to learn new and difficult things all the time.

    Thank you so much on providing the means to do that.

    1. @Bob Lester

      What feature are you talking about? What website? Do you mean this blog, or Woodworking Masterclasses?

  3. Donald Kreher

    When your done and every tool is in its place, please share how and why the garage shop is organized. I am struggling with organizing my new hybrid shop.

  4. Paul, as you know with your US experience our “redwood” is something very different than the wood you’re using there. What would you recommend as a stable, easy to work equivalent here in the US? Thanks.

    1. Paul Sellers

      I really like Eastern White Pine for its workability and stability but it is softer than the Scots Pine (which is also known as Redwood and Red Deal). Though it is native to the UK, it also grows from Western Europe, through Eastern Europe and Scandinavia on up to Siberia. When I was young Russian Redwood was highly prized.

  5. Paul, you know what I love about you? It’s obvious that you really care about passing on your wisdom. In this way you are a real steward of your craft. I love that and it’s really not common. You appear to really care about all this in a way that is deeper than business or reputation. I mean this in the sense that many gifted artists and craftsmen, I sense, use their gifts in a way that is more self-centered. Nothing wrong with that, but when someone does it like you, it’s refreshing.

    You are obviously blessed in this life and you are not taking it for granted. I hope for this type of peace of mind in my life.

    I’m new to woodworking and I pretend I’m your apprentice, ha! I follow your suggestions about project progression. I’m still on the free projects but I will definitely be subscribing right after I make the spoon.

    I read and watch other stuff online, but if and when I get confused I say “just do what Paul told you to do”.

    Thanks Paul!!

    PS I can’t wait for videos about accessorizing the workbench.

  6. Steven Newman/Bandit571

    Maybe Paul should take a look at The Dungeon Shop I have….down some steep, low overhead steps to the basement…..that is shared with the laundry room and the furnace, and the waterheater….Just had a major cleanout last month…gain 21 sqft of space!

    About 75% handtool work done in the shop…very few power tools, not much room.

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