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Shop Talk

(Current shop pages are under construction.  Stay tuned for updates.)

My Current Shop (2003-today):
When we decided to move from Westland, one of the major requirements of our new house was that it had the room to support a good sized basement woodshop. Well, I got what I wanted, and I’m now in another basement shop. It’s fantastic. Cool in the summer, warm in the winter, I don’t share space with vehicles, the floor is relatively level, and I’ve even got an egress window to let in plenty of sunlight and fresh air. My only challenge is getting tools and plywood downstairs and completed pieces upstairs, but with a little planning that’s not a big roadblock. Click here for a pictorial of my current shop.  Prior versions with old tools and layouts can be seen here for the previous version and here for the earliest layout.

My Second Shop – Westland, MI (1998-2003):
When we moved to our house in Westland the shop was relegated to the garage. The basement in that house was finished living space, so I didn’t want to un-finish it and convert it to a shop. I hoped that working out of a garage would be OK for me, but I had been spoiled with the basement shop in PA, and I never was satisfied with the many compromises of a garage shop.

Consider this advice: if you have options other than a garage for a shop, take them! A basement is better. A seperate space is better. A detached building is better. I'm beginning to think a living room is better - but I can't seem to convince SWMBO. Garages are cold in the winter, hot in the summer, humid, unisulated, nasty spaces. For water to drain away from the house, the floor is sloped - great for a car garage, but miserable for a woodworking shop.

OK, OK, I'll stop whining about the garage. I never took many pictures of the shop to post (because I frankly hated it), so there’s nothing for me to build a page around. My main advice to anyone considering a garage shop would be to make everything mobile (Delta and HTC mobile machinery bases are fantastic). We kept my wife’s car in the garage and mine parked outside, so I was able to permanently occupy of the 2-car garage. Even with this space devoted to the shop, I had to roll tools around to make room for cars and large projects. My project output slowed significantly because I just wasn’t happy here.

My First Shop – Huntingdon, PA (1995-1998):
My first shop was a memorable one. It’s where I got started with this crazy hobby, and it’s where I got hooked on the luxury of a basement shop. Click here for a pictorial of the shop in our house in Pennsylvania.


Last revised: 7/12/15

Copyright 2014 Chris Billman