The Winter Shop.

Many years ago, before the advent of civilized artifices such as central air. Larger family homes would often have a couple of kitchens. In the colder winter months you would light a fire inside the house, baking the bread and warming the house together. In the warmer summer months you can imagine why you wouldn't want to add extra heat to the house. So a separate building was constructed behind the house to be a summer kitchen, and keep the heat of the wood fired stove from making the main house uncomfortable.

This winter I decided to take a similar philosophical approach to my shop.

Last winter was my first in the shop one my parents land, It's in a steel shed on the back corner of their property. Steel sheds aren't really know for their insulative properties, and I picked up a kerosene heater to help make it through but there were some good treks through knee deep snow until I had a path tromped down.

Not that I minded much, it did slow down my progress, glues and finishes don't work in the cold, supplies are difficult to bring to the shop, and when the temperature drops below 0 degrees, even the kerosene heater doesn't help.

We live on the fifth floor of a big apartment building. Our place has a separate dining room in addition to the standard bedrooms, kitchen, living room set up. The dining room is more often referred to as my study because we've put a couple cheep bookshelves along the wall to hold my some of our books. We are not a sit around the table for supper family, the dining room gets used as a catch all place for a lot of other things.

I decided to co-opt the dining room, or rather half of it, to serve as a winter shop. I had built my Joinery Bench to be portable. I just needed a way to transport and store the tools I would need to continue to work. So I started work building a traditional tool chest and managed to get it finished and the shop moved just in time to beat the first snow. (which has since disappeared in the recent rains, but weather in Wisconsin is interesting, If you don't like what it is right now, hold on an hour because it'll be different)

I managed to get everything into one minivan load. Well almost everything, I made a return trip to pick up some cherry stock.

It was an interesting catharsis to see the shop cleaned out. If I continue to work out of the tool chest when I move back to the "Summer Shop" and I suspect I will. I'm going to have to figure out something different to with the peg board.

 The saw till and plane storage shelf look lonely too.

The big thing I'm exited about with the "Winter Shop" . . . a window and natural light on my workbench. 

I put down a layer of painter's drop cloth and covered that with some interlocking floor pads. This should keep the majority of the sawdust out of the carpeting and make shaving easier to sweep up. 

It's cozy, but I like how it feels so far. I hot glued some pieces of floor pad to the back of the bench to protect the drywall. I love being off the concrete floor and here I can work barefoot and in stretchy pants if I feel so inclined. 

The blue plastic tool box has a small assortment of clamps and the wooden tool box on top of it has nails, screws and some hardware inside. The anarchistic tool chest is still unfinished, I ran out of stock for the skirting. I'm think I'm gonna pick up some pine to finish it up soon.

 Of course every shop has it's challenges and breaking down longer stock is always a challenge. The problem solving needed to overcome these kind of challenges is keeps me on my toes and continually searching for a better way.

Even though the chest isn't finished I am currently working out of it, and enjoying the experience. I thought I would give a quick little video tour of the chest and the tools I've decided to fill it with.

Ratione et Passonis

P.S. I just wanted to drop one more quick note of thanks.  I try not to concern myself too much with numbers when it comes to this blog, I try to write what makes me happy and things I think I would like to read and let anyone who chooses to come along for the ride. I do keep an eye on the numbers though and I am always curious about how people find me and whether they are interested enough to come back and read some more.

To that end I am tickled to say that the month of November was record breaking for hits and readership and on December 7th we set a new one day record.

This is super humbling to me and I wanted to take a minute to offer a big thank you to everyone who takes a minute out of your day to read about my adventures in sawdust. I'm having a blast continuing to work here and I'm glad you're along for the ride.

Thank You


  1. Thanks for sharing. I am looking for a winter shop myself so it's nice to see people doing it. My cellar has 85% of humidity now (83% with an air-dryer) and I am starting to think about a plan B.

  2. Derek,

    What a terrific solution to a rather common problem many hobbyists face. A woodworking shop can be anywhere if you have the commitment and imagination. Bravo.



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