Synopsis: No room in the garage? Basement not an option? Consider what Ken St. Onge did when he needed shop space: He bought a prefabricated shed and converted it into his full-time woodshop. Because a pre-built shed doesn’t need a cement foundation and is built in a factory, it’s much less expensive than building an addition or stand-alone shop on your property. It can have taller ceilings than a garage and bigger doors than a basement, both big pluses for a woodworker. You can put a shed just about anywhere, too. Here’s a soup to nuts look at Ken’s experience, so you can gauge whether a shop in a shed is right for you.
What I did, when I came back, was to clamp down the strip where it had torn away, and then to start routing from the other end. I still moved the router from right to left, but I did it in six-inch sections, taking light passes, and sort of whittled the strip flush. As the sections I was working were farther to the right, the strip was thinner. Eventually I came to where I was trimming the strip away entirely, at which point I took off the clamps and the remainder fell away.
This place is great! They offer safety classes before you sign up for a membership, and the workspace is big and well maintained. I needed some basic lessons with table and band saws, which went great. I didn't ultimately get a membership because my sawing needs are very specific, and ended up getting a small bandsaw for myself at home. But if you're someone who needs the whole range of tools, this is the place to be!
The beauty of this project lies in the simplicity. All you need are 3 pieces of wood of your choice (though we must admit natural hardwoods will look incredible), sanding block, clamps, wood glue and finishing product. The hardest step of the whole tutorial is measuring – as always, measure 9 times, cut once! You wouldn’t want to finish your project and then realize it doesn’t have enough space to fit your DVD player, would you?
Our stationary equipment runs the complete range from heavy-duty industrial machines, to inexpensive home shop type of tooling so that each student can compare and contrast the range and versatility of equipment at a wide variety of price points. We spend time on what makes a good machine good, an adequate one adequate, and a lousy machine worthless. We have no commercial sponsors and will share our opinions based on our experiences regarding the quality of one manufacturer over another. There is no better place to kick the tires on a variety of equipment than at our shop.
The bench I will be describing differs from both of these in a couple of areas, the most significant of which is the top. Allen's top was made from three layers of 3/4" medium density fiberboard (MDF), topped and edged with 1/4" hardboard. Christiana's top was just two layers of 3/4" MDF. My top is two layers of 3/4" MDF edged with 1/2" oak and topped by a 1-1/2" thick edge-glued oak Ikea countertop. My top is more expensive in both time and money than either Christiana's or Allen's. If you're looking to build something fast and cheap, I'd recommend Allen's approach over Christiana's. The hardboard significantly increases the durability of the top.
I would say take the shed, you'll find some use for it. I have contemplated this question also. I have a 20' x 11' basement shop, thats quickly loosing space. If you live in an area with a harsh winters (say the Midwest), does it make sense to heat the shop through the week if you are only working in the shop on the weekends? Or do you run the heaters just when you are working in the shop? What kind of heaters are recommended (radient, wood stove, etc.)?
The description below is an outline for how the course will proceed. We intentionally maintain a level of flexibility in our curriculum to adapt and respond to the needs of each group of students depending on aptitude. Each project has a basic standard of completion as well as design opportunities for elaboration and exploration of more advanced techniques. Our instructors will guide you through projects as is best suited for your ability level.
Remove the jaws and route the edges that you could not route while they were still attached. Then use a roundover bit on all of the corners except the inner edge of the inner jaw of the end vise. Give everything a lite sanding, and apply Danish oil to the inner surfaces of the jaws. (By "inner surfaces", I mean those surfaces that will not be accessible when the vises are assembled - the inner surface of the inner jaw, that bolts to the bench, and the outer surfaces of the outer jaws, that bolt to the vise plates.)
Once you start spreading glue, you have maybe five minutes to get the two panels mated, aligned, and clamped together. So make sure you have everything on-hand, and you're not gong to be interrupted. Start squeezing out the glue on one MDF panel, and spreading it around in a thin, even coating, making sure you leave no bare areas. Then do the same to the other MDF panel. Then pick up the bottom panel and flip it over onto the upper panel. Slide it around some to make sure the glue is spread evenly, then line up one corner and drive in a screw. Line up the opposite corner and drive in a screw there. Clamp all four corners to your flat surface, then start driving the rest of the screws, in a spiral pattern from the center.
Build a shed yourself and use it as "on the job training." Those straw built sheds are rinky dink. The people who throw them together are even more sketchy than the finished product. You will be tearing it apart and hauling it out within a few years. Or end up having to reinforce the building with more braces and another layer of flooring. Thats my 99 cents. Its not hard to build a shed especially one of that size. Cowboy up and give it a shot.