Episode #004 – Simplifying your Workshop – Part 2


The Avid Woodworker – AW Episode # 4 – Simplifying your Woodworking Workshop   Part 2

The Five steps towards simplifying your shop

1)     Survey your existing workshop and decide what you really like to do in your shop

2)     Analyze your woodworking flows

3)     Clean House

4)     Organize, design, or re-design your shop

5)     Develop new rules and systems to maintain the simplicity in your shop

In this Episode, we cover step 3.

You should consider certain ‘simple’ rules to apply even if you have a small shop.  If you don’t apply them, and your shop grows, you will have a cluttered mess on your hands.  Trust me, I know from experience.  I can also say with confidence that the time it takes me to work through a project has been shortened significantly since I implemented these steps in my own shop.

Before I go any further, I know that many of you out there already have pristine shops.  You probably went through these steps or something similar years ago.  I have seen those shops and they look AWESOME and I want to say “thank you” for the inspiration to get my shop into that position.   But, if you work a full time job, have active children, and volunteer in their activities (like Cub Scouts for me), it is very difficult to find time to get into your shop.  When I get the time to get into the shop, I want to build something, not organize it.  That is why I am sharing this information.  The steps I have taken and continue to take have allowed me to get more woodworking done.  All I ask those of you have gone through this already, is to bear with me for these episodes, and who knows, you may pick up a few ideas along the way, or, even better, you might have some great suggestions that I can add to what is in this podcast.  The next step in this podcast is to start blogging, and I would love to share great ideas with everyone else.

Now, onto Step # 3 – This Step can be both challenging and freeing when you get to the end of it.

Step 3 – Clean house

Now that you have hit this stage, you should have a good idea of your core needs in your wood working shop.  As you move through this process, you want to remind yourself of what your basic workshop looks like, so, if you hit a bump in the road, you can push through the clean house phase by referring back to what you initially envisioned.

If your shop had become cluttered like mine, this clean house phase can take several weekends.  My shop had become filled with “stuff” over the course of 10 years.  I kept saying that “I am going to use that,” or “this gadget will get used one day,” and the junk just continued to pile up in need, organized boxes that merely collected dust.

Episode #003 – Simplifying Your Workshop – Part 1


Episode # 3 – Simplifying your Woodworking Workshop   Part 1

In Episode # 3, I talk about how to simplify your workshop to get more woodworking done.   Over the course of the next couple podcast episodes, I discuss the 5 things you can do to simplify your woodworking shop.

This episode is following what was discussed in Episode # 2 – 5 simple things you can do to find more time to woodwork.

What is Simplifying? 

When I say simplify, it is more than just organizing.

  • Organizing is certainly part of it.  But it is more than that . .  it is cleaning house and determining your needs.  If you just organize – you spend time and money on storage and containers to store things you probably don’t need anyway.  It is about getting rid of things you never use.
  • Running out to buy organizational “stuff” is usually just a waste of money if you start with the organization.  I have been there, and when I started simplifying my shop, I threw away a ton of boxes and shelving, etc. because they were just holding junk I was never using.  I also had a huge bond fire for wood I just never used.
  • If you buy organizational items before you follow the steps I am about to talk about, you will just buy more stuff to store the stuff you probably don’t use already.  (I love using the word “stuff” . . . it is a little broader than “junk.”
  • Often, organization of the stuff is not addressing the problem.  Often, the problem is you have too much stuff, and the stuff you should have does not have an assigned space.

Advantages to a Simple shop:

1)     Safer –

  1. Not tripping over things
  2. Dangerous tools are easily put away so small delicate hands do not find them.
  3. Easier to control dust.  Dust is a danger issue – not just for fires, but for your health.  Trust me on this issue.  I am going in for another CAT scan for the polyps in my sinuses.