Thursday, July 10, 2014

Shop Evolution

The brown paper backing on the insulation batts reduced the efficiency of my light fixtures a great deal.
When I first constructed my shop I was the manager of an engineering department at a metal working business and never imagined I was constructing a place that would be the location of my full time occupation. Also I did not have a large budget for the shop. As my Dad used to say, "this was back in a time when I didn't have two nickels to rub together".

That might be a slight exaggeration but this was a period of time when Julie and I had 3 young children that had needs much greater than my needs for a workshop. Once dried in I didn't think I needed to spend much time or expense in finishing the interior of my shop. After some years I made the decision to become a full time furniture maker and as such I needed a space that would allow me to work during all kinds of weather conditions. At this point I did install batts of insulation in the walls and ceiling of the shop and I also installed drywall in the ceiling.

This sufficed for a while. Making the transition to full time plane making changed the requirements for my shop. The room that was added as a finishing room changed to a room where I did all my metal working. I had less need for major woodworking tools so my large 25" planer found a new home.

A couple of years ago I installed a new floor in the shop. The original floor was made from yellow pine boards and they had become smaller over the years. Heating and cooling had become more of a challenge so I installed T & G subfloor and to enhance light reflection I painted the floor white. A white floor might seem impractical however it did help with light reflection.

Historically my home town goes on vacation the week of the 4th. When the textile mills were the main employer they shut down for the week of the fourth and so the employees had no choice but to scheduled their vacation for that week. Even though the textile mills are defunct this tradition still continues and most of my home town goes to Panama City, Florida for the week of the fourth. Many restaurants are closed for that week, as are many other businesses.I wasn't officially on vacation this week  but I was awaiting materials to arrive for the next planes I would be making so I decided to spend a couple of days installing wall covering in the shop. This was a long overdue upgrade and I was looking forward to getting this accomplished.

As you can see in the pictures this has been quite the upgrade. The white walls maximize the out put of my lighting fixtures. I can now finally think about painting the floor a color that will be more practical to live with on a daily basis.

My shop has evolved just like anyone's shop. I went thru an upgrade in woodworking tools during my time as a commissioned furniture maker and then saw another transition to metal working tools as I set about making my shop a place to produce tools.

I worked for so many years in my shop with the kraft papered insulation batts showing that this week it almost seems that I'm working in someone else's shop that just happens to be configured just like my shop and holds my tools.

Like all transitions I will gradually grow accustomed to this new environment. The white walls have increased the volume of light in my shop significantly. Once again I'm asking myself why I waited so long?


A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.


  1. Hi Ron, that is a beautiful workshop, but don't you miss the daylight? Cheers Pedder

  2. Hello Pedder. There is a window just to the right of the small secondary bench that allows natural light into this space. The light that comes thru that window in the morning is very pleasing. I have 3 windows in the metal working room and the abundance of natural light in that room is very enjoyable.

    Vitamin D is important. (grin)


  3. Glad you'll be able to see so much better when you make my planes!