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Thread: Micro workshop?

  1. #1
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    Default Micro workshop?

    What does one have when there isn't a "shed" or "workshop".... they have an outdoor table setting!

    I've a balcony, not big, but I can use it for simple things. Looks like hand tools might be a thing for a while.

    Almost everything is in storage - 30 minutes away, but VERY cheap (!!!!!)

    I bought my Parf hole table top (18mm MDF 3/4 sheet), Festool tracksaw and Vac, Mirka Ceros 150mm ROS and scrollsaw.... plus a Single Box 'O Bits-n-pieces.... These I can pack into a small space.

    NOW - for those who work in small spaces that are NOT workshops, how do you cope? What are your strategies? Keeping clean, ensuring SWMBO doesn't go mental, neighbours don't Molotov me, hand tool recommendations????

    I'm thinking of making a New Outdoor Table that is suspiciously extra heavy duty

    All ideas welcome

    (Yes, I'm going stir crazy not being able to make)

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  3. #2
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    Jan 2008
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    I make models. I started with the Model Airways Sopwith Camel but wasn’t happy with some of the metal castings so that made me branch out into metal work, soldering, turning (Proxxon make a great little lathe which fits on a desktop), 3D printing and so on. Also CAD (3D Fusion). It has been quite an adventure, one thing leads to another. So I would suggest developing new skills be it model making, carving toy making, marquetry or design.
    Cheers, Glen

  4. #3
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    An 80+ year old friend of hours lives in a retirement village and he has converted a room ~2.2 x 2.8m into a workshop. He has a 10" bandsaw, a mini lathe, a bench grinder with a belt sander and sanding disc, a narrow bench with a drill press on one end and a surprising amount of under and overhead storage. He uses a shop vac on everything which seems to keep the dust from spreading into the rest of his place. He mainly makes kitchen and household items and even though he has a lathe he doesn't use it that much because of the amount of dust it makes. I don't think the vac is really the best thing but given he really enjoys his WW and age he is doing well.

    Another 60 year old metal working friend lives on a very small inner city block and built a 3 x 3m room attached to the house so that it looks the same as the rest of the house, ie it follows the house roofline and has the same wooden floors, and plastered walls and ceiling. To get it though their council they called it a studio. He had extra acoustic insulation put into the walls and ceiling and extra power points. In this "studio" he has a decent size metal lathe and a metal mill, a floor standing drill press and a belt sander, a 1m^2 table/bench with a large vice on it which leaves him about 1 m^2 to stand in the middle of the room. The two big machines sit on large metal trays to catch the oil drips. He builds steam engines and his machines and the whole room are scrupulously clean. He normally works with small pieces of metal but does have to visit friends or occasionally break up longer bars and other stock on the driveway with an angle grinder. Getting the equipment into the room required taking some of it apart.

  5. #4
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    WP, this is especially for you! The answer

    The Ultimate Solar-Powered Mobile Tiny House Workshop | Living Big In A Tiny House

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on constructing handtools, handtool reviews, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

  6. #5
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    I think noise will be your biggest hurdle, can the neighbours see you ? My neighbours are fairly close but can’t see me so may not attribute all noise to me, on a balcony it could be hard to hide.

    Not sure hand tools are that much quieter for situations like this ie chopping a mortise vs a domino or router. The power tools are louder for a short burst but the constant hammering goes for longer and is still noisey.
    You boys like Mexico ?

  7. #6
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    Australia
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    Here are my experiences working in a 1M x 1.5M balcony workshop:


    I primarily make toys. So a handsaw, plane, drill, and chisel can get alot of amazing work done. Infact people are amazed at the toys Ive made with such simple tools. Although I do have a jigsaw and circular saw, so i can mill stuff in my backyard if i have a lot of pieces to cut. I keep a fair amount of small pieces of wood, which i carve into marionettes, or transport (trucks and planes) toys, during the nights.


    I use a piece of towel to dull the noise of the mallet. But the occasional hammering of nails doesn't seem to bother anyone.


    A $10 black and decker workmate, plus a few extra clamps is my workholding mechanism.


    A heavy half door with a cleat sits on top of the the workmate for making bigger items like a rocking horse.


    Once I got over the pychological barrier of the amount of effort required, I really started pumping out stuff. What I mean is, I used to put things off because its seemed like a lot of work, eg resawing some wood by hand. But once I got all my tools sharpened and started working, i realised its actually not too much work, and its actually quite enjoyable, and a good chance to practise, sawing straight.

  8. #7
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    I reckon Kumiko would be a good thing and easily sold

    YouTube

    Des King is a true master and has courses for those who want to learn more and all done with hand tools without an electron in sight.
    CHRIS

  9. #8
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    aaannnnddd I have all of his books

    Good idea

  10. #9
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    FWIW which isn't much...

    The era of the giant shed is reasonably recent. When I were a young whipper snipper you'd count yourself dead set lucky to have a single garage. I had a slightly oversized garage in one of the flats I rented and a power point! Now in those days I was restoring bikes and fixing my car so not woodwork, but I did some work in that tiny space. If your balcony was say 1.5x3 that's probably a bit more space than I had, unless I moved the car out...

    Hand tools not only (generally) make less noise, they don't produce fine dust to drift away. Bigger chunks are easier to contain. Also while power tools are quick at the actually job they often need setting up. If you are making one cut how long does it take to find the right router bit/abrasive, saw blade, fit it, set fences, assemble dust collection before you make your cut or whatever ? I love my workshop but I arrange my work so I'm doing bulk operations all at once. Hand tools give you the luxury of doing a little bit of this then a little bits of that... Not saying they are better just saying not necessarily worse...
    I'm just a startled bunny in the headlights of life. L.J. Young.
    We live in a free country. We have freedom of choice. You can choose to agree with me, or you can choose to be wrong.
    Wait! No one told you your government was a sitcom?

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodPixel View Post
    aaannnnddd I have all of his books

    Good idea
    He has just added some more videos in the last few weeks.
    CHRIS

  12. #11
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    I operate out of a 4 a 2.5m alcove between the garage and the main house.
    The car gets moved out when I need to use the CNC and I mainly just hope the other car doesn't get hit if a bit fails.

    Mostly I need to work in daylight hours, keep the area clean and stop the kids putting crap all over my workbench as they seem to think it is a convienent place to store their junk.

    To accomodate the restricted area I have focussed on smaller projects and simply co-opt the lounge room for short periods if I need to assemble anything larger.

    SWMBO is accomodating because when we built it was a decision between a pool and a shed. As you might guess I didn't get my shed....
    So now, every time I hear a complaint I just have to say, "If I had a shed this wouldn't happen". Lucky for me I married well.

  13. #12
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    brisbane
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    Back in the days when I was single and contracting I had a metal lathe and a mill in my laundry I had to put up a sheet of tin across the doorway to stop the dwarf getting into the lounge room(after I discovered how difficult it was to get out, I also found out how flammable the carpet was when I was welding on it). The welder and compressor lived next to the lounge chairs to act as coffee tables when not being used. We got alot of work done there and the neighbours never complained about the noise although we generally stopped by 8pm and I never used angle grinders much after dark

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by damian View Post
    FWIW which isn't much...

    The era of the giant shed is reasonably recent. When I were a young whipper snipper you'd count yourself dead set lucky to have a single garage. I had a slightly oversized garage in one of the flats I rented and a power point! Now in those days I was restoring bikes and fixing my car so not woodwork, but I did some work in that tiny space. If your balcony was say 1.5x3 that's probably a bit more space than I had, unless I moved the car out...
    This is a good point. As a kid when we live in the country Dads "workshop" was the extended end of a single garage - something like 3 x 4m. Dad was pretty ham fisted, he specialised in bending nails, as well as not being that interested but my Uncle who lived with us on and off for a while spent some time on house construction up north and showed me a few basics. When I was 13 my uncle left and never came back and he left me all his hand tools and two B&D power drills! I took over the end of the garage and built a workbench and some cupboards and local kids would come to my place to build stuff.

    Two years later we ended up in the city on a bare smaller city block. Dad was incapacitated but mum helped me build a 2.4 x 2.4m x 2.1m high garden shed out of corrugated iron and scrap timber. It was an absolute hotbox in summer and housed the usual garden stuff, like tools and a wheel barrow, plus a couple of bikes. I made and shoe horned a 900 x 600 bench into the corner and by moving the bikes and wheel barrow out I had a small place to work. My bros spent a lot of time repairing push and motor bikes and I remember the bench was constantly covered in oil.

    When we were first married we lived in the outer beach burbs in FILs beach shack which had a 4 x 8 m garage chocka with crap, old furniture, bikes, boating and fishing gear. After a giant clean up (same shed I am emptying 40 years later on following FILs passing) and slight rearrangement I recovered a couple of meters of the end of the garage. I built 900 x 900 mm bench with the top made from 6 x 2" jarrah beams and the frame welded up from an old bed. That bench did a lot of work and eventually became my welding bench and I kept it for 35 years and eventually gave it away on GT. I also bought a toy combo machine and made quite bit of low end furniture for the shack with this gear.

    Our first inner city home came with a 2 x 3m garden shed on a severe lean which fell over during a storm and I replaced it with a 3.5 x 5.3m shed which filled quickly with garden crap, bikes and old furniture and I only really had about 3.5 x 2 of actual workspace to start with. I still had my welding bench and my first WW bench consisted of "2 cartons and hollow wooden door" , later upgraded to "2 trestles and the same hollow door". We then end up moving OS several times for work and it was not until 15 years ago that I made my first sort of real bench. The rest is detailed on these forums. Now I have ~45 m^2 of space but still find myself at times working on the outdoor table

  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cam07 View Post
    to put up a sheet of tin across the doorway to stop the dwarf getting into the lounge room(after I discovered how difficult it was to get out,

  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lappa View Post

    I also have a lot of trouble with dwarf, they get caught up in my boot treads and I track them into the house.
    The dogs also get dwarf entrained in their fur and then I find it on the sofa and beds.
    One tough bit of dwarf went straight through my Crocks and broke off in my big toe.

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