Ultimate One-Man Shop
A woodworker's new space is a year-round haven for his favorite hobby
Synopsis: Philip Houck spent a year designing a shop that is easy to heat, with plenty of light and an open floor plan. Beefed-up framing, extra insulation, and an under-floor dust collection system helped him achieve that goal. Houck made the shop energy efficient, then located his benches and hand tools at one end of the shop, near the sink for easy access to water during sharpening. The carving bench is stationed by the window to take full advantage of natural light. He used 16-in.-wide plywood I-beams as ceiling joists to support the upper floor with no need for posts underneath. High windows on the north side make room for the wall-mounted lumber rack. Underneath, an array of upright boxes holds cutoffs of varying lengths.
From Fine Woodworking #223
For several decades, from the time I started as a woodworker until very recently, I did almost all of my work in underground shops. My first workspace was in the basement of my parents’ home. I was 9, and I made toys and useful objects for my family.
As a newlywed, my shop consisted of a vise mounted to the end of a 2×8, which I clamped to a rude table that doubled as my desk. Over the years, the shops grew in size and equipment, but as a gardener and lover of the outdoors, I found that even a great basement shop could seem dismal on a beautiful day.
Every so often I tried open-air woodworking, setting up shop on my deck during the warm weather (I live near the ocean, in New England). That was better, but far from ideal. For one thing, I found myself constantly in need of yet another tool, and I spent much of the day traipsing up and down the cellar stairs.
A few years ago,…