It’s pretty obvious that most of the smaller shops are 1/2 of a double garage. That represents a big challenge when it comes to using the space in an optimal way. I know there are a lot ideas and inspiration on the net for those seeking smart solutions. Probably the biggest problem besides just size is the inevitable shop changes that are needed to accommodate a developing woodworker. I first bought a lathe and now I have a shop full of power tools.

The most elegant solution IMHO would be to go with high quality hand tools. Personally I think that unless a person is doing production work he can work just as efficiently with hand tools and just as quickly because he doesn’t need to set up the machines for each new part or project and also make a lot of jigs for his tools. The big hitch to this idea is that a person has know how to sharpen, maintain, adjust and use hand tools. On the other hand the same thing pretty much applies to power tools. With hand tools you don’t really have to worry so much about dust, so big savings all around, space, money, time and health.

I realise that this may sound hypocritical for a guy with a shop full of tools, but I have been buying and making hand tools lately and using them more and more with time, even though I’m 74 and have arthritis. I love doing hand work and I appreciate the quietness of it too. Maybe not for everyone, but worth giving a try.

Mike, an American living in Norway