"Much requested walk around of my 48 square feet of woodshop hacks"
June 3, 2020 9:03 AM   Subscribe

8x6 Tiny Workshop Tour (Youtube): A calming, 15-minute walkthrough of a woodworker's tiny, immaculately organized workshop posted by not_the_water (41 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
 
I watched that until I saw that he has organised his spanners (wrenches) purely by size order and not splitting them metric and imperial THEN size.

Psychopath. Definitely. Can't watch another second.
posted by Brockles at 9:23 AM on June 3 [14 favorites]


No, keep watching. This is like a magic show. Everything was in front of our eyes so along, but we just couldn't see it.

I'm going to be returning to this with a sharper eye to study his french cleat creations. I switched to French cleats last summer and it was an amazing improvement in terms of storage space and ease of finding stuff, but so my holders are basically boxes. This will provide lots of inspiration that may or may not translate into action.
posted by Acari at 9:34 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


Also I've printed up a graphic that shows metric and imperial sizes on one line, and it has saved my sanity more than once. I can get behind his intermingling of metric and imperial.
(But just because I CAN doesn't mean I will)
posted by Acari at 9:37 AM on June 3


My workshop is a slightly less perfect version of the one in the video, although luckily I managed to squeeze a 14x10 shed into the space I have, so there's a tad more room, and less waiting about for a dry day. I can relate to having to wheel tools out to the doorway, though, and I'm no stranger to unusual ceiling-mounted storage solutions.

My gripe with these sorts of workshop, though, is that you kind of need to know exactly what tools you're going to want to use for the next 5 years, as rearranging things to squeeze something new in isn't an easy option. Plus, you really do need a second shed where you can store all the crap you would have stored in the first shed if it weren't your carefully arranged mini workshop.
posted by pipeski at 9:50 AM on June 3 [5 favorites]


[I stand and look around my messy garage, bits of tooling and stock everywhere, 2000 pounds of plywood...]

Well, obviously I am a terrible, terrible person.
posted by aramaic at 9:57 AM on June 3 [10 favorites]


I mean, this is incredible, but the organization is so impeccable that I have a weird urge to shake the whole shed like a little earthquake.
posted by gwint at 9:59 AM on June 3 [5 favorites]


Well, this makes me feel less ridiculous for insisting on a 2 foot-deep shelf mounted 8 inches from my studio ceiling.
posted by the_blizz at 9:59 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


obviously I am a terrible, terrible person.

These are the Bodhisattvas that have returned to gently, quietly show us the way.
posted by bonehead at 10:05 AM on June 3 [3 favorites]


My professional work area has always been immaculate, since it's shared with other people. My garage at home has always been a disaster, since it's just me.

I've recently made the commitment to treat myself as well as I treat my co-workers: I bought professional storage shelves, and it's made an amazing difference. Next is French cleats, so this is a fantastic video, thanks!
posted by cowcowgrasstree at 10:26 AM on June 3


This is good.
posted by Horkus at 10:27 AM on June 3


I watched the whole thing with delight, my mouth hanging open in amazement at the neatness and organization.

In another timeline, I am this organized and careful. Not this timeline though, alas.
posted by Archer25 at 10:43 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


I watched that until I saw that he has organised his spanners (wrenches) purely by size order and not splitting them metric and imperial THEN size.

Well, his method doesn't require him to have multiple spaces for wrenches that are essentially duplicates, like 7/16" and 11 mm, or 1/2" and 13 mm. There are others.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:59 AM on June 3


I love it.

I try to keep a similar philosophy in my (somewhat larger, but still not that large) workshop. I use mostly pegboard but the idea is the same... keep everything you need within sight, so you can always find the right tool without having to dig around for it or move something out of the way. I keep a few things in single-layer drawers and one or two "I hardly use these tools ever so it's ok if they're buried" all-purpose drawers.

My trouble is, unlike him, I never put anything back when I'm done with it so my benches and any flat surface are constantly covered with shit. Once every couple of weeks I'll spend an hour putting things back.

Also, there's always the miscellaneous things that I don't know where to put so they just end up in an ever-growing pile on my bench.

I also did something recently that no woodworker likes to do: I made my shop smaller. I had to finish off part of the basement, which took a bit away from my workshop. I had to tear everything down, all my benches and pegboard, move and rearrange everything. It seemed like un insurmountable job and it was for a bit, but eventually I tackled it and I think I like my shop better now. There's a better flow and less wasted space.

One thing about a shop like this guy's is that the shop becomes the project. I wonder how much time he's spent building all those tool caddies. That sort of thing is fun, and one of the things I really like doing, but it takes time and sometimes it feels like you're spending all your time working on the shop and not actually building things in the shop.

I could watch shop tours like this for hours.
posted by bondcliff at 10:59 AM on June 3 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty good about having a place for my tools and putting them away when done using them. What makes a mess of my shop is the materials and random parts that I don't have a comprehensive system for storing. That, and the half-finished projects ...
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:04 AM on June 3


My workshop is a little larger than his, but not by much. I'm in the process of redesigning and reorganizing it now, and went with French cleats, too. I'm not done building all my tool holders, but I'm already shocked at how much I can organize, and how visible it all is, compared with what I had before.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 11:08 AM on June 3 [4 favorites]


it takes time and sometimes it feels like you're spending all your time working on the shop and not actually building things

There is a related problem, which I suffer from: spending all of your time building specialized tools to make a part, such that you greatly delay making the part itself. In some cases, making a tool in order to then make a different tool, which would then be used to make the actual part.

...3d printers and laser cutters are especially prone to be used in this way. Once you get them, you find yourself endlessly making weirdo jigs, specialized centering devices, highly-custom workholding, etc. etc. etc. and in the end you're drowning in widgetry that was super-useful that one time but which cannot be used for anything else because you designed it that way.
posted by aramaic at 11:09 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Counterpoint: If there is any way you can possibly make a jig for something it is almost always worth the time to do it.
posted by aubilenon at 11:26 AM on June 3 [5 favorites]


I saw this a few months ago and it is an impressive feat squeezing that much into such a small space. I used to do woodworking in a closet in my apartment which truly limited tool storage and the size of projects. Now that I have more space (a bit more than this fellow, but with far fewer tools) I have prioritized always having sharpening tools close at hand, ideally out and ready to use. It would drive me nuts digging out those stones or the grinder, and the risk is you'd put it off too long and end up hurting yourself or damaging your work.
posted by St. Oops at 11:50 AM on June 3


I am agog with delight. I wonder if he always had an extra dollop of the get-it-out-and-put-it-away that so many of us don’t have quite enough of, or if he learned it, and if the cases make it easier.

Fine Woodworking had a special issue on shop organization last time I saw a physical magazine rack, most of them are bigger than this but lovely all the same.
posted by clew at 12:00 PM on June 3 [3 favorites]


OMFG. I was literally staring at my garage this weekend and thinking about how I wanted to put in some organization. One of the big concerns I had was I'm slowly building up my tool arsenal, and don't know exactly where I end up as I go down the DIY/home-ownership rabbit-hole.

I have a big concrete wall which is just dying for putting some french cleat panels up. I love the look of that and the flexibility to move things around from project to project.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 12:33 PM on June 3 [2 favorites]


OMG. The detail. The gentle pace. The accent. The stop-motion animation. It's almost perfect, except -- where's Gromit? Where's Gromit at? WHERE THE FUCK IS GROMIT?
posted by maudlin at 1:04 PM on June 3 [9 favorites]


Well, his method doesn't require him to have multiple spaces for wrenches that are essentially duplicates, like 7/16" and 11 mm, or 1/2" and 13 mm. There are others.

They are only duplicates if you are using shitty fasteners and/or don't care about screwing them up. 11/16" and 17 are the closest but even then you can screw up some aluminium fittings with a 17mm. If you are using decent quality fasteners and fittings, there are no duplicates.
posted by Brockles at 1:50 PM on June 3 [3 favorites]


He's also likely to have far fewer barbarian spanners than metric, 'cos he's in the UK. It was a delight to go into a hardware store in Scotland and see all the fasteners and tools were proper.
posted by scruss at 2:14 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


We spray paint the handles of the SAE sets green. Works for us.
posted by bonehead at 3:24 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


This is a woodworker that wishes he was a machinist.

Also, he’s sacrificed quite a bit of efficiency for visibility in his tool storage. I’ve got a bucket organizer for my smaller hand tools that would take two of his walls to get the same capacity. Granted, if YOU wanted to find a particular tool, it would take a while, but for me it’s pretty much instantaneous.

Still a fun and relaxing tour, and those caddies are great.

Jigs!
posted by skyscraper at 3:34 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


I can appreciate this but still it makes my skin crawl like a claustrophobic fever dream. I have been a habitue of ersatz work spaces my whole life and I have always hated it. I am so tired of not enough room, of having to set up and take down, of NO ROOM FOR MATERIALS. I want a 10,000 SF shop with 14 foot ceilings and a bag house. I want my tools in steel drawers and tall cabinets on casters, I want 3-Phase, air and vacuum lines. I want space to set up more than one project, hell I want space to set up more than one operation on ONE project. I want a dumpster. I want a spray booth.
posted by Pembquist at 3:39 PM on June 3 [5 favorites]


If you want to watch someone who really makes effective use of a modest workshop space, and you also enjoy accents, I'd recommend spending time with Marius Hornberger. You'd probably describe him (like Matthias Wandel and a few others) as a Wood Engineer, as he's clever with jigs and home-made tools and solving life's problems via the media of wood, machinery and measurement.
posted by pipeski at 3:50 PM on June 3 [3 favorites]


They are only duplicates if you are using shitty fasteners and/or don't care about screwing them up.

We'll just have to disagree. The differences are a couple of thousandths of an inch, and even the best tools aren't made to those tolerances. I have never, ever had a problem using an 11 mm wrench on a 1/4-inch bolt.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:01 PM on June 3


Oh, how I would love a workshop of my own. Somewhere between this and Colin Furze's shop. I mean, I'd like a 40x60' shop but, realistically, I don't think I'll ever be able to pull that off.
posted by flyingfox at 5:03 PM on June 3


It's bigger on the inside!

What a wonderful, compact and organized shop. You can tell that he loved designing this thing. At first I thought he was a hand tool guy but then I spotted the bandsaw in the corner. And the first aid station. Then he shows the wall of power tools. I laughed when he pulled out the table saw, I did not see that coming. And then he kept it up, he's got one of everything in there. It's like a set of Russian nesting dolls. He obviously spent a ton of time thinking about this, that little swing arm to move his dust collector to the lathe is wonderful. He's probably not making a lot of dining room tables in there, but he has a space that works for the work that he does. I like it, great post!
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:23 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Lovely.

The only thing I would have liked added is a wide angle establishing shot or a pan around the entire inside to get the full effect of the whole internal layout.
posted by fairmettle at 3:48 AM on June 4


this was delightful and amazing!
posted by rebent at 4:31 AM on June 4


I appreciate that the tools are mostly arranged one deep and the system of organization is maintainable.
posted by Kikkoman at 5:38 AM on June 4


What the shed looked originally adds quite a bit to the story as well. It was submitted for Shed of the Year. Submission has the before photos....

Also why do I get the feeling we'll find out he did a tour on submarines, or something like that, and 8x6 is a luxury compared to the 5x4 workspace he was used to....
posted by inflatablekiwi at 9:56 AM on June 4 [1 favorite]


>>Well, his method doesn't require him to have multiple spaces for wrenches that are essentially duplicates, like 7/16" and 11 mm, or 1/2" and 13 mm. There are others. - Kirth Gerson

>They are only duplicates if you are using shitty fasteners and/or don't care about screwing them up. 11/16" and 17 are the closest but even then you can screw up some aluminium fittings with a 17mm. If you are using decent quality fasteners and fittings, there are no duplicates. - Brockles


This is a bit off-topic, but these remarks upthread have triggered me.

Back when the world was young, my gf bought a new '75 Cvic, and I offered to change the oil for her.
This was basically the first metric car we had seen in our circles, and I was flummoxed by the 17mm drain bolt.
I asked my father THE MASTER TOOLMAKER - and he assured me that an 11/16ths would be fine.

(After all, 17mm = 0.669", 11/16" = 0.688".)

So I confidently put one of father's mid-century sockets on the drain bolt - and with a single tug the harder steel COMPLETELY, TOTALLY rounded the softer Japanese steel. Just ate it alive. On the car of someone whom I urgently wanted to impress.

Instead of a 15-minute oil change, I then spent much of the day buying the replacement bolt, a new METRIC wrench, getting the munged bolt off, etc., etc....
(When I reported this back to my father, he just laughed wryly....)

In conclusion, (sorry, Kirth Gerson...), I no longer believe ANYBODY if they try to tell me that 11/16" = 17mm.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 7:22 PM on June 4 [2 favorites]


Well, Bob, there were two things going on with that oil drain plug. 1. Your dad's old wrench was likely worn to be larger than it used to be. As your calculations show, the 11/16ths wrench should have been tighter than the metric one, and thus less likely to round the bolt. 2. When I worked at a bike shop in the '70s, we sold tons of replacement oil-filter bolts for Honda 750s. See, Honda installed the things really tight, so you had to use an impact wrench to break them loose. When owners tried to do the first oil change, the bolt always rounded off. It's likely that Civic drain plug had the same problem.

Bottom line: that bolt was going to round off even if you used a 17mm.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:05 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]


Amazed and impressed. At the same time I would go insane in there. My number one need for a work space is a big a work table as possible, accessible from all sides. My main work surface in my barn is almost as big as that shed (4'x6'). I'm working on building a counter height table for the center of my kitchen (replacing a table height table) right now.
posted by thefool at 6:02 AM on June 5


We'll just have to disagree. The differences are a couple of thousandths of an inch, and even the best tools aren't made to those tolerances. I have never, ever had a problem using an 11 mm wrench on a 1/4-inch bolt.

It's not a matter of disagreeing, but a difference in experience. Use aviation fasteners and aluminium Aeroquip style fittings at length and the metric equivalents will damage and round them off or plain not fit. For instance, Brake bleed nipples of higher quality mean an 11mm is useless if they are SAE (they won't go on) and the metric ones get destroyed very quickly using a 7/16 wrench that is 6% bigger. AN lock nuts get rounded very quickly and spanners slip off if you use the wrong ones. I can tell at a glance if a team has not realised the machined ride height adjusters on a car are 19mm, because it's obvious they have been butchering it using a 19mm spanner. An 11/16" spanner fits perfectly on a quality -6 aluminium fuel fitting, but a 17mm won't even go on it. There is a reason there is a right tool for the job, and if you haven't worked in that environment you likely haven't experienced that, but it is not a 'matter of opinion'. Fittings do get made to those kinds of tolerances, just maybe not with the stuff you work with.
posted by Brockles at 8:21 AM on June 5


Incidentally, the kinds of damage are similar if people are using cheap tools. They don't need to be expensive, per se, but there is definitely more issues with using poor quality control stuff. I miss the days of Snap On being quality tooling. Now it's more hit and miss finding stuff that isn't problematic.
posted by Brockles at 8:22 AM on June 5


...the metric ones get destroyed very quickly using a 7/16 wrench that is 6% bigger.

Where do you get that information? Last night, I went out to the garage, got out my calipers, and measured some wrenches. My 11mm and 7/16" measured the same, within a thousandth, by my Mitutoyo calipers. As I said, wrenches are not made to very tight tolerances. According to Machinery's Handbook, a 7/16ths wrench is to be between 0.440" and 0.446", while the hex on a 1/4-inch nut is 0.428 to 0.438". It doesn't have data for metric tools, and all the ISO standards are paywalled. Even if you go by the numbers, 7/16ths is 0.4375", while 11mm is 0.433". That's not a 6% difference, it's just about 1%.

You have my sympathy for having to work with aluminum hardware, it sounds like a nightmare.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:31 PM on June 5


Ah, I got mixed up between your mentioning a 1/4" bolt earlier and then had in my head a 6mm wrench as the nearest equivalent to a 1/4 that never works. That's a much bigger difference. A 1/4 bolt does have 7/16" head but I got distracted. The rest of it stands, though.

But the (steel) bleed nipples on high end brake calipers are very precise, and can easily be buggered by using the wrong size on them. Also, the AN lock nuts and stuff are steel, just aviation grade and quite soft (higher tensile strength though) so they are more prone to rounding by using the wrong tools. They are the lock nuts on rod ends and Heim joints.
posted by Brockles at 3:00 PM on June 5


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