BENCHES AND WORK AREAS IN SMALL SPACES

Last updated: 4 October 2019

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Working at my bench 4 October 2019


When I retired as an Industrial Engineer in 1989 I was sixty years old and still hale and hearty. We had bought a small Town Home in a retirement community with a Home Owner's Association that frowned on persistent loud noises (such as hammering, sawing, use of power tools, etc.) due to the close proximity of the houses to each other. I thought that my woodworking days were over and I resigned myself to just admiring and researching my collection of vintage woodworking hand tools that I loved so much (please visit my Representative tool box page to view most of that collection).

However I fretted at not doing any woodworking and so, in 2004, when I was seventy five years old, I decided to convert a very small (6ft x 4ft) storage room at the rear of our home into a woodworking shop replete with a home-made bench and an overhead tool storage bin/shelf. It had an electric light fixture, but no heating or air-conditioning. A very small space indeed bereft of creature comforts, but OK for making small wooden boxes and the like.

I was very considerate of my neighbors regarding noise - I didn't do any hammering (or use a mallet) or extensive wood sawing or use any power tools (and still don't) - and that was, and is, fine for me in my pursuits. I just love using old woodworking hand tools.

My woodworking activities came to a halt the next year however when I began to experience great difficulty walking due to severe edema and diabetic neuropathy in my lower legs and feet. I became very unsteady on my feet and experienced rotator cuff damage in both shoulders because of numerous falls. As a result, I started to rely on a walker that I now use all of the time (on Doctor's orders). I use a Rollator brand wheeled walker that incorporates a seat and vinyl carry bag. These walkers are sturdily made and feature dual positive lock brakes. I can now only stand for short periods and so I perform most of my activities seated.

So I gave up woodworking for several years but the itch never went away for sawdust is in my blood. Now I am back in my cozy little workshop every day - sharing the workspace with my beloved wife Beverly (we store some household items there). I installed an add-on end bench that serves my needs - making dovetail joints and small boxes using my depleted hand tool collection (I sold off many of my tools and gave numerous others to my sons-in-law and grandsons). I am now very contented making dovetail joints and small boxes in my little workshop.

Illustrations

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Newly installed (circa. 2004) work bench and overhead storage shelf/bin

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Later tool arrangement with back saw in jointer fixture

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Disston cross-cut saws hanging on adjacent wall

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Present day bench end addition (now primary work area) with tools
for making dovetail joints - wheeled walker in working position

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Present woodworking tools including diamond sharpening stone and guide

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Present layout and marking tools and fixtures for making dovetail joints


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