As I watch housing costs continue to skyrocket in many parts of the
country, I ask myself how does a woodworker find room for their
obsession..err, I mean their hobby.
Shops take up floor space...sometimes alot of it.
I would expect garage/storage/shop space are one of the first options
deleted when prices rise.
I would like to hear how woodworkers are coping with the high price of
Any hints or suggestions?
Cost of housing or the cost of construction?
The price of land is the price of land no matter if you build a shop or not.
With existing construction, the rise of real estate does not matter in that
you do not have the option of deleting a room or two in the structure to
save cost. You just look for a smaller house that you can afford. If it
has shop space, good, if not, you are SOL.
That leaves new construction. Comes down to affordability and the cost -
benefit ratio. Those that want and can afford a shop will have them. I
don't see Mercedes and Jaguar dealers worried yet. Chevy and Ford dealers
will feel some pinch as we all spend more of our income on heating and gas
for commuting. It has to affect Joe Sixpac when he has less to spend each
week after the bills are paid. My heating cost this coming winter will be
about $50 a month more. It has to come from someplace so it will come out
of our "fun money". My next car will probably be a little less than
otherwise for that reason, baring wage increases to offset it.
How do I cope? Lots of beer, getting my daily fix here in rec.woodworking
and dreaming of the day when I'll have a workshop again. Having lived in an
apartment for the past 16 years, the times I've been able to build something
have been few and far between.
Part of the problem is that for about 7-8 years during my early twenties, I
was spoiled by having the full use of a 600 square foot basement underneath
a store that was operated by a friend's mother. Since then, I've been
searching for my lost woodworking youth ever since.
Well, my basement and garage are my shop, so it's not much of an issue
for me personally- though it may be in some other housing markets.
I do have a suggestion- and it may only be viable idea for very few on
the list, but I firmly believe that it would be an excellent
investment for someone with a little extra land to put up a large pole
shed, subdivide it, provide 220V power and a centrallized compressor,
and then rent shop space to woodworkers (and gearheads, if the
woodworking market isn't strong enough) There are enough people who
wish they had the space for it take off very nicely. Obviously, the
cost of a monthly rental would have to be a little higher than
something like a mini-storage unit, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to
pepper something like that with security cameras, but it could be done
with a fairly modest initial investment, and it would have a lot of
selling points for many people who already have shops- to wit:
-It would provide 220v power and air without amateur electrician work
-The noise could be isolated to an industrial or semi-rural area, and
could not bother family/neighbors
-It would be much easier to unload large machinery off trucks with a
loading dock (especially if the proprietor rented forklift time or
services, or even just provided a pallet jack)
-It could provide a centralized location for local woodworkers to meet
and swap services or materials.
-A large dumpster could be included as part of the rent.
It seems like a good idea to me- the only real problems I can see with
it are that people could damage the building accidently (though a pole
shed is cheap and easily repaired) and that some jerk might get the
clever idea of cutting through a wall to get at someone else's tools-
though they'd have to be rather dim to do that, as the hole would have
to be from their own unit.
I doubt it'd be a way to get rich, but it could make a tidy little
side income for a careful landlord- while providing a useful service
for those who are stuck in rental properties for one reason or
It's been my experience, (I'm OLD and spent about 20 years selling homes), that
it's mainly the 1st time buyers that have a space problem.. most folks buying
their "next" home usually are moving up in neighborhood, square footage, amount
of rooms/space, etc...
In my case, after having a shop prior to the last divorce or 2, I have finally
been able to set up a shop in a "mostly mine" 2 car garage.. and we're building
a house in Baja that will include a huge room for the shop..
If you own real estate, inflation is your friend...
Please remove splinters before emailing
I moved out of the city due to the high cost of homes and land (even
in BAD areas) 85,000 would get you a run down fix-er-upper in a gang
I ended up buying 15 acres 54 miles away for 20,000 and stuck a double
wide on it. (I realize its still a mobile home) I hope to build a nice
house on the lot one day and a nice 150ft x 200ft shop (I'm joking but
I can dream right??)
One well overlooked possibility is to go to the local airport and rent
a hanger. Many hanger spaces are approx 32x 26. A good size shop
usually with electric. The cost can be night and day depending on
location but you should estimate 250-350 a month. Although this is
seems to be a good chunk of change, the dollar per square ft is great
compared to shop prices. Combine this with sharing with a friend and
you just cut the cost in half.
Can I assume you are talking about new home buyers? I've been in my house
for a number or years and the value has more than quadrupled. If it
quadrupled again tomorrow, my shop will still be in the same place at the
On Sat, 20 Aug 2005 11:09:29 -0700, Too_Many_Tools wrote:
I for one am coping by living in a two-room apartment and making do with
using the smaller room as a workshop. In this 10'x'12 room + 4'x4' I have
crammed my workbench along one wall, my computer desk along the other and
split the closet between storing woodworking tools/supplies, storing my
homebrew gear (another hobby that is an interesting challenge for
apartment dwellers) and serving as a working network closet for my
homenetwork with a router, couple switches, some servers and a laser
printer all competing for space. Plus all my extra geek gear too.
In the work room itself I've laid down a sheet of indoor/outdoor carpet to
protect the carpet underneath. I keep the center completely open as a
general rule and occasionally have my workmate setup for sawing etc... My
bench, sadly, isn't just for woodworking, as it's the only good work
surface I have. So I use it for restoring rotary phones, fixing computers,
filling kerosene lamps, soldering/electrical work etc... when I don't have
a wood project going on.
Also because I'm crammed into an apartment noise and dust are big issues,
so I'm forced to use mainly handtools, with the exception
of a power drill and a dremel. So I cope and get to play at being a
woodworker until I can afford a house that can support a proper shop.
As to how well this works, well that's hard to say as I'm only just now
finishing -literally, I'm starting the finish tonight- my first major
project (a coffee table.) But since it has come out pretty darn good, at
least by my standards (it doesn't wobble and there are no visible gaps in
the joinery) I'd say this arrangement works pretty well for me.
Anyway that's my two cents on the subject, as new woodworker who's cramped
for shop space.
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