Letter from a Reader
Dear Wood News,
I am a 73-year-old retired businessman who has worked with wood off and on since high school shop.
In the 1970s, I worked as a carpenter/cabinetmaker when between Wall Street jobs. (The local Greenwich
Village craftsmen used to root for a bad market so I'd be available.) These days I'm in a newly
purchased two bedroom condo in NJ. My shop is in my bedroom. (My wife has the other one as at our
ages we have very different sleeping schedules — she being a morning person and me a night owl.)
Unfortunately I found myself in the hospital two days after we moved in — and a week later left the
hospital with one less leg than when I'd entered it. Over the last six months I've set up my "bedroom shop"
in an efficient way, despite doing it on one leg. In the 15' x 15' bedroom I have a full
woodworker's bench (5' long), a 10" drill press, a Delta midi lathe, a 10" bandsaw, a Jet wet
grinder (the Tormek clone), and a "contractor's" (lightweight) 10" table saw — all mounted. The
dust collection is a rolling portable 800 CFM unit with converters for each machine's individual ports.
I floored the machine area with $5 2' x 4' "attic flooring" panels from Home Depot (pre-tongue and
grooved). That area is a triangle from the entry door (in one corner of the room) to a point on the
90 degree wall that leaves me room for my bed and bedside table. Of the 225 sq. ft. of the room, I'd
guess the shop takes up about 100 (it is less than half). By mounting the bandsaw and drill press
on two wheeled bases (I can pull them out by simply lifting the fixed end, easy enough even on my
new prosthetic leg), and using a contractor-type table saw, I can set up each tool for a job in a
matter of minutes. The rest of the room is my bedroom, desk, bookshelves, etc — those things normal
people would use.
I could write an article on this and photograph the shop. I've also found which tools I really need. I gave up my
table router in favor of a small Trend hand router. I gave up on the idea of a planer or jointer in
favor of some good hand planes (a lot of work, but it is enjoyable work — there is nothing like the
feel of a well sharpened hand plane).
Is this of interest to you?
Jonathan W. Murphy
We wrote Jon back and will be publishing his article in an upcoming issue of Wood News. We welcome readers' suggestions