Show Us Your Shop!
by Tom Skarda
Building a new shop was a dream come true for me. I had just moved to the country after years and
years in Atlanta. In fact, having a shop was a prime reason for the move — that along with a
divorce. I started by shopping around truss manufacturers to see what they had for excess stock.
What I found would determine the size of my new shop. I found 25 "room trusses," used for bonus
rooms over garages, etc. Mine were 40 feet wide, perfect for my shop with the bonus of an attic
upstairs. I used posts and beams to rest the trusses on, then leveled the ground and poured a slab
between the posts. I found a good source for cypress nearby.
We had it sheathed in cypress, and I then added plenty of outlets and lights, although lights are
rarely used in the daytime because of the acrylic skylights in the steel roof. I put 4 six foot by
nine foot doors and a band of clear acrylic to add even more light. The workbench is 30 feet
long and I use a rolling table for a lot of glue-ups. I have done construction all during my life
but never had a shop or done much furniture making until after my divorce, and then mostly to keep
what little sanity I had left. I'm mostly self taught but never shy away from a class. I make all
types of projects and like to use heart pine. I'm starting to turn a lot of bowls from green wood.
I forgot to add that I got tired of emptying bags of sawdust and chips so I followed the advice of
an old friend and started shooting the sawdust outside the shop wall. I give the sawdust to
neighbors for mulch and dog pens.
Tom can be reached via email at