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My "Postage-Stamp-Sized" Workshop!

Anne Briggs Bohnett
Seattle, WA

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My husband and I bought a small farm almost exactly a year ago today. A huge selling point was the 1000 sq foot outbuilding I was more than a little excited to outfit as my brand new woodworking shop. A few days into our move, however, we had several torrential downpours which revealed that not only was the roof in the outbuilding leaking significantly, the longterm water damage was going to force us to tear the whole building down and rebuild. So suddenly, I found myself without a shop. About that same time, I realized that if I were to do some *light* demo work in our laundry room, I could eek out enough room for my tool chests and two benches. Since I have access to big woodworking machinery at work and my main focus is on handtools anyway, I figured a handtool only shop would be way better than no shop at all. Plus, I could potentially get some major street cred from all the cool kids at the woodworking table by moving fully to handtools. So began my convert-our-laundry-room-into-a-handtool-workshop project; a project that, like so many other projects, ended up taking ten times longer than I ever expected. A few long months later, I finally got my cabinets hung and my workbenches placed. And it has been a blissful thing to have a shop again.

While I did love doing pirouettes all around my formerly giant shop, and I did enjoy the easy convenience of popping an oversized piece in my thickness planer, there is also much to be said about the ease, efficiency, and convenience of a truly tiny workshop. Every tool I need is either at arm's reach or within three steps. Because there isn't extra room, I had to get rid of a lot of extra tools. That has been a major blessing in disguise because not only did it free up some cash to upgrade some of my daily user handtools, I also now have less tools to keep sharp and rust-free. In rainy, humid Seattle, that is an awesome thing.

I also love that my new tiny shop is inside our house, which also means it's heated. Jammie and slipper woodworking have become one of my favorite things. I can listen to my husband Adam playing piano in the next room while I prep stock. Between putting loads of laundry in or while I'm waiting for my pasta to boil in the kitchen, I can pop in and cut a joint or sharpen a tool. Being right next to the laundry machines, my little shop also has a sink. The ridiculous mess I used to deal with while using my water stones is a thing of the past.

Moving into this space has forced me to keep my tools organized and my shop clean. And as it turns out, even with only around 140 square feet, I still have plenty of room to build big pieces. But the absolute best part? The giant south-facing window looks over our big pasture on the farm. All day while I'm working I can look out and see my alpacas, goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits and donkey frolicking in the sunshine. I'd take this tiny shop with it's priceless view over a warehouse of powertools any day of the week.

Anne Briggs Bohnett is a woodworker out of Seattle, Washington. She and her husband Adam own and operate a small farm aimed at teaching youngsters about animal husbandry, traditional woodwork, and it's also where their food comes from! Anne has been seriously pursuing woodwork with a focus on handtool use for three years and is passionate about the preservation of traditional methods and skills and building community.

Anne can be reached directly via email at and you can check out her website at .

Do you have a small woodworking shop too? Would you like for your shop to appear in our Show Us Your Shop column? We invite you to SEND US PHOTOS of your woodworking shop along with captions and a brief history and description of your woodworking. (Email photos at 800x600 resolution.) Receive a $50 store credit redeemable towards merchandise if we show your shop in a future issue.

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