Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Outdoor Workshop

Working with the lathe on a beautiful sunny day.
 Is it possible to have an outdoor workshop when you live in an apartment?

When I lived in Colorado, I had a 1-car garage to do my woodworking in. I complained often about how small it was. If I only knew...

When I moved back to California, and got an apartment, a garage shop wasn't an option. I couldn't afford an apartment big enough to devote a bedroom to woodworking, and certainly couldn't afford another house here in So Cal. However, my apartment does have a fenced in front "yard".

The "yard" as seen from my front door.

I figured there had to be a way to make this work for me. So I bought a bunch of redwood 2x4's and some stainless screws (see previous post for the screws) and went to work. I couldn't bring my nice big table saw from Colorado, so I bought a cheap portable saw from Harbor Freight. It had to be light enough for me to take into the apartment when I was done using it. This saw started the process of building this bench:

Cheap saw works ok. Miter gauge sucks, and it has non-standard slots.

My very first post was about building a workbench. I used a similar concept, but put the cross pieces inside the legs instead of outside. Made it more compact and used less wood.

Basically, it was a glue and screw construction. I used redwood and stainless screws because I intend this to be outside in the weather. I used a waterproof wood glue as well.

It's solid enough to support my not so svelte self standing on it. I'm sure it'll support any tool I throw at it.

I still haven't come up with a top. I'd love to find a scrap of granite countertop. I don't think Corian would survive being out in the sun and weather, and even "outdoor" plywood will warp pretty quick. In the meantime, I just stuck some redwood scraps across the top so it'll be useful until I find something. And bored a hole to put up an umbrella.

Clamping a butcher block top. The table saw is underneath wearing a sheet for protection. It goes in the house at night.

I currently use it with my lathe, table saw, Craftsman 10" bandsaw, Hitachi 10" miter saw, and so on. It's also handy for any projects my daughter may take on, like this roller coaster Halloween costume.


Managing the big tools in the house isn't too bad. The bigger issue is all  the supplies and small tools. There's nothing pretty in there, so no pics yet. I still need to figure it all out.

However, I wanted to show that it *IS* possible to have a workshop outside.

No comments: