Yes I Have Machines
You heard me right...I have machines. I have them because I can but by no means do I 'need' them. When I worked in a tiny Harry Potter-style shop under the basement stairs of a modest town home, I didn't have any machines. At a grand total of 40 sq ft, I barely had room for me let alone any machines so the work got done by hand or at a woodworking club I was a member of.
Now I have 170 sq ft so I have the room for a few machines. I have a band saw, thickness planer and a drill press. I also have a lathe but I'm not much of a turner so it doesn't get used all that often. I got it for a good deal that I couldn't pass up. My machines are like my apprentices - they do the scut work like thicknessing, ripping and dimensioning. I know how to do these tasks (because I was an apprentice once too) but I enjoy the cutting of joinery and smoothing of surfaces more than I enjoy thicknessing a board my hand.
I don't have a power jointer so one face and one edge are done by hand. I had a jointer but it was only eight inches across making it useless for flatting larger boards. It only takes a minute or two to flatten a face then use that face as a reference for the thickness planer.
When I wrote the book The Minimalist Woodworker, I had all those would-be woodworkers who had small spaces in mind. People would tell me that they couldn't woodwork because they had minimal space, couldn't make noise or couldn't make dust. My answer to them was that you can woodwork, you just can't do it with machines or loud power tools.
This spring I will be moving with my family into a new home that we are currently having built. That house will have a 480 sq ft shop in the basement - almost three-times the size I have now. It will be nice to stretch out a bit and maybe make a couple more benches for job-specific tasks. I will not be buying a table saw or jointer despite having the room. I will keep you posted on what will be making it into the new space and why I made those decisions in upcoming blogs.
I do however take comfort in the fact that I can woodwork indoors or out and in almost any size space. I can't imagine not woodworking and thankfully I won't have to.
In order to understand, you must do. - V