I’ve been thinking about nomenclature. I’ve been thinking about what I call the area where I do my woodworking thing (or at least where all of the tools and equipment live when I am busy surfing the internet or playing Wii Fit and complaining about having no time to do any woodworking.)
Some people call those tool filled places their “SHOP.” However, that seems a little too generic for me because I have more than one shop in my life. All of the car stuff happens in my garage, but it is more of a combination garage/bicycle shop. I’ve said before that somewhere in between my Park Double Arm repair stand and Park TS-3 Master Truing Stand are enough tools to make 90% of the bicycle shops in
The non-bicycle part of the garage is pretty well set up for anything I need to do with cars. In the last ten years I have done engine swaps, clutch replacements, Air Locker installations, countless tune-ups, 30 or so brake jobs, 100 oil changes, water pump and radiator replacements, Axle replacements, ring and pinion set-ups, and on and on and on.
Before my wife and I moved to this house, most of the automotive stuff was done at my father-in-law’s shop. Long before I met him he ran a 2000 sq ft body shop behind his house, but he retired and closed his body shop before I ever came on the scene. So in the early days of my marriage, I would commandeer his shop for various automotive projects.
So now to differentiate between his shop, my bike shop, my garage shop, and the area of my plantation where I do welding and metal work, I always refer to my basement area as my WOOD SHOP. I say to Gail, “I’ll be downstairs in the Wood Shop. If the lazy dog should wake up, feel free to convince him to come keep me company.”
I am very happy with the Wood Shop in my basement. However, I will inevitably have to rename that space. Eventually my work will be good enough for me to call my wood shop a “Studio.” It’s a subtle little thing, but it is the key to being a wood artist. Adirondack Chairs are made in Wood Shops by woodworkers. Commissioned furniture projects are done in studios by two types of guys. To the uninitiated, woodshops and studios look a heck of a lot alike. They have identical equipment and tools. The difference between woodshops and studios is the guy doing the work and the deposit slips for his bank account. Today I came up with the official list of criteria required for a woodshop to be called a studio, and here it is:
1) If the woodworker went to art school then it is acceptable to call it a studio. Art School guys are different. A couple of years ago I was a Mechanical Engineer who worked with a bunch of Industrial Designers designing Office Furniture. It was my job to make sure the roll-formed steel and the drawer slides could support the required loads. It was the responsibility of the Industrial Designers to make sure the theme of the company was represented with a passionate design that made one think, “If I have to spend 10 hours a day in a cubicle, this is the work space I want.” Those left handed, beret-wearing guys were studio types.
2) If you are a woodworker who has ever made $1000 profit on a piece then you can call your woodshop a studio. The keyword here is profit. It’s more than selling cherry cabinets for $2000 when you have more than half of that total tied up in materials, overhead, labor, and burden. Woodshops produce items that either generate no income or can sometimes sell for as much as one half of the price of the lumber they use. However, studios are the setting where profitable wooden art projects are created.
Someday my basement woodshop will become my Studio. I am not able to go to art school, so criterion 1 will not happen. However, I have a plan for creating a 4 digit profit on a piece of furniture or a similar woodworking project. I’ll share that plan with you now.
Someday I am going to resaw a walnut plank and find that the bookmatched inner faces form a distinctive picture of Jesus. Then, I will put the resawn slabs on eBay, and send out a press release. Within 24 hours of FoxNews and Headline News doing bits on Jesus in the Walnut, my auction will have bids over $5000. And when the auction ends and the buyer’s PayPal clears, my basement woodshop with the resawing 18” bandsaw will forever be referred to as “My Studio.”
And I’ll get to show pictures to people and say things like, “here is a picture of my Studio. The Unisaw is in the middle, and on the left is my hand crafted maple workbench. If you look closely in the corner you can see my bandsaw where I created my most famous pieces, Jesus in the Walnut, as I was resawing stock one day…”