The Newness of the Workshop

As the Issue Four packing party is less than a week away, Mike and I have begun tidying up around the new shop in anticipation of our guests. We’ve constructed three massive worktables from pine boards, built and hung a temporary board-and-batten front door, installed the arched transom window on the second story gable overlooking the pond, and now we’re replacing the cloudy plastic over the rough window openings with clear vinyl (it’s nice to be able to see through the windows finally).


Although the door is temporary, it is a simplified version of our final design. This board-and-insulation sandwich is hanging on the antique strap hinges I’ve been saving for the shop’s front door. Mike even made an awesome wooden latch that operates from the inside by pulling a string. It’s nice to see what the door will essentially look like so that we can make a few tweaks to the design. I will be living with this door for the rest of my life – better make it just the way I want it.


Before quitting time on Friday, we transferred a van load of tools and benches into the new space. We slid my bench and tool chest to one wall and plopped a second box of tools on another bench. The sight of my tools in this shop feels surreal because I’ve dreamed of such a space for many years and began actively moving toward it over 5 years ago.


Before walking back home at the end of the day yesterday, I couldn’t resist making a least a few shavings to get a feel for working in this space. The newness of it all was startling. We get so used to our shops and their idiosyncrasies – the exact placement of each tool, the feeling of the floor under our feet, the way the sounds of saw and plane carry through the room, and the shifting of light through the windows at different times of the day (and year). There will be many new idiosyncrasies to embrace.

Working in this shop for the rest of my life is going to be incredible. It’s an honor to carry this craft forward within the hand-hewn framework of craftsmen gone on before me.

Issue Four is on a truck somewhere between Wisconsin and New England, with an expected delivery mid-week. In the meantime, Mike and I will continue to tidy up and make preparations for our guests. It’s going to be a full week.

- Joshua

P.S. Pre-orders for Issue Four close after Wednesday the 21st.


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