Want to get back into woodworking, but need space. Help!

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billw

The Tattooed One
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Been a loooong while since I posted on here!

I'd spent a fair amount of money getting a workshop set up in my mum's garage. There's probably a ton of posts about it on here still, as it was only in 2021. Anyhow, my mum passed away a year ago and I had to sell her house. I live in an apartment and am perfectly happy where I am, but obviously I now have no space for anything woodworking related. My stuff is taking up a huge part of my spare room right now, which is becoming a bit of an issue.

So, I have to work out what to do. It's a hobby, although I had planned to turn it into some sort of money-making hobby by doing boxes and other small items that wouldn't take up a lot of space. I've boiled my options down to a very short list

1. sell everything and give up
2. rent a small unit within driving distance, and create a workshop
3. try to find a furniture maker in the region who might be able to rent me some space to store my tools and whatever whilst giving me access to some machinery (I have a hobbyist level planer, bandsaw, and thicknesser and a tracksaw and router).

I've also retired now, and I'm only 51 so really need to find something constructive to do with my time. I love working with wood and whilst I'm pretty rubbish, I have plenty of good years left in me to improve!

So, what should or could I do? I have asked around in some of the galleries that sell furniture to see if any of their suppliers are local enough to approach but have drawn a blank.

I'd love some ideas or inspiration, before I part ways with the array of tools I had so lovingly curated over a year or so.
 
Sorry for the loss of your mom-Ok so at 51 you definitely have many years ahead of you , retired too - do you have any other hobbies or interests? . Would I sell my tools -not a chance unless I’ve suddenly lost the use of my legs and arms ( I won’t say brain as I think I lost the use of this when I got with my x missus) I’d explore every option possible as long as you still have the interest and the will for making things ,then there is always a way . Friends , family etc may consider helping you . Renting a space or unit is likely to be expensive but how about a men’s shed or other woodworking group to help you out. At a push you could keep your hand tools and possibly donate the larger power tools if you can’t find anywhere. Best advice is not to make a quick decision and end up regretting it . Good luck .
 
I was in a similar position to yourself on the early retirement and not being very good at woodworking...... My garage was full of other stuff, so rented a unit locally to put all my new shiny tools in. It lasted a month before I realised I needed other people around me (even though I am not a particularly sociable person!). Luckily the lease had a get out clause, so was easy to get out of it. I just felt lonely and vulnerable should I have an accident.

I looked for local shared spaces to me (Bath) but couldn't find anything suitable, so rented a storage unit and put all the "other" stuff in there so I could set up the garage as a workshop.

Then came the winter causing problems with the cold and then condensation making my shiny things go rusty!

Now in the process of emptying everything out to get it insulated!

Good luck in whatever you decide is best for you.
 
See if you can find a secure garage to rent.
May need to discuss insurance, energy bills etc with the owner, and consider noise issues for the neighbours
 
Maybe specialise in something small and more hand tool based, I am thinking stuff like Kumiko patterns, carving, boxes, luthery or other instrument making, other miniature stuff.
A lot of things could be done in the aforementioned spare room if mostly human powered. Obviously you can`t really get away with running big machines in a flat, the odd bit of sanding etc, is probably acceptable if kept minimal. Lathes are pretty quiet..

Ollie
 
You could consider apartment style woodworking.

Think about hand carving.
Chip carving.
Maybe hand tool work only on a custom mini bench. Like kumiko.

You have more options than you think.

But most of all, you have the most valuable tool of all - Time
 
Renting is expensive and a big commitment. But if you do I'd recommend renting in an industrial estate of some sort where you will have neighbours - good for security, sociability and might even be helpful with other woodworkers nearby etc.
Converted mills with small units can be good.
 
I was in a similar position, along with tools becoming too noisy for the neighbours, so like ScaredyCat mentioned I found my barn for rent on a farm a few miles from home. Never looked back, love it and have all the freedom I need plus twice as much space as I had.
 
Look for your local "Men's Shed". They might be suitable for you to join.
There are many in the general Birmingham area. Every one is different depending on facilities and membership so try a few within your reach. My local ( too far from you) has a lot of woodworking equipment and skilled members so we make anything from park benches to turned pens.
Nigel
 
Thanks for the suggestions - I have found what looks like a perfect maker's space with woodworking machinery here in Birmingham which I will visit next week.
 
Let us know how it goes.

It's easy in the world of youtube woodworkers to think you must have every tool under the sun or you can't do any woodworking but that's bs.

Like many people have already stated, there are so many options for you that you could still do at home. Wood carving, hand tool woodworking, even just using hand power tools without bench tools. For the majority of my woodworking years I mainly used hand power tools and only recently got into bench tools.

Don't give up on it completely. Something is better than nothing.

If you have any friends also interested in woodworking you could look into sharing the costs with them for a rented space so it wouldn't be as costly.

Good luck!
 
Sorry about your mum.
Ive got a good idea for you.....
Start phoning around local joinery shops. Offer your time, helping them, in exchange for experience and if possible, space to store your kit.....

You both gain pretty big and some part time work might be paid?
 
Hi all

So I appear to have solved my problems! I went to visit a makerspace called Fizzpop which is right in the center of Birmingham, about 10 mins drive from my home. They've got a dedicated woodworking room and I have offered to donate my machinery if needed as it is a community-based initiative that runs on donations and member subscriptions.

I'll be able to store some of my tools in a locker, and will simply take any others that I need ad-hoc with me and otherwise store them at home. This relieves me of a lot of storage issues!

As well as having some workspace, I am hoping that it will give me some encouragement being around other people with similar hobbies and as I have plenty of time on my hands in retirement I can offer help to others and maybe run some basic courses or other volunteering work to help out.

Anyhow, it will take me a little time to get settled in but it does look like I've solved the problem.
 
Hi all

So I appear to have solved my problems! I went to visit a makerspace called Fizzpop which is right in the center of Birmingham, about 10 mins drive from my home. They've got a dedicated woodworking room and I have offered to donate my machinery if needed as it is a community-based initiative that runs on donations and member subscriptions.

I'll be able to store some of my tools in a locker, and will simply take any others that I need ad-hoc with me and otherwise store them at home. This relieves me of a lot of storage issues!

As well as having some workspace, I am hoping that it will give me some encouragement being around other people with similar hobbies and as I have plenty of time on my hands in retirement I can offer help to others and maybe run some basic courses or other volunteering work to help out.

Anyhow, it will take me a little time to get settled in but it does look like I've solved the problem.
What I will say, is try and steer clear of the politics that sometimes happens in a place like these. There is usually one self appointed person who simply 'must' be obeyed
 
What I will say, is try and steer clear of the politics that sometimes happens in a place like these. There is usually one self appointed person who simply 'must' be obeyed
That's me!

No I usually say do what you want!!
 
What I will say, is try and steer clear of the politics that sometimes happens in a place like these. There is usually one self appointed person who simply 'must' be obeyed

If there is one thing I learned from my working life it's that interaction with some people is best minimised!
 
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