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Hello Unplugged!

Got an email this morning saying this blog is now getting picked up on the Unplugged Shop blog aggregator (who specialise in blogs about hand tool woodworking). Since that might mean new people reading here, hello. You won’t find much professional woodwork stuff here, I’m a software engineer who just does this as a hobby. It may, however, make you feel better about your own workshop because yours is absolutely going to be bigger than mine (I know of woodworkers who have table saws with more space than my entire shed if you include their outfeed tables, and pretty much everyone who has a timber store has more room in there than I do in total). Here’s the wee shed:

That’s an eight foot by six foot potting shed at the bottom of the garden (seen here getting a new coat of paint last year hence all the plastic sheeting over the plants and the masking tape). It’s come a bit of a ways, it used to look like this:

And that’s after I lined the inside with OSB sheeting and painted that white; before it was unlined so you could see that its main structural elements were the 3×1 laths – I’m pretty sure these things had structural paint…

And it was also where all the gardening stuff was stashed (I’ve since moved that to a storage box outside). There’s a small decking area just outside the shed which has proven useful for some tasks like assembly and in-a-bag steambending:

But between the unused tumbledryer (don’t ask), and the workbench, there’s not a lot of room so I’ve had to do some organisation for tool storage inside or I wouldn’t be able to do anything:

And while most of what I do is hand-tool only (including prepwork and milling), I do have a few powertools that are useful for some tasks. Mostly, a circular saw used for rough-cutting the 12-16′ boards I buy from the timber yard down to 5′ boards I can fit in the car and in the shed; I’ll occasionally do smaller rough cuts with that as well, but the fine cuts are all hand saws. I do have a mitre saw that I’d like to use for the 5′-to-smaller rough cutting but I’ve no room to set it up so it’s been idle the last year or two. There’s a small 10″ bandsaw interloper that gets used for some rough ripcuts and resawing anything under 75mm:

And there’s also an oscillating bobbin/belt sander which gets used along with the bandsaw to make small bandsaw boxes to use up scraps of wood rather than throwing them in the bin (and that’s pretty much all it gets used for because I prefer planed finishes for other projects). We don’t have a wood fire or a firepit or any other way to get rid of shavings and sawdust and scraps other than the bin and since you pay for that by weight (welcome to Ireland), I prefer to use all the offcuts for bandsaw boxes if I can.

I do have a bit of an aversion to power tools but it’s more that I don’t like the noise and dust (and since I’m in a housing estate, the neighbours wouldn’t be great fans either) rather than not liking the results. And if I ever get a larger shed (or if I just give up on worrying about the neighbours), there will be a lunchbox thicknesser in the shed’s future for thicknessing (I don’t need a jointer, handplanes are better for jointing for my sort of thing, but thicknessing is a pain in the fundament even with a scrub plane that has so much camber it’s almost circular).

There are a few projects in the archives if you want a read – I built my workbench from scratch:

There was a sidecar cot for my niece:

A desk shelf for father’s day:

One of Richard Maguire’s side tables:

And most recently, a simple wall cupboard (again coming off a Richard Maguire build) with a perspex door:


Hope you enjoy the read!


  1. Welcome. I am glad you were picked up by the Unplugged feed. It looks like a nice cozy place to work/play/be creative. I work in about a 6 foot by 10 foot part of my garage. Though cozy, for hand tools I find it to be adequate. I’ve resisted the power tools for mostly the same reasons you have. I want the same ones you do for the same reasons. Luckily, I have found a few local places that for a fee will get things S4S for me and for now that seems to work. Looking forward to seeing your various projects.

  2. I’ve seen your name before (Stoch. Geom.) – maybe in comments of other blogs. Looking forward to seeing more of your work. And thanks for the small shop tour. We, who work in cramped spaces, really need to keep things organized so that we don’t go mad. Speaking of that, it’s time for me to get into the small shop (approx 10 x 10 feet).

  3. What a nice functional, well laid out set of hand tools. Truly form following function. Nice examples of your work, too. Looking forward to seeing more of your goings-on in the future. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Congratulations Mark! The Unplugged Shop is my breakfast time reading most weekday mornings.
    Thanks also for the shop tour- nice to see more pics of where it all goes on.

  5. I had seen your blog while you were building your workbench but failed to put it in my favorites, then didn’t find you anymore. I just have looked at your last year activity. You have been busy. Happy to find you in The Unplugged Shop which I look at every day.
    My working floor space is also about 2m X2m (including the 1.5 X 0.6 m workbench) but with some room to move longer boards at bench level.
    You might want to make a kind of safety valve for your dust collection bucket .
    Something like : http://lumberjocks.com/topics/47616

  6. Thanks Sylvain, funny you should mention that, I just bought a new (smaller) dust drum and was planning on doing exactly that to it.

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