Here below we’re going to cover some tips on setting up and running an efficient and effective carpentry workshop. So if you are thinking of trying your hand at carpentry these tips will help you to set up your working space in such a way that will help your carpentry efforts run smoothly and give you satisfaction. Actually, these tips would apply to most types of workshop, not just carpentry, as they have been proven by craftsmen down through the ages.
Tidy As You Go
One of the most important rules for all workshops is to keep it tidy and well-organised. As in Victorian times when housekeeping was a serious art women would always tell their daughters that the first rule of a well-run house was to decide on a place for every item in the house and then to make sure that the item was always put back in that place after use – the same goes for your workshop!
Here’s a tip which is often overlooked: adjust your workbench to be the right height for you – as well as saving you back-pain it will help to make you work more efficiently.
Have several small containers or trays at hand to put screws or nails in when working. This is particularly good to do if you are taking something apart and want to make sure you don’t lose any of the small bits. Empty plastic butter containers or sawn-off plastic milk bottles will do nicely.
All shelving should be put up to bear twice the weight that you think initially you are going to use it for. When first setting up a workshop there is usually plenty of space but as time goes on and space becomes scarce most people keep stuffing more and more things onto shelves with the inevitable result of overloading that it comes crashing down.
Try to cultivate the habit for yourself of always tidying and cleaning the workshop at the end of a session. It can be soul-destroying to start work in a mess.
Always keep your tools clean and well-serviced so they in turn will give you good service.
Screwdrivers, especially Phillips screwdrivers, often tend to get a small buildup of oil and other ‘gunge’ on their chisel end. This stops them from engaging well in the head of screws resulting in burring or blunting the incisions on the head of the screw and/or distorting the tip of the screwdriver. Every so often place the screwdrivers in a small container of petrol (gas) for a few minutes and then brush them with a wire-brush they’ll clean up beautifully.
Read Instructions Carefully
When following an instruction manual or plan make sure you read it through before starting work. It can be very tempting to just skim through before getting to work but try to avoid doing this. For example, if it’s a manual to a new tool you can wreck the tool from the word ‘go’ by not following instructions properly – I know because I’ve done it… but as they say ‘Wisdom is built by making mistakes’. Likewise, if following a carpentry project plan make sure you double-check each step of the way as sawing the wrong bits of wood in half can end up expensive and time-consuming.
If your wood working project is to be installed outside make certain that all the necessary hardware is weather resistant.
When buying your wood make sure you buy it from a reputable supplier so you avoid problems later with warping and shrinkage. It’s well worth paying a little extra for decent quality timber.
For all your electrical tools make sure you check the cables and connections regularly. If there are any nics out of the plastic protective covering of the cable or loose wires in connections this can obviously be potentially dangerous. Also make sure that the fuses and wiring in any power points are large enough for the power tools you intend using.