My evolution through the world of furniture design and building has been slow, but steady. Or at least it has seemed slow to me, but at least steady.
Back when I still worked for other shops I struggled to realize my ideas. I had the sketchpad, I had the concepts of wood design, but I didn't have a shop in which to build furniture! My first step was to find a space that another person owned, and beg them to let me use it. After months of frustration I found a dying shop, with one last operator still hanging on to the 'made to order' furniture industry of the 1980's. This older gent was very nice to me, despite being fairly burnt out because of the grind against the oversea's 'furniture industry' that evolved out of the late 20th century. In his weathered British accent he directed my technical designs, calmed down my mid glue-up freakouts, and happily accepted the cash that I gave him to pay for my shoptime by the hour. That worked for a while, but I didn't even have a steady bench spot and I was still working 45hrs a week for someone else.
A few years later I moved into my wife's house to begin our lives together. It took me only a few months to start to convince my wife that I could build a modest shop in the basement of out Century home in Hamilton, Ontario. Seems like a good and romantic idea, but the 6'4" ceilings, 23" doorways and tiny basement windows had their challenges. But, I stubbornly built out the tiny 260 sq ft shop and proceeded to build much of the furniture you see on my website in that space. Wood down, furniture up, wood down, furniture up.....and so the cycle went until my whole basement (outside the shop) was filled with a fine level of dust. I was having daily freakouts from banging my back on machines and moving parts back and forth way to many times. I did love this shop because it let me build, but I knew I couldn't take it much longer, an that my business was pushing me beyond.
So I finally took he leap. I had been scoping out shops around the city and looking at budgets for months. I knew I was ready but I was nervous to go from a relatively 'free' home shop, to a commercial shop overhead. But when I found a perfectly sized space minutes from my house I knew it was time. After some negotiations with the landlord I finally moved in last month. The machines were heaved out of my basement (with an elaborate rope system), wood planks were ejected out the tiny basement windows and the 'Dust Factory' , as I called it, was dismantled.
The last few weeks have seen me setting up the new space: cleaning it out, painting the walls that could be painted, and building out all my tables and storage spaces. Its a work in progress and I'm learning a bit more everyday about machines, electrical supply and thousands of other minutia.
To tell you the truth, I'm happy as a pig in shit. The lighting is awesome, the space seems huge and it welcomes me everyday with a sweet smell of a wood shop. I've still got a long way to go, but at this point I can look back and see how far I've come. Life is beautiful when you plant seeds and watch them grow, and at this point my workspace is just starting to produce fruit!