Woodworking Talk banner

1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Long time reader, first time poster.

I've been tinkering in the basement since I was a kid, and in the past few years have developed a (relatively) decent set of skills when it comes to woodworking. Access to a table saw and plenty of hand tools certainly helped with that. Adding a drill press and planer also helped. However, I just moved into a small apartment with my fiancee, and still have the bug to work. Aside from relief carving, which I dabble in already, is there any kind of woodworking I can do primarily with hand tools, and in a limited space, working off of a dining room table? I like the look of Japanese joinery, and I feel like that could work, considering the joinery is more meticulous and exacting. Any thoughts or input would be greatly appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,874 Posts
Will the fiancee let you attach a vise and add some holdfasts to the table?:laughing:

One thing you might consider is making a Moxon vise. Use a couple of clamps to hold it to the top of the table (along with something to protect the top) and you are good to go.

Lots of different plans for the vise on the web as well as some who sell them already made.
 

·
where's my table saw?
Joined
·
28,598 Posts
Japanese is a good plan

This video was posted just recently. It shows the "magic" of hand tool joinery and planing techniques. If you keep your projects smaller in scale, you can probably to quite well. Smaller chests ,jewelry boxes, stools even chairs would be possible.
Here's the rub however, you would need a large closet, small office room or other dedicated space to stay in the good graces of the fiancee. Dust and chips don't mix well with satin sheets and fine linen....just sayin' :no:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NOb-EF2TeU
 
  • Like
Reactions: Muhheakantuck

·
Wood Snob
Joined
·
5,963 Posts
I have two homes and neither have anymore tools in them other than a screw driver and tac hammer. They are modest in size and soon we will be down to one and an apartment. Except for when I was younger I have always had a shop away from home. It has many benefits and really doesn't cost much.

On the other hand, Japanese joinery would be great. And if I liked the type of items they were good for. That's what I would do. I love their style of tools and haven't pushed a hand saw for 25 years or so. Not even in a hack saw. nothing compares to their steel and hand planes.

Go for it. But your probably going to have to do your sanding outside. :)

Al

Nails only hold themselves.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
You could try wood carving. I spent quite a few nights after dinner, carving at the dining room table. I found it relaxing after doing woodworking all day in the shop.
Last Christmas I received some carving tools from the future in-laws, so I may have to pull them back out and try some spoons.

I'll have to look into the Moxon vise as well, it looks perfect for the smaller work I'd be able to do.

Thanks for the quick responses!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26,889 Posts
When I lived in an apartment I got a two bedroom apartment so I could turn one bedroom into a shop. I took up the carpet to keep from damaging it and set up a work bench for carving. It wasn't long before I started needing a mallet from time to time and the neighbors didn't take to that very well. I finally had to get a mini-warehouse to work in because of the noise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
205 Posts
Other than space I am guessing noise would be an issue too.

If you have the money to invest in a good scroll saw it could be a possibility. I had a craftsman scroll saw and it was single speed and noisy. Now I have an RBI Hawk with variable speed and foot control. It's so quiet I could operate it in one room and not disturb someone watching TV in the next if I wanted to. When I see examples of the awesome things that can be made on a scroll saw I realize I don't use mine enough.

Another power tool that is small and generally don't make a lot of noise is a Dremel. Folks do all sorts of crafty things with those.

A small drill press is fairly quiet and be fitted with sanding drums.

A wood burning kit is small and doesn't make any noise.

Hobby stores sell many unfinished wooden things from birdhouses to jewelry boxes and anything in between. You could become an expert finisher before you move again to a bigger place.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,400 Posts
Like Cabinetman said... welcome.

Apartment woodworking can be a challenge to say the least... but it can be done with the realistic confines of your goals. We have no information about your location and set-up! Are you in a ground level apartment? Do you live in a warmer climate and have access to outdoor woodworking? Do you have a patio or deck or porch... Snoop around the site and you may find a pleasant surprise. I once bumped into a fellow woodworker who used a patio rail as a workbench.

But let me help you to think outside your box. If you can lay a piece of plywood on your dinning room table with a couple of towels to protect the table and a few clamps to secure the ply... keep reading.

If you're still reading, may I suggest you modify my workbench to your needs. My workbench top can be re-created to fit your situation... simply add the bamboo flooring to the plywood and secure the t-tracks between the bamboo flooring. If you carefully read my thread you will notice I secured my bamboo flooring by simply screwing in the first row and using the tongue and groove to hold the rest of the boards. You would need to add a 1X4 piece of wood on both edges of your ply so the screws could secure the bamboo flooring on both ends. I would even add a few more 1X4 between the edge boards to give the modified bench some support.

Be patient and carefully read about my workbench and hopefully you can put it to good use. Here is the link...
http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/versatile-small-shop-work-bench-unique-40361/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,439 Posts
As I get older, I can see the time of apartment living in the future. There are a number of apartment woodworking cabinet/benches that I have seen in print over the years. They afford a small vise and an enclosed cabinet for clean tool storage out of sight when not in use. I figured I would build one of those and take up modelmaking with hand tools.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,400 Posts
Scroll saw is a great option... just set up your saw for reduced vibration. That might mean investing in a decent saw. Some of the smaller more affordable saws will vibrate out of real control, frustrate you and discourage you in the end. But here are a few projects I've made with my scroll saw. The hanging pictures were made from 1 piece of wood with finger joints cut on the scroll saw
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
BernieL, you're right! I forgot to give any details about the apartment. It's on the third (top) floor, and we share the floor with one other apartment. It's located in the historic section of a small city near Albany, NY. The walls aren't too thick, so keeping noise to a minimum would be ideal.

Unfortunately, storage is extremely limited. The two closets in the apartment are already full, so my setup would need to break down and be able to fit inside an old trunk we're using as a coffee table/tool storage.

There is a small backyard for the building, however I'm not sure what the landlord's stance would be on me doing some work back there.
 

·
where's my table saw?
Joined
·
28,598 Posts
the old trunk trick

Make the trunk the storage for the entire "workshop" It can conceal the tools and if you can design a top that stores inside, folds open or caps over the trunk you got yourself a work bench/table.

Pull out containers with hardware, hand or electric tools, sandpaper clamps or a clamp on vise could be store inside. Maybe the top comes off, invertes and becomes the work surface...I donno?
Just throwing out some suggestions.

An idea here: http://www.seattlefindings.com/Benches--Mini-Tabletop-Workbench_p_1455.html


http://images.search.yahoo.com/sear...&fr=ytff1-tyc-inbox&va=workbench+from+a+trunk


My first "shop" was in an 8' X 10' bedroom in a walk up in Chicago. I had a table saw, drill press,shop vac, welding tanks, and a workbench. I slept above on a elevated bed made out of 4 x 4's, had a ladder to climb up to it. I was 18 yrs, and wanted a shop more than a cool bedroom. The lady lady lived below and I helped her maintain the place in exchange for some "noise".:yes:
 
  • Like
Reactions: Muhheakantuck

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Make the trunk the storage for the entire "workshop" It can conceal the tools and if you can design a top that stores inside, folds open or caps over the trunk you got yourself a work bench/table.

Pull out containers with hardware, hand or electric tools, sandpaper clamps or a clamp on vise could be store inside. Maybe the top comes off, invertes and becomes the work surface...I donno?
Just throwing out some suggestions.
woodnthings, I think a combination of a top/moxon vise that could fit into the lid of the trunk would be the best use. Here's the trunk, for reference-



And what I have in the trunk so far-



The inner dimensions measure 21" wide x 37 1/4" long x 11" tall. My thought would be to find a way to secure a work surface inside the lid (3 1/2" deep), either with slats or even just bungees
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,529 Posts
With the limitations you've described, you're going to be, well, limited. Here are a few thoughts. I'm assuming restricting mostly to hand tools, to avoid noise complaints and excessive dust problems. I've done something similar: my shop in my last house was my garage. It was unheated, uninsulated, and, in the winter, full of stuff that stayed outside during the summer. I set up in a spare bedroom, and in a space about 7' x 3' put together all the tools I needed, a good sized bench, and space to work.

1) If you can use the whole chest, you can store a LOT of stuff. If you're open to replacing the chest, you can build a traditional tool chest and store everything you should ever NEED (that's not to say everything you'll want, but that's a different question) in it.

2) Check out the "Milkman's Workbench" (here's a starting point). It's a small bench you can clamp to any solid surface -- a table, a countertop, the top of your tool chest, whatever -- and do basic handwork on. It will hold smallish boards for planing, jointing, dovetailing, whatever. And it's small enough to fit in a tool chest!

3) Get used to cleaning up every time you finish work for the day. When I was working inside the house, I kept a broom, dustpan, brush, and shopvac in and around my bench. The brush and dustpan hung on the side, the vacuum was stored underneath, and the broom stood in the corner. I kept the door to the room closed with an old towel rolled up and put under the door to keep chips and shavings inside, and each time I was done for a while I swept everything up. When I was done for the day, I swept more thoroughly and vacuumed. Yeah, it wasn't a lot of fun, but it meant the rest of the house stayed clean. It's also just a good habit to get into.

4) Learn to do most things with hand tools. You can do a lot of work late at night if you don't have to worry about waking the neighbors. Remember that some of the most iconic furniture in the world was made without powered tools for anything but timber preparation. In a lot of cases it's harder: thicknessing a board by hand is a lot harder than doing it with an electric planer, and ripping long boards with a hand saw may make you question your sanity. But some of it is easier: odd compound miters can be fairly simple if you just lock the board in a vise and cut to the marking lines with a hand saw.

5) Above all, remember that you don't need every tool ever produced. You just need the ones that are most critical for what you want to do. I recommend reading "The Anarchist's Tool Chest" (Christopher Schwarz) for one list of recommended tools and "The New Traditional Woodworker" (Jim Tolpin) for another. "Working Wood" by Paul Sellers is another one I like, but he has some odd biases that I sometimes have trouble with. I think it's worth reading, but take it with a grain of salt. In theory, you can do most things with a large rip saw, a carcase saw, a 1/2" bench chisel, and a #5 plane. It would be hard and not much fun, but it's theoretically possible. Once I got into that mind set, I started seeing new tools as conveniences, not necessities, and the size of my tool kit dropped dramatically.

As a side issue, here's a photo of the largest bench I've ever used regularly for woodworking. It's about 4' by 2', and there's an article on my blog about it. I built a king-sized bed with 4' corner posts on this bench, so don't let anyone tell you you can't build something big with a small bench. You can. It's just harder. Edge planing those 6'6" rails on a 4' bench was a challenge.


Bench 1 by a_mckenzie_4, on Flickr
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
1) If you can use the whole chest, you can store a LOT of stuff. If you're open to replacing the chest, you can build a traditional tool chest and store everything you should ever NEED (that's not to say everything you'll want, but that's a different question) in it.

2) Check out the "Milkman's Workbench" (here's a starting point). It's a small bench you can clamp to any solid surface -- a table, a countertop, the top of your tool chest, whatever -- and do basic handwork on. It will hold smallish boards for planing, jointing, dovetailing, whatever. And it's small enough to fit in a tool chest!
The trunk is a shared storage space for the fiancee's craft supplies as well, so I'm limited in yet another aspect. The milkman's workbench looks good too, similar to the Moxon vise, but with a few more features. Another point you made was cleaning up. The fiancee is allergic to everything under, and including, the sun. That means being very diligent with cleaning up each time I'm done.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
395 Posts
  • Like
Reactions: Muhheakantuck

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts
Do you have a balcony you could move to for noisier, messier operations? (And for finishing) You could also look at one of the smaller routers (Ridgid, Bosch, DeWalt - has a plunge base) for quicker dado, groove and profiling work. You only need a flat board with a hole and some straight stock for a fence and you've got a small router table. Doug Stowe works with that same set-up and he has a big shop.
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top