For people with a background in, or a knowledge of craftsmanship, it seems silly not to take advantage of it in order to let loose some creative genius and save some serious bucks at the same time by building their own household furniture.
If you haven’t considered the possibility now, there are a few things you’ll have to consider before you can get set up. The first has to be, where are you going to do the work? It should be somewhere that the noise is not going to penetrate too much from, especially if you have kids or your neighbor’s house is attached to your own. On top of that it needs ease of access – it’s not going to be easy carrying a mahogany dining table up narrow stone steps and out of the house. Of course you could do assembly work separate from more intricate stuff. You might need to convert a space into a workshop, in which case you’ll need to think about ventilation, heating, power supply and lighting.
Once you have chosen your spot, choose your workbench and power tools. For a smaller space, you might have to go with smaller models. Don’t forget to get your flooring down before you install anything. You’ll also need your toolbox, of course.
Once you’re set up, it’s pretty much up to you what you want to make. If you haven’t done much work before, it’s better to start with something simple so that if anything goes wrong, you won’t have thrown a lot of money away on wasted materials. You could start with something as simple as some shelves to go in your new workshop.
You have quite a bit of freedom when it comes to choosing the materials you want to use for this. Steel tubing works, as does rough pine for the actual shelves. You can also change the thickness etc. according to what you can get your hands on.
Start with two 20-foot long steel tubes and five 3-foot by a foot long wooden planks (as I said, just use whatever thickness you think is appropriate – they’re your shelves), a meter-long steel plate, nuts, washers and your tools. Bolt the whole thing together with the shelves spaced evenly, and then fit it to your wall.
Once you’ve done that you can start on furniture for the house, still keeping it simple with something like a breakfast bar stool. Get your hands on a 12-inch concrete forming tube and quick-set concrete, four 2x2s cut to the height you want your stool, duct tape and sandpaper. Tape off your tube with the duct tape making sure to leave no gaps at all. Fill the tube halfway with concrete and then add the legs at the angle you want. Leave it for two hours while the concrete sets. Once it’s set you can remove the tube and make any adjustments you want, such as sanding down the feet and painting it.
Having a workshop is really useful for when you want to make or repair your own furniture, but it’s also nice for your neighbors to know that they can turn to you if they need any work doing. It also might be a nice little sideline for earning some money – you could start an online shop and complete the orders in your free time. If that sounds like a lot of hassle you will at least save money on gifts that you would have had to buy anyway.
You can also give something back to your community with a workshop. Teach your neighbors and their kids some of the basics about woodworking and carpentry. Let them bring their own wood and help them complete their own projects. When the time comes, give them a helping hand in setting up their own workshops. You might be able to give them some of your own tools if you happen to have your eye on a newer model.
If the idea really takes off in your town, you could start a woodworking club, with a workshop dedicated for community use. You could run tutorials and lessons and get to work on projects for the community as a whole.