Workshop

In a homestead there are many jobs that need to be done and having your own fully stocked workshop set aside from the house can be a major benefit. Of course there are going to be some limitations on the kinds of power tools you will be able to use especially if your electricity generation setup is limited to a certain level of wattage, but not all tools need so much power to be useful to you.

well stocked workshopIn this section of the site I'll be taking a look at the many beneficial aspects of having a functioning workshop in a homestead situation and what it can be used for in making life better in many ways.

To get us started, here is an overview of some of the topics I'll be covering in their own fully detailed articles.

Starting at the Beginning: Building a Workshop

If your homestead doesn't already have a suitable outbuilding for this purpose, it would be a good use of your time and labor to build one! There are some options to consider but its always a good policy to have the intended building planned and drawn or at least sketched out with its dimensions before you start sawing up planks of wood or mixing cement.

Depending upon your needs and skill and knowledge levels of craftsmanship and ingenuity at making things using your hands and the right tools, you can build a good sized, watertight wood shed for the purpose. Its size will depend on several factors such as:

Assuming you have factored in all the conceivable variables that will result in a final plan, you can and should go ahead and get the building erected and ready for use.

Stocking a Workshop

So you have your nice shiny new building and it looks ready to get some use. But before you can do anything in there aside from sit on a chair and drink a cup of coffee as you daydream about stuff, you're going to need to stock it with a solid bench and the tools you will need to do the work you have in mind to do.

Here are a few of the things you will certainly need to get started.

Bench

The bench will need to be sturdy and avail itself to much of the work you will be doing in there. You can often pick up a second-hand bench at local craft fairs and maybe garage sales in the area. Failing that, check out classified ads in local newspapers or online at craigslist or similar.

The bench will of course need to fit into your building with space around it for you to move around and access all sides if possible. If not, then it might need to go against the longest wall.

Vice

You can add a good sized vice which will get a surprising amount of use once you get started in earnest. Make sure you get the best one you can afford because it is really going to be a mainstay of your workshop's focal point on the bench.

Tools

A tool rack above the bench is a good idea for stowing your most used hand tools such as hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, plane, saws etc. Depending on your power supply you may find yourself using a lot of hand tools to conserve power, plus there is something very organic and earthy about using hand tools to do certain jobs!

Then there will be some power tools such a drill, sander, circular saw, miter saw, maybe a router and so on. The selection you have will definitely be dictated by the availability of sufficient electricity to run them if you are generating it via renewable sources such as solar.

Generator

Sometimes it is just not feasible to run certain power tools on solar generated electricity but you need the higher powered tools for certain jobs. In these cases, a standalone generator might be a good solution.

Diesel generators (gen-sets) are useful for running high wattage devices for short periods of time that would otherwise overload a homestead ecological power system. The only exception to this rule would be where electricity is being generated using hydro or wind where there is sufficient resource to produce a lot of watts.

Accessories

If your bench has drawers, these are perfect for stashing boxes of assorted nails, screws, rawlplugs, nuts and bolts, washers etc. You'll also need stuff like sanding blocks, sandpaper, assorted knives, spare saw blades, drill bits etc.

You can never have too many of these items. In fact, it is a given you will likely end up hunting around for a certain size screw for a job if you don't have it or if you do but it's not kept in a well ordered storage system.

Safety

There is plenty to say about keeping yourself safe when working around some of the heavy and also light machinery that is commonly found where you're working on things. It covers not only taking the right precautions to prevent accidents from happening but also safety clothing and protective gear that should always be worn whenever you place yourself at risk from injury.

While a lot of this is simply common sense, you'd be surprised at how many accidents do happen that could have been easily prevented by some simply forethought or sensible procedures.

More Articles About the Workshop

There are many other aspects of running a well ordered and practical workshop that will be discussed in the separate article in this category of the site. Check out the titles below: