A good woodworking friend is downsizing his shop – drastically – and I’m having trouble imagining what he’s going through.
To describe my friend’s situation briefly, he once ran a cabinet shop out of a building behind his home. With a couple employees and lots of big equipment, the approximately 2,500-sq.-ft. shop was perfect. He closed that business several years ago but kept working by himself to produce custom furniture in the same space, which was palatial by my standards and with machinery I can only dream of. But he’s in the process of selling his home, and along with it that roomy shop and gear. He and his wife are moving into a smaller home they own, and when they do his new shop will be the same as mine: a converted two-car garage with about 450 sq. ft. of space.
Now, I do fine in 450 sq. ft., but I’ve had a lot of years to understand how a space of that size works best. What’s more, since this is the largest shop I’ve had, I’ve actually “grown into” that space. He, on the other hand, must shrink down to that space from something more than five times larger.
He’s coming for a visit later this week to see my setup, and I’ll do everything I can to offer advice to help him adjust to his new space. But to be honest, even though the size of his new shop will be the same as mine, I’m having difficulty envisioning things from his perspective. Working in 450 sq. ft I get just fine, but shifting down from 2,500 sq. ft. (again, with every machine imaginable) to a space the size of mine is an alien concept for me.
Surely a lot of you have traveled my friend’s route. I’m curious what advice you’d have for him when it comes to drastically downsizing like this as it affects machinery, shop processes, space management and the like.