How to Woodwork in an Apartment?
Are you an aspiring woodworker who lives in an apartment? If so, you may feel limited by your need for more space. But don’t worry – it is possible to do woodworking even if you live in a small space. This blog post will show you how to make the most of your apartment and turn it into a workspace for woodworking projects.
Choose the Right Furniture
When choosing the right furniture, it’s essential to consider the size of the room you have and the type of woodworking projects you plan to do. If your shop space is limited, focus on making small woodwork projects and select pieces that will only take up a little space.
To ensure that your woodworking in an apartment goes smoothly and safely, choosing furniture that can safely support the weight of your tools and materials is also important. Investing in sturdy, quality workbenches and tables will help ensure that you have a safe and comfortable workspace.
Choose Your Room Carefully
When woodworking in an apartment, choosing your room carefully is essential. Consider the views between rooms carefully, and if you plan to go bold and add contrasting feature walls, consider how they will be seen. Select the bedroom that doesn’t adjoin the neighbor’s apartment as your toolroom.
When laying wooden flooring, choose wider boards to give the illusion of more space. Use this effect to your advantage to achieve a feeling of continuity and still give each room a subtly different sense. Sunlight helps almost any room look its best, but it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.
Direct natural light pouring through windows can be harsh and uncomfortable for many activities – make sure you have a plan for window coverings or blinds to reduce glare as needed.
Choose the Right Tools
Choosing the right tools for woodworking in an apartment is crucial for creating and completing projects safely. I recommend investing in hand-held screwdrivers, hammers, saws, vices, and other smaller tools that will only take up a little space.
You can also rent hand planers from your local hardware store if needed. Remember to lay down a tarp on the floor to catch sawdust and wood shavings, and only use quiet hand tools to reduce noise levels.
Create a Dust Collection System
I knew creating a dust collection system was essential to keep my workshop clean and safe, so I researched the best way to do it. I decided to use a soft rubber hose connected to the dust port on my tools and a vacuum hose for powerful suction.
I saw that Jenn Largesse from House One had a great tutorial on how to build a dust collector for her Ultimate Mobile Workshop, so I followed her steps to build one for mine. I also plugged any gaps in walls or windows with caulk or weatherstripping to prevent the sawdust from migrating to other parts of the house.
Finally, I built a floor dust collector, as Jay Custom Creations had on his website, using a furnace filter and some rigid foam insulation. Now, with my dust collection system in place, I can focus on my projects without worrying about making too much of a mess.
Use Quiet Hand Tools
Once you have chosen your furniture and the room to work in, it’s time to choose the right tools. Instead of relying on power tools, you can use hand tools for your woodshop. Not only are they quieter than their powered counterparts, but they are also easier to store in totes and don’t take up a lot of space.
With sharp chisels, you don’t need a bench or other tools to start your projects. And if you need more precision than hand tools can offer, there are smaller versions of power tools, such as buying a tabletop drill press. As I discovered when I built some furniture using only hand tools, it’s possible to do great work without a lot of noise or sawdust.
Store Your Tools in Totes
Having chosen the right tools for my woodworking projects, I now need to ensure I have the proper storage solutions. Using totes for storing my tools is a great way to keep them organized and accessible when I need them.
It’s also a great way to keep the area tidy and clutter-free, which is especially important when working in an apartment. Labeling each tote can also help me easily identify which tools are inside so I can quickly access the tool I need for my project.
Keep Your Projects Small
Smaller and simpler projects are usually best when it comes to woodworking in a small space. Instead of building large pieces of furniture, focus on creating decorative boxes or chairs with hand-cut dovetails and some inlay work.
Although ambitious, you can make a few chairs in the confines of an apartment. Rather than turn spindles, you could use a drawknife to shape the arms and legs. You can use the limited space available while still producing beautiful pieces!
Plan Ahead for Storage Solutions
As I plan for storage solutions in my woodshop, I’m mindful of the space limitations and potential for noise: hooks and 1/2-in. Wood dowels help organize wrapping paper to save on space, and you can also use shallow closets for other needs.
Additionally, I’m focusing on doing small woodwork projects to maximize the limited space I have in my apartment. Keeping only the tools, I frequently use in compact storage boxes also helps me save on space and noise. By being aware of these factors, I can create a more effective shop storage solution that fits my needs.