40 Years in Under 40 Feet

40 years worth of patterns, jigs and fixtures piles into 40 square feet.
Assuming my patterns would take up at least 1/3 of space I rented a 30′ storage unit, but not so much.

Last year, in preparation for the move back to Pennsylvania I hauled all my layout sticks, patterns, and jigs to storage. They made their way east late last year only to end up going back into storage (a few ended up inside the then far-from finished new shop). Forty years of accumulation, thousands of pieces of furniture, and it all fit in under 40 square feet.

Sofas, chairs, and clocks. Chests, beds, and more chairs. My entire professional woodworking life in a 5′ by 8′ space, with room to spare. There are hundreds of dining chairs in that pile and more than 60 tall-case (or grandfather, if you prefer) clocks: dozens of tea tables and scores of highboys.

A small group of patterns hanging from the old PA shop walls.

Having had the patterns hung neatly (it could happen) about my shop(s) for years, I wasn’t quite sure how much room they would absorb in the storage unit. And once I got them stacked in the corner, I was shocked to see how little space they took up. They certainly seemed to take up much more room when hanging from the shop walls.

And now that the new shop is reaching completion it’ll soon be time to haul all those jigs and patterns out of storage and find places for them around the shop. Layout sticks are not only effective ways of producing the same pieces time and time again, but they’re also an efficient way to retain all the information about a specific piece. Ultimately creating (and keeping) full-size layouts of the furniture you make cuts down on development time when you build it a second or third time. And, as you can see, they take up far less room than you might think.

And to continue the 12 Days of Christmas buying season, use the code day9  at checkout in the next 72 hours to receive a 10% discount on a class in which we’re sure to make a layout stick; the Massachusetts Serpentine Chest (occurring August 12th through 16th, 2019). And, for the record, I’m done talking about layout sticks (almost).

— Chuck



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