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Shop comfort

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I work better when comfortable, whether at my computer or in the shop. How I create the environment makes all the difference.

My office is like most – it has everything I need to work, but also personal touches that make it a good workplace. Photos and pictures on the walls, some knickknacks and memorabilia on a few shelves, radio, etc. Probably the same things you have if you spend any time at a desk; the only difference is that the items in yours are personal to you, and to me in mine. Same thing for my shop.

My new shop cabinets qualify in this regard, as they make the shop more attractive and allow me to more easily find and store items quickly, but that’s not the personal touch I’m talking about. I’m referring to the comforts you like to have around you, things you’d move from one work location to another.

Some are small and maybe a bit silly – I have a tiny glow-in-the-dark dinosaur my daughter game me more than 20 years ago that rests atop my hardware cabinet. A U.S.S. Enterprise coffee mug holds pencils. There’s also a framed enlargement of an old Woodshop News cover, two birdhouses, a small handmade 19-century picture frame with a photo of a Civil War soldier in it I clipped from a magazine, and some old license plates. And, of course, a rubber chicken.

While music can be a distraction when I write, I find it essential when woodworking. I have two shop radios, one on each side – I don’t like to turn the radio up loud, so having one on each side turned low allows me to hear it wherever I’m working (when machines aren’t running). I should mention that I don’t listen to broadcast radio. I have a small FM transmitter near my stereo in the living room, into which I have my satellite radio receiver plugged. The programming on satellite has gotten so bad lately, though, that I’m in the process of switching over to Internet radio (Pandora) that I can program myself.

I’m curious about your own shop comforts. What do you insist on having around you in the shop while you work: Do you play music? Are there photos and memorabilia to accompany you as you work? How about a shop dog that keeps you company? I’d love to hear how you’ve made your shop the comfortable place you enjoy going to.

Till next time,


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