Woodworking hobby in a country where woodwork as a hobby isn't common
February 11, 2016 4:00 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to practice my hobby of woodwork in a country where woodwork is not common like it is in the States where everybody seems to have either a basement or a garage workshop. In addition, I live in a house which looks like these. No garage, no garden.

At the moment I have use of a space about 20 minutes away from where I live where I keep my (quite large) tools and equipment. But that's an uncle's and he's about to move and my use of that workshop will have to stop.

Does anyone have any ideas how to go about finding like minded people who share my interest and situation to go in on a workshop cooperative with? If that's the right word. I've tried advertising on Facebook, Gumtree (like Craigslist) and in shops which sell timber all to no avail.

I also don't live in a big enough town (like London or Manchester) that you can guarantee like minded people exist! My town has a population of about 200,000.

I am fully prepared that there is no answer to this question...

posted by dance to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You could try using something like Reddit? There is probably a Subreddit for your city, and most likely a general woodworking one as well. Plus subreddits for DIY and whatever else might be useful are sure to be found. Post in those and see what sort of responses you get?
posted by backwards guitar at 4:32 AM on February 11, 2016

Presumably there's a lumber yard where you purchase materials. That would be one place to ask. They might even let you hang a sign on a bulletin board near the cash register.
posted by jon1270 at 5:07 AM on February 11, 2016

I have known people living in apartments or condos to rent garage/workshop space, either alone or in partnership with other people. I see it advertised here along with artist's spaces and so on; whether or not that is cheaper than finding housing that includes workshop space is going to depend on your local area.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:27 AM on February 11, 2016

It just says tht you live in York on your profile, but that is fairly close to Leeds. There is a Leeds Hackspace that could possibly be a place to investigate. They've got a router table and a bandsaw and scroolsaw already and would like a wood lathe and a table saw if you've got either of those. The woodworking crowd and the hacker crowd tends to have some but not complete overlap.
posted by koolkat at 5:27 AM on February 11, 2016 [5 favorites]

If the co-op doesn't pan out, you might consider switching over to one of the compact all-in-one woodworking tools.
posted by fairmettle at 5:29 AM on February 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Scale down your projects, and you might be able to fit into a closet. That's how I do machining, for example -- I use a lathe and mill that are small enough to fit in a small space, and then I build small things. With woodworking you're going to need good dust collection, which might be the thing that kills it for you, but if you look in the XCarve/Shapeoko/6040 community you can find good plans showing how to build dust collection systems that can fit into surprisingly small spaces (like an apartment in NYC).

Having said that, you should be able to find some kind of small workshop space in your area. Have you tried looking for a garage rental, or similar outbuilding? It's been a long time, but when I was in Birmingham years ago it was fairly easy to locate semi-crummy light industrial outbuildings for rent in semi-OK areas; most were intended for use as storage, I believe, but a couple of power outlets and you'd be set. The problem there would be securing your machines, so bolts, hasps and heavy chains would be advised.

Maybe get in touch with automotive enthusiasts? They're likely to have the best sources for sheds/garages/etc that have power.
posted by aramaic at 6:01 AM on February 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

York Art & Crafts run woodwork classes in Nether Poppleton. They look like the sort of place that could connect you with likeminded people.
posted by scruss at 8:04 AM on February 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's common to do woodwork in the UK, as it is taught in British secondary schools. It's just not common to have a big wood shop with major tools like table saws. All the stuff they taught me at grammar school was with hand tools, and can be done with a small toolbox and a Black and Decker Workmate in a limited space.
posted by w0mbat at 10:30 AM on February 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Like koolkat says - visit your nearest Hackspace. I know that we're a bit further, but Nottingham Hackspace has bandsaws, a table saw, a lathe, sanders, and other piles of power tools.

It's how I do things that would usually require a garage or a shed, since I live in an even tinier terraced house.
posted by Katemonkey at 1:35 PM on February 11, 2016

Mens Sheds are big in Australia, seem to be in the UK too.
posted by kjs4 at 5:30 PM on February 11, 2016

Your predicament is what drives a lot of people towards hand tool woodworking. Maybe join the Paul Sellers website? You might find local enthusiasts.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:26 PM on February 12, 2016

Response by poster: w0mbat - would you really say it's common? How many of your friends are woodworkers? Not trying to snark but in my experience whilst it's sort of taught in schools I know no one "in real life" here in the UK who woodworks - even just on a monthly basis.
posted by dance at 4:25 AM on February 15, 2016

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