Cramped Creativity

I’ve been asked to build custom shelving on many occasions both past and present. This week I was finally able to create a functional piece in the “Dungeon” (aka … the basement work space). Working late hours in every inch of the 96 square feet of workspace, and at many times knee deep in wood shavings from hand planing, I was able to transform some rough pine boards into an appealing little shelf unit.  shelf2

Working in this closet sized space brings to mind the days when I had a much larger workspace and several apprentices. Prior to hiring any apprentice I would ask them one key question. What is the most important tool in the shop? It was a confusing question for every one of them. They would reply with answers like … the bandsaw, the jointer or the tablesaw, etc, etc… all of which are wrong of course. I’d make it simpler for them by telling them it was not a power tool. Who can spot the most important tool in the woodworking shop in the picture below?  If you need a hint I’ll post it in my next entry.