Canadian Woodworking

Upstairs storage, online exhibition, women of woodworking

Blog by Rob Brown
Looking Ugly

Last, but not least, is the upper level of my shop. Although I don’t do much work up there, I’m able to store all sorts of tools and materials there that would otherwise take up valuable space in my main shop machining area.

Though I wish I didn’t have to do it, I put my miter saw upstairs, mainly because I just couldn’t figure out how to shoehorn it into the lower level and have enough outfeed areas on either side of the saw to be able to cut long boards. This isn’t a big deal, as I do some crosscutting on my table saw, have a circular saw and crosscut jig at the ready for rough materials and always have a Japanese crosscut hand saw nearby for more detailed cuts.

I have a storage cabinet in the middle of my upper level that also doubles as an assembly and finishing surface. It has a fold-down surface that doubles the area, and it can disappear out of sight, if need be.

Other than that, it’s finishing products, lumber, sheet good cutoffs and all sorts of tools that rarely get used stored upstairs. Oh, and the start of our marble run. My son and I haven’t had the chance to work on it much lately, but it does go from just below the ceiling upstairs to halfway down the stairwell now.


Losing My Marbles – Our marble run is coming along very slowly, as the summer with my kids was mostly spent outside. I’m almost hoping for some rain this fall, as it would force us inside. The marble run works pretty well, but once in a while we lose a marble. It’s always right after the long, straight run, as the marble bounces down into the screw “Plinko” section.

How does this help you?

The upper storage area makes my main work area so much more productive. Just having a place to store all the items that mainly take up space and rarely factor into my work, is a major advantage. If you have an area in your home, garage or shed where you could store some of your least often used tools and materials, I strongly suggest you do that. I know it can be a dicey situation (allowing your hobby to migrate into areas of the house your family could otherwise use) but, if possible, it could allow you to simplify your work area and be safer and more efficient.

So, that’s my new shop in a nutshell. A very large nutshell. Let me know how a move has improved your woodworking experience, and what you might do differently next time.

Online exhibition

For a quick breather from this serious shop layout discussion, check out the latest online exhibition from Wood Symphony Gallery. I’ve shared some of their other exhibitions here. This one, titled “Small Treasures 2021”, features work that doesn’t exceed 6″ in any dimension. I always enjoy seeing the creativity in these pieces, and the finishes are also unique and inspiring.

Women of Woodworking

As you do when surfing the internet, I stumbled across an interesting website the other day. Katie Thompson posts a lot of interviews she does with women and non-conforming woodworkers from around the world, as she aims to promote woodworking to women and further encourage cross pollination in the community. The Women of Woodworking initiative also sponsors classes and scholarships for women and minority students. Check it out here. Men dominate the woodworking world, but that’s certainly not to say woman can’t work wood. Some of the most attractive pieces of studio furniture I’ve ever seen have been made by women, and I’m glad they’re encouraged to design and build even more.

A few of Thompson’s interviews are of Canadian makers. Daej Hamilton, Peggy White and Kate Duncan are all interviewed, and I’m sure there are many other women from around the world whose stories should be heard.

Looking Ugly

This photo of the second level of my new shop was taken about a week after I moved in. It’s amazing how organizing things can bring calm to a seemingly impossible situation.

Looking Ugly

Organized and Ready for Action

It’s certainly not clean and tidy, but the second level of my shop frees up my main work area a lot. And if I really needed to, I could sort out those mostly empty boxes toward the center, couldn’t I?

Organized and Ready for Action

“Winds of Change”

Michael Gibson turned this heavily pierced pear bowl. Once the exterior was textured, he used acrylic paints to add the colour of the leaves.

Winds of Change

“It’s Hip to Be Square”

This colourful maple turning was made by Donna Zils Banfield.

It’s Hip to Be Square


Renauda Robin turned this vessel from oak. Its heavily textured and undulating surface is stunning, and must have been a challenge to create. To me it looks like a to-scale model of a very tiny organism.


Katie Thompson Working Wood

Here's Katie trying out a new hand plane.

Katie Thompson Working Wood

A Recent WOWW Class

This is from the WOWW's recent spoon carving class with Abbey Mechanic, at Charleston Woodworking School.

A Recent WOWW Class
Last modified: May 15, 2022

Rob Brown - [email protected]

Rob is a studio furniture maker and the editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement. Instagram at @RobBrownTeaches

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