In today’s show, get ready for a look at Feng Shui In the Shop. Regardless of what you believe about the practice of Feng Shui, there are some great lessons to be learned in it about organization and taking steps to think about how you work. And I can’t wait to share it all with you. Be sure to join us for all that and more, right here, on Everyday Woodworking.
Everyday Woodworking Podcast Ep 10
Setting Up A Small Shop – Feng Shui In Your Shop
Hey everyone. I’m Ricky Fitzpatrick with Everyday Woodworking, your Podcast Home for tips, tricks and information on how to make the most of your woodworking time and money, every day.
Well welcome back to the show. Episode 10, baby! Wow. That is so cool to think that we’re already in double digits! The podcast is doing so well. Our listener audience is growing by leaps and bounds. We even recently got listed by FeedSpot as one of the Top 35 Woodworking Podcasts You Must Follow In 2021!
So thank you guys for helping us grow and thrive. We are grateful, and we’re hopefully, just getting started.
We are in the middle of our latest series on Setting Up A Small Shop. And today we look at Feng Shui in the Shop. Or, basically, how can you arrange your shop so it “flows” and feels beneficial to you.
As woodworkers, we might tend to say “I ain’t doin’ that hippy dippy fung sway junk. That stuff’s just for sissies and preppy city folks.”
And I get it Earl Dibbles, Jr. But I promise you, you’ll thank me later once you implement some feng shui techniques and ideas in a way that will help you organize your shop in a way that encourages peace instead of chaos.
Hang with me, grasshopper. I won’t lead you astray.
Lots has been happening this week.
We got a “new” jointer, in case you haven’t already noticed that in our social media posts. As I’ve said many times, we are like the absolutely MOST blessed people on the planet when it comes to great friends and neighbors. Some of our coolest friends are the folks over at a local business called Novelty Woods, over in Commerce. They deal with reclaimed wood…barnwood, beams, doors, etc, and man, they have it all.
I stopped in the other day to see Craig, who owns NW, and he showed me a bunch of tools he picked up at an estate sale. I had already mentioned that one thing we had on our wish list was a jointer. Well, he showed me an old Craftsman jointer that he got in this sale and just told me to take it home.
I mean, what do you do with that?! Wow. So we took it home and I’ve been cleaning it up and getting educated on how to set it up and use it, and I’m planning to put it to work later this week.
Just so cool. And again, a great reminder that surrounding yourself with good people will always add value to your life, and not just as a woodworker.
We also just posted a new Tool Review on our YouTube Channel about a KitchenAid Hand Blender, or an Immersion Blender. Not exactly a woodworking tool, but we had an idea for one around the house.
In case you aren’t aware, we use a homemade laundry detergent. And before you start making jokes and comments, let me tell you, it works, Jack. It works, and works like a charm. And it costs us like $2 to make 5 gallons of it. I kid you not.
Anyway, we got the Immersion Blender to help us make the mixture a little smoother. And it worked!
So check that out over on YT if you have time. We love doing stuff like that.
Also, we’re about ready to get our garden in the ground. It’s getting warm and pretty here in GA. Got everything plowed up and our raised beds setup. We’re expanding our garden footprint this year from what was only about 200 sq ft to over 1,500 sq ft. So I’m trying to plan it out really meticulously and not let it overwhelm me.
But I’m planning on growing a lot of tomatoes and green beans this year. And I got me a pressure canner, so we can can a whole bunch of them! We’re going to be like Doomsday Preppers. Ready for the apocalypse, baby!
But that pretty much sums up our week. Springtime means work time!
Also, if you’ve watched or listened to us before, you know that I never record a show without having a cup of coffee in my hand.
I try to give a shout out to some our favorite people by using a coffee mug with their company logo or favorite saying on it.
Today, I’m going to bypass our Coffee Mug Shout Out because we haven’t had time to get with anyone about using their cup on the show. But I do want to encourage you to send us one of your branded coffee cups if you have a business, and we’ll take a look at using it here and telling everyone a little about what you do and how to find you.
Our address is I the show notes, so check that out and send us your awesome coffee mug, today.
Alright…on with the show. Let’s get into Feng Shui in the Shop!
What is Feng Shui and why is it spelled so funny?
Well Feng Shui is of Chinese origin (seems like everything comes from China!). It’s a practice of using energy forces to harmonize a person with their surroundings. Or in redneck speak…it makes you feel better about the things around you.
It sounds a little “out there” I know, to some of us. And hey, I’m a Christian. We believe in God and Jesus and we don’t get into “mystical” practices. So I don’t know anything about “energy forces”, but I do like the idea of laying things out in a logical and efficient way. And that seems to be the end result for a lot of Feng Shui activities.
Today, I want to look at some very basic ways to help use principals of Feng Shui to help organize your small shop that will help:
Improve the look of your shop
Improve the usefulness of your space
Alright, let’s jump right in.
If you have an existing shop space that’s already in use, there’s no doubt, you’re going to have clutter. I’m sort of OCD about it, and every so often, I have to get crazy with my stuff. I just collect junk, things I think I might use, spare parts, things I plan to fix or repair. Just get aggressive and get rid of it. My rule: If I don’t need it, then it’s in the way.
Second, CONSIDER THE BAGUA
In Feng Shui, the Bagua is “the map” of your space as it’s defined by nine areas. So like one area might be Health. That might be where you store your ear and eye protection and maybe your dust masks or respirator. Another area might be Creativity. This might be an area where you have your tools for brainstorming. Sketch pads, pens, compass, etc.
Whether you buy into the whole “energy” idea, organizing your shop according to general areas of use will at the very least keep it all logically grouped together. And consequently, all the things you need for particular tasks, will more likely be all in one spot.
Third, GO WITH THE FLOW
If you primarily build birdhouses in your small shop, then you (hopefully) have a general idea of the process you use. If you build cornhole boards, then your workflow will be different. If you turn bowls, something else.
The main thing is, if you’re at this point in our series, then you should’ve already mapped out a rough workflow for your shop. If you haven’t, then there’s no better time than right now.
Think through what you do, what tools you use, what space you need, and how it would be easier if everything could be in a natural flow. If you typically go from your jig saw to your oscillating sander, then don’t put them across the room from one another.
Arranging your tools in an orderly fashion will make you more efficient and generally “feel right” as you move from station to station.
Fourth, CLEALINESS MATTERS
Most of us are pretty picky about keeping our shop clean. I know it drives me loco to have to walk around on a bunch of wood shavings. So I sweep every few minutes to keep as much of the big stuff up and out of the way.
Also, without being ridiculous, when you finish using something, put it away. Or at least, if you like to keep all your stuff our for a project, then make a point to put everything up before you start another one.
And, make sure everything has a place. Having a “home” for your cordless drills feels a lot better than “storing” them on top of your freezer. That goes back to rules one and two.
Fifth and finally, BREAK THE RULES
For me, a lot of this is trial and error. I’ll start out with a plan to organize and clean and structure, and once it’s done I’ll think “That looks awesome!”
Then the first time I work on a new project, I realize it ain’t working.
If you’re like me, your body has a natural way of moving. You gravitate to certain positions and methods, sometimes out of habit, but sometimes out of just what comes natural.
Don’t fight it. If something don’t feel right then move it. Use the previous four rules as an entry into your custom space.
And in the vein of the flow of energy, consider what flows naturally in your process. What seems to be the next logical movement or placement.
I have a process for drilling pocket holes when I’m building cornhole boards. And I’ll usually do several sets at a time, which means drilling like 200 holes, back to back. So when I reach to grab a new board, to keep me from having to set my drill down and pick it back up two hundred times, I built me a little drill “holster” that I attach to my work bench every time I do this and it make a tremendous difference in how I have to move when I put down and pick up that drill.
It’s a tiny thing, but it makes my movements feel so much more natural. And because of that, I don’t feel like I’m losing my mind at halfway through the project.
Just little things can make a huge difference. So don’t be afraid to change and change and change things again and again, tweaking them here and there until your shop fits you like a glove.
Alright. That’s it for “Feng Shui In the Shop”. That wasn’t so bad, was it? And we didn’t even have to meditate, did we? LOL!
I really appreciate y’all hanging with me while we look at an unusual subject for a woodworking shop. But I have no doubt that if you follow these ideas, it will help you create a more pleasing, more functional small shop space.
Hey, be sure to come back next week where we’ll start getting into the specific tool selection section of our series. And we’ll kick that off by looking at criteria for Picking A Table Saw.
And hey, if you have questions or comments about anything you’ve heard today, then definitely let me know what you think. I’m always looking for great questions!
One last thing…if you enjoyed this episode, please take a second and leave us a great review. And, wherever you’re listening, we would love it if you subscribed to our podcast and became a regular listener.
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And finally, if you’d like to learn even more about us, you can check out the show notes and head over to www.applevalleyfarmga.com for things like our store, our woodworking projects and lots, lots more.
That’s it. Have a great day. Thanks again. And I’ll see you next time…on Everyday Woodworking.
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