Stressed Out? Try Hitting the Woodshop

Stressed Out? Try Hitting the Woodshop

Could it be that we’re in a renaissance of working with our hands? I mean actually working with our hands? You know, using heavy tools that render calluses, on projects that at the close of the dayper month or week give you something that can’t be emailed or uploaded, however that can be utilized for a physical intent? As we become plugged — working at desk jobs where our hands touch just a computer keyboard, mouse and iPhone daily — most are feeling a fresh urge to unplug and do something more tangible.

That is what writer Matthew Crawford has discovered and discussed in his book, Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the worth of Work. Together with aPhD in political doctrine, he awakened a job as the executive director of a think tank after just 10 months to begin his own one-man motorcycle repair shop, where he has never been happier.

The simple fact is that humans have a primal urge to work with their hands. Psychologist Kelly Lambert has discovered that mice that worked hard digging Froot Loops were more mentally resilient to stress than those given the deal without effort. For humans, working with our hands to solve problems modifies our responses to stress by creating dopamine and serotonin in our minds, making us feel joyful.

Thus, in a feeling, having an almighty home woodshop can be a great antidepressant.

Whitten Architects

The woodshop is where we engage some of the very primitive instincts: to use our hands to solve problems and build things. These instincts helped form the survival of ancient humans.

Erotas Building Corporation

We humans have had a romantic relationship with wood since the dawn of our presence. Some of our earliest creations were produced from timber, and they served practical functions: tools for eating, hunting, fishing and fighting.

The need for this yield to hands on activity is solved with the home woodshop, that temple of a location where people can kick up sawdust and actually make something, whether it’s furniture, cabinets, artwork or anything else.

RSVP Design Services

Interior designer Rhonda Vandiver White designed this woodshop for her husband within their three-car garage. “It is very much a guy cave,” she states. When he moved to White’s traditional-style home three decades ago after they got married, he had his own personal space where he could split wooden dragons, cowboy figurines and other sculptures.

RSVP Design Services

The walls in the 10- by 10-foot space are walnut with a Gladiator storage platform from Sears. There’s a wood storage shelf and the space has heating and air conditioning and even Wi-Fi.

RSVP Design Services

White estimates that the project cost a total of $20,000 in materials — roughly $15,000 for the door, beadboard, HVAC, electrician, LED lighting and plans; the Gladiator system has been about $5,000. (She estimates that the total for a different space this size using a designer’s fee would be about $25,000.)

M Valdes Architects PLLC

When Family Handyman magazine commissioned architect Marcelo Valdes to style a woodshop drop the average homeowner could assemble in one weekend from local timber store materials, he reacted with an idea that stuck into a one-word mantra: “simplicity.”

“Traditional sheds are always so cottage-y,” Valdes says. A more modern approach, he knew, could bring with it the simple design he strived for. “It is not modern since it is stylish. It is modern since it is easy,” he states.

M Valdes Architects PLLC

His sloped-roof layout with polycarbonate windows uses 2-by-4, 2-by-6 and plywood board and batten with a poured concrete slab flooring. Valdes estimates it cost $3,000 to $4,000 for materials.

P. L. Johnson Construction, Inc..

Contractor Phil Johnson constructed this space from Lanham, Maryland, for a retired firefighter who’s now a woodworking hobbyist who builds furniture.

The 672-square-foot space is created from half-inch plywood on a concrete slab. After braving a Maryland winter in the space, the homeowner added insulation.

Johnson estimates this project cost $40,000 to $50,000 for materials and labour, such as work by an electrician.

Becki Peckham

Jeff Parsons, a woodworker in Newfoundland, Canada, built this mecca of a woodshop for his woodworking business, which he began after he left the medical area to pursue his passion of making things from birch, cherry, mahogany, redwood and oak.

The self-taught woodworker today makes cabinets and wine cellar storage, which he sells through his firm, Fine Grain Woodworking.

He states a table saw is essential in any home woodshop also it can accomplish almost anything. For smaller distances, he urges portable machines that you can go around and store easily.

The 700-square-foot store has a wood planer, a jointer, hand tools, routers, pneumatic nailers and much more. Suctions below and over his table saw suck sawdust, saving about six trash bags’ value each month.

Rikki Snyder

Paul Barnish goes to his woodshop off his New Jersey home to clear his head, watch football and build furniture for himself along with the grandkids.

Esther Hershcovich

Luc Sergerie creates custom furniture in this woodshop on the first floor of the 1930s building where he lives in Montreal.

Your turn: Show us your woodshop, large or small, and tell us what you make there!

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Next: Browse more workshops and studios

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