The Space of Work

Emma here.

Today I’m going to introduce you to our studio space, so you can get a sense of the tools and resources we’re working with.  We felt the need to create this post to emphasize that we do not have access to things that are beyond the reach of ordinary, working class human beings. Neither of us work in a shop at this point where we can use fancy equipment… not that that wouldn’t be nice!

We don’t mean to portray ourselves as heroes of the world’s scrappy folk or to win the hardasses of the century award.  We just want to provide ideas and inspiration to people who have similar resources as we do: some tools, some scrap wood, a little money, and determination.

Our studio is an old classroom that’s part of what used to be a North Philly public school. A little creepy and sad, but we are importing some positive energy. When we started renting it last summer, it looked like this:

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We wanted a space where we could keep things that were exclusively ours, and work on projects without having to worry about hanging out too long on anyone’s turf.  We were surprised at how many options there were here in Philly… I sense that places like this are populating abandoned buildings and post-industrial areas in many US cities.

We built a couple of work benches, brought in tools, made a coffee shelf, and it started to look like this:

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Usually all my clothing is not on top of the table saw.

Here is a list of the power tools we have: table saw, router table, jigsaw, palm sander, belt sander, drill.

And an assortment of hand tools: wood files, hand plane, hacksaw, Japanese hand saw, hammer, etc.

And Kasy’s industrial Necchi sewing machine, which can plow through 8 layers of canvas.

And aside from accoutrements like drill bits and sandpaper, thats it for tools. The room is spacious enough that we can work on both large and small projects.

Working on a bed frame for my room. Sides of future shelves.

Big projects: Here I am working on a bed frame for my room (left) and here are some sides of future shelves that I cut out (right).

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Small projects: Coffee grinder restoration (left) and attachment points for a shelf on the boat (right).

So there you have it.  We are using the tools that we’ve accumulated over time, and spend money on supplies as needed for each project.  For people who don’t have any power tools, I would also like to make the point that mostly everything can be done with hand tools and patience.

Don’t give up!

More projects coming soon.

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