Apartment Woodworking

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by Bentley, Aug 21, 2019.

  1. Bentley

    Bentley Friend of Leo's

    Jul 25, 2012
    Kelowna B.C, Canada
    Hello friends, long time no talk. I have finally finished university and moved out to Vancouver. I no longer can take advantage of my parents 3rd bay in their garage. I have no woodshop!

    I am going a little crazy not woodworking and my graduation present to myself, a nice walnut/maple topped arch top tele, is only 90% done. I need some way to finish it up, in my apartment.

    So this is where I ask for advice.

    How do those of you living in apartments manage to still make sawdust/chips? I have been thinking that I will just have to buy more hand tools and relegate myself to hand chiselling all my pickup pockets.

    Please help!!!

    intensely calm likes this.
  2. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 30, 2011
    I have no advice for you, but I just wanted to say welcome back! Good to see you again, man!
    GunsOfBrixton likes this.
  3. intensely calm

    intensely calm Tele-Meister

    Apr 1, 2019
    @Bentley, I completely hear you!
    I was in a similar situation for a couple years, the woodworking part of guitars was definitely more difficult working from an apartment. Most of my tools were in storage, as there was little space for such items in the apartment. I'd pick up what I would need, use it, then return it to storage asap.

    I chose my "work time" very carefully as to not disturb my neighbors, and depending on what kind of woodworking was being done, I chose the room carefully. General sanding I kept in my kitchen (or patio) as there was no carpet.

    Basic drilling typically happened in the kitchen, a table and countertops were handy. I clampled a lot of stuff to those countertops.
    Routing however went to my patio area. Roughly 5' by 8' of space (no, I don't think it was that big). I used a homemade router table, consisting of a large rubber trashcan and a cheap deck that I could prop against a wall when not in use. I tried to keep the routing time to a minimum as not to get the neighbors angry. Happy neighbors should be good neighbors.


    Painting was likely the biggest problem for me, as I typically spray urethane.
    So, I had to plan for this, and take my project to a friend's house/garage for painting. There was just not place to spray anything where I lived. Hand finishes were done on the patio or in the kitchen - windows open if possible, but not always the case.

    All in all, it worked, just didn't have a free-flow, very much a start and stop setting for me.
    Perhaps you can find a small shop that will rent you a few feet of space to bring your project. Never know.
    Good luck in your situation!
  4. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Meister

    Sep 4, 2018
    Erie, CO
    Maybe rent a garage style storage unit near where you live? Just make sure it has a light and an outlet.
  5. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    I built a workbench for my apartment second bedroom and made a mess in there.
    Remember that you can hog out all routs with a forstner bit in a cordless hand drill and clean them up with a sharp chisel.

    All routs are covered except the neck cavity. That's where you need to be nice and neat.

    A 20x 20 box fan with a furnace filter taped to it can pick up some airborn dust.

    Good to see you back and that college degree seems to have just flown by from here. :). Congrats.
    GunsOfBrixton likes this.
  6. TeleTex82

    TeleTex82 Friend of Leo's

    May 4, 2010
    San Antone
    Is there anything like a maker space where you live? We have a couple here where it's essentially a co-op, you pay a monthly fee and you get to use routers, laser cutters, 3D printers etc.
    rangercaster and GunsOfBrixton like this.
  7. GunsOfBrixton

    GunsOfBrixton Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 9, 2011
    Rochester, NY
    A maker space may be the way to go. Not necessarily cheap but they are usually outfitted with al the tools you could need. Though, you will usually have to take intro classes to using the machines (even if you already know how) and those sometimes cost extra.
    rangercaster likes this.
  8. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

    May 24, 2010
    I did a lot of work with a vacuum cleaner sucking up the dust. As said, hog out and then touch up with the router. A scraper rather than sandpaper, a ba stard file, used block plane. I built a little acoustic as a 'what if' to see how to build a guitar with the minimum $ of tools and supplies. On the flip side it is also a minimum dust method. I could probably build in an apartment now but I have too much wood acquired to be practical.
  9. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 22, 2018
    Vancouver has a very vibrant lutherie community - connect with some of these guys and see if space can be rented in a shop. You can do the hand tool work at home.

    And even tho I have a small "shop" in my garage there are some power tools that I choose not to own - mainly a belt or drum sander. I find it very convenient to take pieces that I want thickness sanded to a local cabinet shop, let them make the dust and pay them a small fee. Last, and far from least, get a little folding table and take some of your work outside. Run an extension cord out the window, do your routing or sanding in the parking lot, then fold it all up and go back inside.
  10. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 10, 2018
    In space with Ziggy
    I've seen community sheds set up around town for guys to work in while I have been at different locations for my job. I think they are aimed at bored retirees and guys suffering from depression. Maybe there is something like that local to you? I think they are even kitted out with most tools for woodworking etc.

    Other than that I would rent a apartment with tiled flooring and just work in the lounge room with cheap plastic drop sheets over the lounge and tv etc.:)
  11. Lavochkin

    Lavochkin TDPRI Member

    Mar 5, 2019
    Ithaca, NY
    I started building a table in a house but moved to an apartment before done. What I had left to do was taper some wood for legs. I did it with a hand plane, and even that caused my downstairs neighbors to complain. No complaints from the neighbors on either side though. So pick your neighbors well, maybe let them know what you are doing so they will not be surprised by any noise, and try to do your noisiest jobs when they are at work or out of town. Good luck!
  12. Ripthorn

    Ripthorn Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 22, 2009
    Austin, TX
    Making a simple but well executed item as a neighbor gift goes a long ways, too. I once built several of those wine bottle balancing holders for my neighbors and they all loved it! Never any complaints about the woodworking, either.
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