How To Do Woodworking When You Live In An Apartment? (Tips)

Over the years, with the demands of the industry and modern technology, woodworking has evolved for many from just being a hobby to a business opportunity. Many people have embraced this and turned their homes into woodworking studios to earn extra income. It can be challenging, though, if you live in an apartment as I do. I was curious to know How To Do Woodworking When You Live In An Apartment.

Woodworking is successfully done in an apartment; it takes a little planning and preparation and some consideration to tool selection, choice of materials, and proper ventilation. You might also have to forgo the large power tools and consider bench or handheld tools.

Whether you are doing woodworking as a hobby or a form of income, the challenge lies in working within a small confined space like an apartment. The good news is that it is possible to make some minor changes. Let me satisfy your curiosity as I give you a deeper insight into how it is possible to do woodworking from an apartment.

how to do woodworking when you live in an apartment

Factors To Consider When Woodworking From An Apartment

Handling woodworking projects in a small space can be quite daunting and lead to many sleepless nights, especially if you are unsure where to start or have had to downsize homes and move into an apartment. Here are some of the factors that you might need to consider.

Planning

The most crucial step to any woodworking setup is planning. You will need to look at the amount of workspace you have and work within those parameters. It would be advisable to layout the space on paper and allocate specific areas to set up the woodworking station to store equipment and materials.

The Setup

If you do not have a specific workspace allocated in your apartment for woodworking, you can always set up a temporary area, either in a small portion of your lounge or kitchen area. You can use a kitchen table or a fold-away table. 

You have to make a start; every small step is a step in the right direction towards achieving something bigger. Even if that means starting in an apartment, you can also invest in an outboard stand wood lathe that you can fold away and store after use.

Invest in some storage boxes to store pieces of wood and other utensils that you may require to complete the task at hand. There are many ways to work around the space issue; you have to be innovative and work with what you have at your disposal. 

Tool Selection

using a jigsaw

Often it is the dream of every carpenter to have power tools that would help craft that wood into a decorative art form. Woodworking from an apartment, however, can mean limited space. It often means ditching that 14- inch band saw and settling for something much more compact like handheld or benchtop tools.

Soundproofing 

The noise from the machinery can often cause a disturbance to neighbors living in adjoining apartments. The last thing that you would want is any complaints. You also might need to work some late nights to finish a woodworking project, and the last thing you would want is to keep the neighbors awake.

For your sanity and that of your neighbors, you should invest in some soundproofing panels, which you can purchase at a local hardware store. The soundproofing panels will help absorb the sound from the power tools if you still plan on using them. 

If the soundproofing panels do not provide adequate sound absorption, you can consider a more expensive alternative of covering the walls, windows, and doors with a thick insulation sheet board.

Good Ventilation 

Woodworking can result in the creation of a lot of dust, which is a health hazard to you and to other family members, which can lead to many side effects like hay fever and the creation of dust mites. Ensure that you have good ventilation in the apartment. 

Apartments often come with a standardized ventilation system which is often not as effective. If you live in an apartment building, there is often a code of ethics that you have to adhere to in terms of rules and regulations.

If you cannot change the ventilation system in the apartment, you might want to consider investing in a high-quality dust collector, which will help keep the air clean and free of dust.

Take On Small Projects

small woodworking project

Living in an apartment can present a problem when it comes to space. The lack of space can often mean that you will not be able to handle multiple projects at the same time due to storage space. It is therefore advisable to handle one project at a time. 

Invest In Custom Made Boards

Due to space constraints, you will unfortunately not purchase large sheets of wood for storage or later use. Although buying in bulk can often be more cost-effective. It is not an option if you live in an apartment. Lots of apartments have elevators or stairs, apart from the space issue.

It will be a logistic nightmare to get the large wood sheets to fit in the elevator or up the stairway. To purchase as cost-effectively as possible, you can perhaps purchase the sheet of wood and ask your local store if they could custom cut the board for you and keep the balance of the board in storage until the next project.

One of the most challenging parts of woodworking in the apartment is deciding where to store the tools. Having equipment and tools that dominate the workspace will be an unwise decision. 

The apartment will look cluttered and might even hinder your ability to have a clear, concise thought frame about creativity. Research has shown that clutter can hinder one’s ability to think clearly. Here is a list of some of the recommended tools;

  • 10 inch Skilsaw – Small enough to be stored away. They are just as effective as the full-size table saw. While large table saws are effective for larger boards, the 10 inch Skilsaw is not only compact but can also good for smaller ripping and crosscutting.
  • Miter SawSmall enough for storage on a shelf. It is cost-effective and can handle 2x 4s.
  • Drill Press – A 10 inch or 12-inch drill press can accurately place holes on the board. They may not replace a handheld drill, but they will serve the purpose.
drill press
  • Work Stands – There is not much space for a large work stand in a small apartment. The portability of the work stand enables one to carry them to different locations in the apartment. To make up for the lack of a large workspace, you need compact work or tool holding stands.

The Rockwell Jaw house and Dewalt heavy Duty work stand are ideal portable clamps for apartments.

  • Wen 3410 3-Speed Remote-Controlled Air Filtration System – A lot more compact than other filtration systems. Ideal for filtering dust particles.
  • Hand-Held Vacuum Cleaner – Stores well in any cupboard or closet, taking minimum space. Great for a quick clean-up of sawdust.

Conclusion

The common perception amongst many people is that you need a large woodworking space, power tools, and large pieces of wood to create some amazing pieces of art. The reality is creativity and imagination are more important than large spaces.

Many talented artists had started creating unique woodworking pieces from small spaces like basements and apartments before they ventured into larger spaces. It does not matter how small your apartment is; all you need is creativity, imagination, proper planning, the right material, and tools, and you are on your way. Happy Crafting!

James Thomas

James Thomas

Tool Enthusiast

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