Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

A New Workshop?

There’s a very good chance that I have found myself a new workshop. Less than two-years after departing the first one alongside my mother’s home.


Some of you may’ve already seen this photo on social media – for those of you who haven’t, I’d just like to say that it is not my photo. But the previous tenant clearly did a bit of woodworking themselves.

Nothing is concrete as yet. I’ve merely made my interest known and have arranged for a viewing towards the end of next week (the lettings agent is busy until then and my full-time job otherwise gets in the way).

I can provide you with a few facts, for the time being:

  • This workshop is, I would imagine, no smaller than a two-car garage.

  • It’s closer to home than my current place of work.

  • There is a kitchen with water facilities.

  • It is by far the most affordable option I have seen through the past two-years of searching.

To clarify; I would be renting this space and, as much as I would love to be able to pack my current job in there and then, I do not have the financial clout to be able to take such a plunge. So, for the time being, I will keep my full-time job, with a view to reducing my hours as things progress. That way, I’ll always have some form of financial security and a sustainable income.

This does mean that my free time to spend in a new workshop would be severely limited to one-and-a-half days per week (while allowing for a rest day or walking). Especially, in the very beginning.

Financially, while taking in to account the fact that I am also renting my own home, I am going to end up spending more each month than I am earning from my full-time job. It is a risk. But my hope remains that things will pick up over time.

A few years ago, I thought about doing this from the home workshop and it never felt right… For one, I was very cramped within that space – as any of you who’ve visited may recall. But I also wonder whether it was too close to the comfort of home. I’m quite often the victim of my own mind. With a greater physical distance between home and work, I hope that I can approach it ‘more professionally’, more as if I am travelling to and from work each day and not simply going out there to have fun and make whatever I want. There’s also the requirement to pay bills in order to keep using the space.

There will be a lot of work with things to consider, before I can properly set myself off and running and full speed. I will have to look carefully at my own finances, to estimate my own monthly expenditure and needs quite accurately, to assess how much I will need to charge for my time and then, I could talk about something fun like tools…


On a positive note, I don’t believe I need any more hand tools.

But thinking back to the summer of 2014 when I hauled the majority of my kit in to self storage, I did help to ease the whole process by offloading a few items (namely, my 16in bandsaw, lathe, chip extractor and a few power tools).


I have still held on to a lot of tools and machinery but there are a few basics I am going to need before I can do too much (bandsaw, dust extractor and a thicknesser being the prime examples right now) but I’ll save delving too deeply in to that until there’s more certainty over this situation.

Bottom line is, that means I’m going to have to spend more money at a time when I’m going to have handed over a deposit for the space and also the agency’s fee.

Again, on the subject of finance; renting a workshop is going to have an effect on my otherwise ‘free spending’ – potentially meaning fewer weekends away this year and a general inability to buy too much crap.


Ultimately, I am trying to remind myself that whenever I do have work, I am going to be earning more per hour than I do in my current job (perhaps even twice as much). Even having to factor in the overheads and expenses of a workshop, I am going to be earning more. Initially, I won’t be able to buy tonnes of timber to make whatever I want (although, the photo above should indicate that I didn’t sell off every last scrap).

Then there’s YouTube – I make a small amount of money from that now and my following has grown steadily, even when I’ve not been posting regularly. If I could upload something once a fortnight, I imagine it could grow much faster, adding to my increase in revenue.


Thinking and day-dreaming about this, I feel more passionate than I have done about many things for what feels like a very long time. Those tools and machinery have been in storage for over eighteen-months… They’re going to need TLC and cleaning once they do come out again. I miss them.

My intention from here would be to keep my full-time job (and there are several reasons for this), with a view to shortening my hours there when the time is right. I don’t honestly see the life as a furniture maker being something that would occupy me full-time. I believe I’m always going to have to subsidise it with something else and I thank people including Gerrit, Steve and Ali, all of whom have spoken with and helped me to see things a bit differently.

I mention the issue of timing there…

A few weeks ago, I was talking with someone about my intentions for the year and how much I’d love to have a workshop and leave my current job. I realised the problem where I was (as I still am) short on a few key ingredients for my workshop. My intention then was to spend this year ‘restocking’ the saws and extractors that I’ve previously passed along; ready for that relaunching of a workshop at the most pristine of times…

But when is the right time? How could I know when that might be?

If you’re passionate about and knowledgeable of something, why not follow it through?

Why wait?

With the expectation that this will kick-off over the coming weeks, I’m heading towards this with the intention of seeing how I am after six-months, with the intention of completing one-year before a proper evaluation. I should be able to last two or three years right now before getting in to serious financial trouble. It is highly unlikely that something won’t happen within the first year, even if it’s not enough for me to achieve all of my dreams at once.


One thing I can almost promise you though… I will probably end up buying more clamps!!

Thanks for reading.

4 responses to “A New Workshop?

  1. Andrew Reynolds 19/02/2016 at 17:40

    Sounds exciting. While making a living just making furniture is difficult, adding other things like YouTube, and other things, you might make a go of it. Persistence will payoff.

  2. Ashley 20/02/2016 at 18:50

    Hi Olly good luck with the new workshop hope you keep on posting. I really enjoyed reading your posts from your previous workshop. Ashley

    • Olly Parry-Jones 21/02/2016 at 08:14

      Thanks, Ashley! Good to know you’re still there. I hope to make more of an efffort with YouTube but it will be good to return to regular blog writing as well. 🙂

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