History of the Shop


Our barn, a two-hundred year old English style barn dating from 1803, served as my first shop after we bought the “old Wieschoff place,” a former horse farm, apple orchard, and egg farm. It's a given Maine, that no matter how long you live in a place, your home will always be known by the name of its former owner. After thirty years, locals still refer to our house as either the Temple or Wieschoff place. Only after I move or die will it be the Bunn place. The barn wasn't weather tight. Snow drifted in when winter winds were high. Barn swallows nested in the timber framed beams of the roof. The sheep were separated from the shop tools by a gate. There is nothing more startling than to walk into the barn and find a sheep, (Agatha), perched on top of the table-saw, unable to figure out how to get down. Both of us were shocked by the sight of the other. When sheep are startled, they lose bodily control of themselves, and before my eyes the table-saw was bathed in sheep shit and piss. It was time to separate the shop from the barn.

Building the new shop was a multi-year project. The first year, I cleared a spot for the shop, scraped off the top-soil, put in a pad of gravel, and put down a concrete slab for the shop floor. The next spring I contracted with a local saw-mill to cut all the 2X6 and 2X12 framing material for the shop's frame from hemlock. Wet, heavy hemlock. So wet it spit at you when you drove a nail in it, but much cheaper in price than commercial 2X material sold at a standard lumber yard. With the help of two vacationing friends from Delaware, David Corbishley and Allan Wendelberg, and Joe Bayard a friend from work, we framed up the shop.


I jumped into this project with only a small step ladder. It was only then that I started to really appreciate the tight knit village I had moved into. The guys sipping coffee down at the cafe figured out before I did that I wasn't completely equipped for what I had bitten taken on. Unbidden, pick-up trucks pulled into the door-yard, and long beautiful extension ladders appeared as if by magic, dropped off by folks I didn't know without a lot of conversation other than short comments like, “You'll need this.” I was introduced to a Maine neighborliness I had never expected. We framed up the 2X6 studded walls flat on the slab. The morning we were about to start lifting them in place, pick-ups again pulled into the door-yard. To multiple variations of the question “You ready to put up the walls?” I remember saying, “Not quite yet, give us an hour,” people said,”Fine, we'll grab a cup of coffee, and be back later.” The walls went up faster than I ever dreamed possible. David, Allan, and Joe helped me nail on the plywood siding and the flooring of the second floor.


David, Allen, and Joe, their vacations over, left and went back to their regular jobs. I faced the next task, sawing out fifty-two 24-foot long rafters for the shop roof. Somehow, with the help of a lot of friends, motivated by hot dogs, beer and soda, the shop was roofed and enclosed by fall. Over the winter I wired the building and insulated the walls.