Photography by Gregory Hayes
Craig Cochrane is a general building contractor in Forestville, Calif. and MAKE Assistant Editor Laura Cochrane’s dad.
The creation of and subsequent changes to this workshop began in 1977. After four years as a commissioned line officer in the U.S. Navy, my wife and I purchased our Forestville home. The future shop was a 6 ½’x 14’ enclosed dirt floor garden tool storage space. Within a year or so I added a reinforced 5-inch concrete floor and pair of doors (4-foot wide). Electric receptacles along the back wall, recessed overhead lights and a 1 ½”x2’x8’ fir work top on a pair of used floor cabinets made this small room a true workshop. Next I installed wall insulation and a north-facing recycled 6-light over 6-light single hung window from a 1920s San Francisco house. At that time I was vineyard manager at Hop Kiln Winery and I needed somewhere to store some 1980 and 1982 daughters’ birth year wine so I dug into the hillside behind the shop to create a 6’x8’ stone wine cellar.
By 1983 there was a bench grinder and two vices mounted on the workbench, and a variety of storage shelves. I kept the table saw near the doors, usually wheeling it outside for use. In this shop I have made many mechanical and furniture repairs, carpentry projects including a Celtic design hand carved redwood trestle table, and a dozen stained glass windows.
The 35-year evolution of this shop has made it as much storehouse and personal museum as workplace. The table saw was long ago replaced by a four drawer file cabinet. Nineteen-fifties S-gauge American Flyer trains are reminders of a bygone Christmas. Antique tools and ancient volcanic rocks on display speak of even more distant times.
– Craig Cochrane, general building contractor