Experience building in a small workshop?


Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Feb 13, 2010
World traveler
I recently retired from my previous career and, while I will continue to work in other capacities, I should have some time to actually start building an airplane. My wife and I are looking at upgrades to our house in France and one option we are considering is using prefabricated concrete units to make a 3-bay garage (two with automatic doors for cars, one with manual double doors for storage).

Since shipping costs are the same whether there is one unit on the trailer or two, it makes perfect sense (to me!) to get a fourth unit to place separately as my workshop. I'd get one with manual double doors opening outward at one end, a side door, and a couple of windows. There are some issues, notably that it's uninsulated reinforced concrete, but my biggest worry is the size. Here are some pics of examples and the dimensions.

1665754062392.png 1665753771651.png 1665753704921.png

L 6,00 x W 2,98 x H 2,45 m​

Interior : L 5,78 x l 2,83 x h 2,10 m
Door opening : l 2,52 x 2,00 m

L 19' 8" x W 9' 9" x H 8' 0-1/2"​

Interior : L 18' 11-1/2" x W 9' 3-1/2" x H 6' 10-1/2"
Door opening : W 8' 3" x 6' 6-1/2"

I think it would it would be doable even if I needed to move to a hangar or other space for final assembly as long as I pick a design with two- or three-piece wings and a relatively short fuselage. Build the fittings, wings, tails, etc. first and do the fuselage last as it's much easier to store the other bits as you progress rather than trying to store the fuselage. Many of the single-seaters could work, ditto a VP-2 at 16' from the firewall to the end of the fuselage and 12' x 5' wing panels.

What do folks think? Am I crazy for considering a build in such a small space? Anyone have any personal experience to share? Tips or tricks of the trade?