How to Transform Your Garage Into a Barbershop

by A Manly Guest Contributor on June 10, 2011 · 80 comments

in Blog

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Australian AoM reader, Aaron Round, who built a barbershop in his garage and shared the results with us. Thanks a lot Aaron–I tip my hat to your imagination and initiative!

So you want to be a barber? But you don’t have enough scratch to pay for barbering school quite yet. What’s a man to do?

That’s the pickle I found myself in not too long ago. Whilst browsing the Art of Manliness, I stumbled upon the article, Rediscovering the Barbershop, and I found myself suddenly hooked on the idea of becoming a barber. But there is nary an old school barbershop to be found around these parts. They’ve all but been replaced by spas and beauty salons.

And there are also few barber-specific courses in Australia and even fewer “Master Barbers” to learn from. Given the $14,000 AUD asking price for a general hairdressing certificate (only to need advanced classes in shaving and men’s hairdressing down the road), I wondered how I could kick-start my dream without going broke in the process.

My solution? Building a barbershop in my garage. Here’s how I did it and you can too.

Find a Clear Space

“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” –Wayne Dyer

Working in the garage one day, I noticed I had a large, empty space with the potential to be turned into a mini barbershop. It would be a place where I could practice my skills and where friends could relax, have a chat, and learn more about life and manliness.

As my fiancé and I both drive small cars, they could fit in the garage along with the barbershop. Regardless of your particular situation, you’ll need to have a permanent location for your equipment–one where stray hair will not be a problem to clean up. It should be at least 5m2.

Make it fun by involving your family in the build!

Prepare & Plan Your Space

Before the transformation, the corner of the garage was a mess; full of cobwebs and holes, it simply wasn’t visually appealing. But I could see its potential.

The first step to transforming your garage into a barbershop is to take a pad and pencil and sketch out how you would like the shop to look. Think about how it will be laid out, and things like color as well.

Once you’ve got an idea of what you’re going for, strip down the area you’re going to use before applying your color scheme. From research, I found a lot of barbershops employ burgundy and cream, but make the choice your own. Dark and vintage colors always look great.

For flooring, I used linoleum, as it’s cheap and easy to sweep clean. Hair gets into the darndest places, so ease of cleaning is a priority here. The most popular finishes for flooring seem to be timber or black and white checkers for a traditional look.

When designing your shop, you can always ask a mentor or your family for their ideas. Just make sure you keep the main theme your own and keep it manly.

Hustle Some Equipment

“Things may come to those who wait…but only the things left by those who hustle.” –Abraham Lincoln

Proper equipment is necessary not only to make your barbershop functional, but to make it look like a million bucks, like a place where people will want to hang out. There are three big pieces of equipment you’ll need to acquire:

Barber’s Chair

The most expensive piece of equipment you will require is a barber’s chair. A good barber’s chair is sturdy, reclines, and is comfortable to sit in. It’s also the centerpiece of your shop, so it’s important it fits with your desired theme.

My own chair came from a local barber supplier, and with some hustling and haggling, I got it for just 100 dollars. You can also try the local classifieds, barbershops, and the internet to source yourself a great second-hand chair.

The chair I bought was dirty and needed re-covering, but it had good bones.  This old barber chair was built to last.

A quick trip to an upholsterer and the chair was looking brand new. To save on costs, I had the upholsterer do the tricky parts, while I completed the headrest and backing myself. Upholsterers can also help you source vinyl and foam for very reasonable prices–if, say, you wanted to do the whole chair yourself.


Mirrors can be quite expensive brand new, especially if you’re after one in a nice wooden frame. Local classifieds and eBay are your friends here and will enable you to pick up a great vintage or second-hand mirror for chump change. Mine cost just 10 dollars.


You can really let loose when it comes to the counter. I’ve seen old drawers, buffets, and marble counters all used to great effect. A low-cost option I employed was to visit the local kitchen supplier and ask if they had any off-cuts I could have or buy. Anything over 1500mm length and 300mm depth would be perfect. It was then just a quick trip to the hardware store to locate brackets. While you’re there, pick up some hooks so you can hang your clippers and blow-dryer. It makes storage a breeze.

Once you have these three main items, you’re halfway there. Bully for you!

Cutting Equipment & Consumables

Cutting equipment is next and can be quite expensive, so it’s always best to do it right the first time. The knowledge you can gain from established barbers in this area is absolutely invaluable. Talk to your local barber and also have a look around their shop to see what they use. They can provide opinions and help you locate the best places to purchase equipment.

Typically, professional barbers will buy from a wholesaler, so call the wholesaler first and find out if they sell to the general public. Some incredible savings and advice can be had here. Shopping in these places makes you feel like a kid in a candy shop.

To list all of the equipment required would be a post in itself, but the basics would include: clippers, scissors, straight razor with disposable blades, combs, cape, disinfectant jar, spray bottle, shaving bowl, shaving brush, and dusting brush.

Your consumables can also be bought from the wholesaler or your local barber. This includes basics such as creams, razor blades, and styling products.


Set It Up

To set the shop up, I used basic hand tools, with the most expensive being a cordless screwdriver. Saws, hammers, wrenches, and screwdrivers were the tools that got the most use–things many men already have in their toolbox.

If in doubt during the building stage, consult someone with experience to help you out. Luckily, my father is a builder, so I had a dab hand installing the counter, mirror, and chair. This doubled as great bonding time, and hey, two heads are always better than one, right?

Finally, arrange your equipment in a way that feels logical to you personally. You may like to keep all of your hair cutting tools together in one area and then have your shaving supplies in a separate spot. Practice on some willing friends and you’ll soon find what equipment needs to be closest to hand and where it should be positioned.

Set the Mood

One of the best things about a barbershop is the ambiance and the smell.

For ambiance, consider desk lamps or a floor-standing lamp. Change the lightbulbs, or even use a DIY halogen lighting kit to provide spotlighting where needed.

Music is another essential element to help create that old-school feel. Something classic, jazzy, and light at a low volume will be appreciated by your clients and allow them to relax whilst enjoying a shave or cut. You can pick up record players and old radios at garage sales, which are perfect for this task.

Finally, the smell…

Nothing revives the past so completely as a smell that was once associated with it.” -Vladimir Nabokov

There is a huge amount of discussion as to where that wonderful old barbershop smell comes from. For some great suggestions, check out How to Smell Like a Barbershop.

Here are a few things I’ve personally found to be helpful, but as always, try what works best for you: Bay rum, talcum powder, Old Spice, Barbicide, Como shave oil plus various sandalwood shave soaps, and menthol based creams such as Proraso.

The Garage Barbershop

You need a license to work as a real barber, so for the moment, I run my garage barbershop on weekends simply for the enjoyment of family and friends. All donations for the cuts and shaves go into savings so I can complete a hairdressing course and become licensed. Once I have my license, I’ll move the contents from my garage into a small shop, and work it into a full-time business. With the garage barbershop I get to practice my skills (I have some trusting friends) and share my love of all things old and timeless with people who wouldn’t normally be exposed to it. It’s a great place to bond, and it helps keep the dream alive until I can have a real shop of my own.

I would also love to travel to the States and complete a Master Barber course and then share those skills back in Australia with other young men.

Well, I hope I’ve given you gents some idea of what to expect if you decide to build your own barbershop. It’s truly wonderful having your own space to practice and enjoy fellowship with friends.

So, why wait? Give it a go! With a little imagination, not too much dough, and plenty of elbow grease, you can step out of the house and into your very own barbershop:

Good luck!

{ 80 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tim June 10, 2011 at 10:18 am

Cool project but I think a garage being used for its originally intended purpose is a better example of “manliness.”

2 Aaron R June 10, 2011 at 10:23 am

Brett, I’m so excited to see the shop on here! Can’t wipe the smile off my face – many thanks!

3 Vince June 10, 2011 at 10:32 am

Where abouts are you in Australia Aaron?
Thats one thing the Yanks have over us, they stuck to their traditiond more closely, we seem to have lost almost everything, thank God for this revival.
Like you mention in the article, it is impossibly hard to find a good barber in Australia.
If you’re in Mlebourne, you’ll have a customer when you finally open your shop.

4 Black and Blue Man June 10, 2011 at 10:33 am

Great article – and all the best for becoming a barber! :)

5 C Taylor June 10, 2011 at 10:37 am

That is very impressive

6 Chris A June 10, 2011 at 10:37 am

Very Slick! Looks amazing! Watch out that people just don’t loiter!

7 Aaron R June 10, 2011 at 10:39 am

Thanks for the kind words gents, I’m located in Sydney, however I have heard great things about Rockit Barbers if your in Melbourne?

8 Bethie June 10, 2011 at 10:39 am

@Tim – so you’re not interested in barbering – why do you have to be a jerk about it? Seems you read the entire article and took the time to comment….
Manly is in the eye of the beholder, just like so many other things.
Aaron – awesome job!!

9 Ronald Squrie June 10, 2011 at 11:26 am

Well done Aaron! I saw the title of this article and immediately stopped what I was doing at work to read it. I’m extremely interested in owning my own shop one day as well and this is a great start to practice so when you do actually have your shop, you bring to it a lot of experience!

10 Ronald Squire June 10, 2011 at 11:28 am

*Squire (last name typo). Ha, i’m still waking up at work.

11 Theseus June 10, 2011 at 11:48 am

The scents that remind me the most of barber shops are Pinaud Clubman original and Consort for Men hair spray.

12 Drew June 10, 2011 at 12:26 pm

so cool! Great article!

13 Lee June 10, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Wow, that’s really great. I wonder if we need special licensing if we were to do that in the US.

Regardless, I’ve found my retirement plan! Do you use a straight razor to shave the back of the neck?

14 greg June 10, 2011 at 4:16 pm

fantastic article. nice work, Aaron!

15 Aaron R June 10, 2011 at 6:06 pm

@ Bethie – Spot on! The other half of my garage is a woodworking/ car workshop with all of my tools and usual ‘garage things’ I just divide it off with wooden panelling so it still feels like they’re in a separate shop. Thanks for your encouragement Bethie!

@Ronald – Go for it! The outlay is quite minimal and you’ll be amazed how many friends will come to help you practice! All the best.

@Thesus – Great suggestions thanks.

@Drew – Thank you sir!

@Lee – Absolutely, I’m all for tradition and have learnt alot from A.B Moler’s Barber Manual, which is a great read too. Hopefully someone else on here can answer you about licencing in the US?

@Greg – Thank you sir!

16 Stu Hodgkiss June 10, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Now all I need is a garage…

17 Karl Kelso June 10, 2011 at 8:23 pm

This is really awesome. Setting up a “man’s shop” inside a “man’s shop” sounds pretty manly to me. I’m not sure how much it costs here in the US for a barber’s certificate but $14,000 just to start is crazy expensive! Good luck!

18 Shirley Temple June 10, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Wow. Just wow. When your business picks up strong and you fulfill your dream, I hope you come back and let us know where you are. I’ll swing by the next time I’m on the island (though that sounds ridiculous, don’t put it past me!).

19 Dan Foerster June 10, 2011 at 9:27 pm

That’s awesome! Even though I’m not interested in becoming a barber, that is very inspirational to see you take your dream in your own hands like that! Many kudos, and Best of Luck to you and your career!

20 Sweeney Todd June 10, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Hmm. There’s lots of potential here…

21 Fredrick Getzschman June 10, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Wow! You did a really great job on the garage conversion. I was impressed with the level of detail and the quality appearance of the construction work displayed in your photos. I haven’t seen a barber chair like yours since I was a little kid in the ’50s growing up in Omaha, Nebraska. I wish you really good luck with your garage barbering.


22 vernon moxey June 10, 2011 at 10:24 pm

great!!! all the best to you. classic is so needed these days.

23 Steve June 10, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Really awesome project! I’m very impressed by your resourcefulness. I hope to do something similar.

24 Lucius June 10, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Interesting, reminds me of this other guy that plowed under his cornfield to build a baseball diamond. You haven’t heard any voices, have you?

25 jay June 11, 2011 at 12:06 am

What a great use of space. Your garage barbershop looks sharp, and if any friend of mine made this kind of effort, I’d glady support him with my business and/or donations. Best of luck to you on your endeavor!

26 Jack June 11, 2011 at 12:28 am

Love it! Great barber shops are making a come back around the world! Thanks for sharing.

27 Aaron R June 11, 2011 at 1:32 am

So many kind comments! Thank you all very much! I’ll set up a facebook page under ‘Aaron’s Barber Shoppe’ so I can keep you all updated with my progress. Thanks again

28 Artifact June 11, 2011 at 5:58 am

It’s a cool project and all and I’m impressed with what you achieved within your budget.
But instead of saving for barber school and learning the trade, you transform your garage into a fully fitted barbershop, where you can’t practice due to a) zoning and b) the fact you never went to barber school. I don’t see the manliness in that. I can convert my garage into a mechanics workshop and buy all the tools, but that doesn’t make me a mechanic. That makes me someone who instead of working hard to achieve my goals builds a fantasy in his garage.

29 Jake June 11, 2011 at 6:22 am

Aaron, great idea! Good on ya

30 Aaron R June 11, 2011 at 7:40 am

Artifact, I get plenty of practice and have many regulars. I’m also getting help with technique from a barber with 40 years experience.Its a working barbershop that will enable me to reach my dreams faster. No fantasy in that.

31 Brad June 11, 2011 at 8:35 am

Looks awesome mate. Don’t worry about the haters. It’s easy to sit back and criticise others who aren’t afraid to have a go at doing something simply because you personally aren’t man enough. It’s also about the least manly trait someone can display, having a jealous little dig. Keep up the good work champion

32 Eric June 11, 2011 at 9:51 am

Interesting. But really, who in their right mind would do this? A man’s garage is part of his castle, were he may work on projects such as his car, cabinetry, or sipping a beer playing pool with friends. I look foreword to those more practical transformation articles.

33 Bill June 11, 2011 at 10:32 am

What is it with the negative comments? This is an awesome and manly use of the garage. And according to Aaron, there is still lots of room to do other things. I, for one, am happy for you buddy. From the land of manly men, Canada, to the other one, Australia, GOOD LUCK.

34 Scott June 11, 2011 at 11:25 am

NIce job Aaron! Very Impressive. Being a Master Barber myself I wish you the best in your pursuit. Do you use a straight razor to outling the sideburns and neck? that’s a good way to get you use to using it and keeping your skills up.

35 The Desert Rat June 11, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Geez, all this cool stuff about barber shops, well, it makes me wish I had hair! Seriously, a garage should be a place where a man pursues his hobbies and dreams. No matter if it is repairing / tuning up cars & trucks, doing a bit of wood working or a place for storing camping supplies, hunting equipment, etc. So, if a barber shop is the dream, what better place to start than your own garage? To each his own independent spirit. Hey, I’ve got a friend who turned part of his garage into a cigar smoking lounge – what ever works!

36 BJ June 11, 2011 at 1:35 pm

You did a wonderful job of transforming your garage. Well done!
I’m sorry to say that in the U.S. NO barbers I know will use a razor or shave a patron since Aids came into the picture.
I applaud Aussies if they still do as I feel the fear of Aids is way overblown.

37 Bob Helleman June 11, 2011 at 3:21 pm

top work mate, inspiring, more power to you. let us know if you’re in Perth.

38 Christian ANGOGNA June 11, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Très bien fait, super boulot. Bonne chance.

39 Artifact June 11, 2011 at 8:35 pm

OK, so it’s not a fantasy. You work as a barber in your garage, you have customers who presumably pay you for your service and you get help with your technique from a barber. However, you are breaking the law. You are not an accredited barber or apprentice, your shop is probably unregistered. Do you even have an ABN?
Brad. I am not a “hater” nor am I ‘jealous” of someone elses manly deeds. I don’t see what everyone thinks is so manly about being too impatient to achieve your goal through accepted (and lawful) methods, which involves hard-work and yes can be expensive. A man would have recognised he had to be accredited to practice in his state. He would have enrolled in the necessary program or established himself as an apprentice. If he had to save or borrow, he would do so. If it was not feasible, he would work until it was. I don’t think what he has done is admirable, except from a purely superficial perspective which I acknowledged. He did a good job making a barbershop in his garage. As a career, it’s a foolish way to go, and typical of the impatient “I want it now but don’t want to pay for it” attitude so prevalent nowadays.

40 Aaron R June 12, 2011 at 2:46 am

Artifact, Im practicing, no one has to pay anything at all so your presumptions are incorrect.

I do however, wish you all the best in achieving your dreams. Good Luck

41 Artifact June 12, 2011 at 4:23 am

So we’re back to square one. It’s pretend in your garage. Seems like you just wanted the end result straight away instead of years of work to become skilled and accredited and then opening up your own shop (like the first link in the article). Best of luck to you though I sincerely hope you achieve your goal. I just find this article somewhat childish but in no way do I wish to discourage you becoming a barber. You might consider apprenticeship over school as you can learn the specific skills you want and earn while you train.

42 kyle June 12, 2011 at 5:03 am

nice bro! ive been cuttin hair sence i was twelve my grandma taute me a lil and i practiced on friends and family from then on im now twenty now and have a clientel witch i do in my kitchin and all i have is a suitcase with my wahl set cape straight razor and dust brush chargein 5 a head all they do is call and wen im off work or not doin anything and its the barber shop yeah its illeagal but i aint hurtin no one and im givin good cuts so forget what this guy is putin u down about thats how u start u just did it a hell of alot better then anyone else startin out im goin to wyotech for cars and after its barber school to have a one stop shop were u can get ur hair cut car tuned and w/e else i wanna put in it dont let em crush ur dreams good luck

43 Brad June 12, 2011 at 5:48 am

There’s always one person who feels it’s their place in life to put down others. They are typically characterized by a hasbeen or, as more likely in this case, a neverwas, and you can always pick them out as they use a pseudonym instead of their real name. Alas, us mere mortals can never hope to satisfy such a higher being upon his pedestal. For now us lesser folk shall simply have our fantasies until one day we may measure up

44 Shaune Larder June 12, 2011 at 6:05 am

Don’t be an nit picker. And.. don’t just add a few lines to your messages to create the veneer of a respectful post. Its totally false. You are just trying to put this guy down, period. One can only speculate what psychological need that satisfies for you .

The guy is going to get accredited as soon as he can. In the meantime he is being resourceful and keeping the dream going. Its easy to get bogged down in the ‘everyday things of life’ while waiting for your dreams to happen.. By making this thing his absolute obsession and focus, he is ensuring that he keeps motivated and driven enough to absolutely follow through.

45 Artifact June 12, 2011 at 7:25 am

Brad & Shaune; I’m 5 months off finishing post grad which will allow me to pursue my interest in science. So i guess I’m a never was. I love a good barbershop and I know about working hard to achieve ones goals. My concern is that a man would put forth building a “working barbershop” in his garage as a viable alternative to school that he requires. More information has since been added that somewhat clarifies this and allays my concern. We’re not snowflakes. We can criticise without being faceless ‘higher being’ or a hasbeen/neverwas who love putting others down. Ad hominems do you no favours.
I am sincere in everything I stated here. I continue to think this article is a childish example of how modern man compensates when life is too hard and wants instant results. If one can’t afford school I question how converting ones garage into a barbershop improves the situation, that is all. I also hope and sincerely so, that Aaron achieves his goal. Judging by the standard of his work and resourcefulness in this article, when he fits out his own shop he’ll be more than up to the task.
Perhaps you both should try reading this:

46 hamish June 12, 2011 at 7:41 am

Aaron as you are in Sydney, as an employee I’m just letting you know TAFE is enrolling for Semester 2 courses at the end of June 2011 for a mid July start, and a Cert III in Hairdressing is the course you are looking for. It’s available a several colleges throughout the city, and the fees are only $704 for the year, plus probably a couple of hundred extra for material charges. (That $14k figure would only be applicable for international students) Also, whilst the cert III course is aimed at apprentices, you don’t strictly have to be one to enrol in the course.

Just to let readers outside of Australia know, TAFE is the long established government run vocational and technical school system that most trainees and apprentices attend in this country.

47 Dave June 12, 2011 at 7:43 am

Thumbs up for having Proraso and Tabac items in your armoury.

48 Chris M. June 12, 2011 at 9:51 am


Did you even read the article? He’s not using this as an alternative to barber school. He’s using it as a means to get there. That’s not instant gratification. That’s working hard to get somewhere, while at the same time doing something you love. He doesn’t get paid to do it. It’s not a business. It’s a hobby, and if his friends who support him in it donate money to help him along, that’s their choice. Get off your pedestal and let the man enjoy what he’s doing.

This is a great lesson in pursuing your dreams while fulfilling your passion. It’s good to see examples where the two ideas go hand in hand. I truly wish you the very best in your endeavors. Don’t listen to the self-righteous bastards out there, people will always try and crush your dreams. I wish there was a place just like yours near where I’m at, I would support you every week! The DIY attitude is a dying mentality, I thank you for keeping it alive! Plus, building anything in the garage is straight up manly!

49 Kyle F. June 12, 2011 at 10:48 am

I’d hate to give Mr. Artifact any more attention. but seriously dude, you haven’t a leg to stand on. You deride others for “ad hominem” attacks and yet continue to imply that Aaron is childish, immature, and someone who wants instant results instead of working hard. On the contrary, Aaron has done something that the vast majority of men are far too lazy to even attempt, something creative in the pursuit of his dreams. How many men do you know you have made anything, created anything?

Simply said, you’ve failed to make a single reasonable or persuasive argument. If a man wanted to go to mechanics school, would you criticize him for working on his own car and the cars of his friends for practice as he saved up money? If he wanted to go to art or film school, would you criticize him for working in his garage and selling his paintings to friends and family as he saved up money for school? Of course not. Aaron is not lazier than the average men, he has in fact done DOUBLE what the average man does to attain his dream.

Well done Aaron!

50 Aaron R June 12, 2011 at 11:57 am

Thankyou gents, I will be adding all of your positive and encouraging comments to my barbers manual as inspiration, some others I think I’ll just leave out :) it’s hard with a mortgage and a full-time job but I’ll get there and I’ll be sure to update you all with another article in the future.

51 adam June 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm

@ Artifact
doood you have no balls. Who cares if its unlawful. the guy just wants to practice and if he is making a couple bucks on the side who cares! He’ll go to hair school once he has the chance. In the meanwhile DIY punk rock son!

I used to not have any kind of license and had 30 clients hair I was cutting on a monthly basis and it worked out great, but then decided to do other stuff. Hey man, seriously good job, the think looks brilliant!

52 Core June 12, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Congrats on chasing the dream~

53 Nick June 12, 2011 at 3:59 pm

well done, sir.

54 Brucifer June 12, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Even if no actual barbering might occur, this makes for a novel “man-cave. (although, I *hate* that term and concept … feeling it condesending)

55 Artifact June 12, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Kyle. Criticism is not necessarily ad hominem. I said building a barbershop in your garage instead of going to barber school was childish and explained why I believed so. That’s an argument on a premise, not ad hominem.
I have no qualms with practicing. That was not the issue. But jumping to the finish line and building a full barber shop in your garage when you’ve just explained you can’t afford school is not admirable in my opinion. I want to be a researcher: that’s why I’m at school. My degree has cost 40k. Would I convert my garage into a research lab or a scholars office full of unnecessary equipment and decoration to reach my goal or spend my money and time on school and necessary items? Aaron didnt need a barbershop in his garage to get practice. He needed a few tools and a chair. I knew a guy who wanted to be a musician and turned his room into a recording studio full of professional equipment instead of practicing and writing music. He was jumping to the finish line because work and patience was too hard. You see it all the time; the amateur who buys all the expensive hunting/painting/fishing etc equipment and bits and pieces instead of learning the skills he wants. Jumping to the finish line. And thanks to Disney no one can criticize anyone if “they’re following their dreams”. Even at AoM you can’t criticise without being hounded as a jealous psycho by people who presumably grew up thinking they were special and could do no wrong. They even wrote an article on it.

56 James B. June 12, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Being an American, I can’t speak on Australian laws, but it seems like nothing about this operation is illegal. In the US, posting a barber pole outside the building without being licensed would be illegal; charging customers without business permits and various licenses would be illegal; but considering he states his clientele is ‘family and friends’ and is ‘all donations’ he could technically just declare it a hobby without legal ramifications. A lot of guys I know aren’t ASE certified but sure do have a lot of tools to wrench on their cars and motorcycles (and do a damn good job using them), tools that they could one day take into the professional world if that’s the direction they desired to go.

I say, keep the cuts coming.

And, did I read a comment about US barbers not straight razor shaving because of AIDS? Really? Straight razors with disposable blades do exist. No honing is required and they’re completely sanitary. That sounds like a strange excuse.

57 Artifact June 12, 2011 at 11:55 pm

James, you’re correct. I made the call that he was conducting an illegal business when I was given the impression it was a working barbershop receiving payment from the public unregistered and unlicensed. Aaron has clarified this, and added information to the article. It was a misunderstanding that’s all.

58 Shaune Larder June 13, 2011 at 5:35 am

@Artifact Well, it seems that we are all getting closer to some consensus. I do agree that criticism should be taken like a man, but it should also be dished out constructively. I still think your initial criticisms of the author were too heavily barbed rather than constructive but I am willing to concede that the medium of internet forum can allow for these misunderstandings. There are many spammers and flamers on the net so the sensitivities can be higher strung.

Good luck with your Post-Grad in science. I am also studying a Post-Grad course
Good luck crafting your future to Artifact and Andy. Its great to see other AoM fans from Oz!

59 Artifact June 14, 2011 at 5:13 am

Shaune, I’ll concede my comments were more abrasive than they needed to be especially before a clear picture of the situation arose. I do maintain that this article, despite being an impressive and well carried out piece of DIY, in context is symptomatic of the impatient modern man too focused on instant results. We don’t need consensus, I’m happy to disagree but I do thank you for your measured response and I wish you the best in your studies.

60 Yates June 14, 2011 at 8:40 am

I would be interested to know what is involved in becoming a “Master Barber!” There could easily be several posts on different paths typically taken to arrive at various positions in life.

Thanks for the article!

61 Brandon June 14, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Aaron, your shop is incredible!! The level of detail shows your drive and skill. I can only imagine the quality already of your haircuts and shaves.


62 Extularean June 15, 2011 at 6:19 am


Well done. You have created a comfortable, creative, productive, and enriching environment in which to learn more about and develop your dream pursuit. You are lucky to have friends and family to help you gain experience and to support you along the way toward your goal.


If I were a betting man, I’d wager that you have purchased books- and a shelf on which to store them- in order to gain knowledge, university sweatshirts to wear while studying, and something like a poster or coffee mug relating to your school or field of research. I’d bet that you’ve even studied with other people. If I am correct, then you and @Aaron have a lot in common.

I send you both my best regards and wishes for the future,


63 Aaron R June 15, 2011 at 8:03 am

Hi Gents,

For those interested I have added a FB page on the shop with various photos of the build and I will certainly be adding more info as the week’s go on. It is also a place where you can ask me any specifics about obtaining materials or how I went about it all. Would be great to hear about your own shops and their progress too.

Thanks again to Brett for his support in posting the article, and the vast majority of readers who enjoyed the post. For those that didn’t enjoy it, I hope you can be half as happy as I am every time I walk into the shop, in whatever it is you have chosen to do.

Stay Manly


64 Chris Partida June 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Truly inspiring – and a great write up. Everything looks top notch, and very professional. Best of luck in your endeavor!

65 Eric Upchurch June 19, 2011 at 11:46 pm

I am really at a loss. First I must say re garage looks great and alot of thought went into this project.
Yet, I expected more from Brett and AoM. AoM has consistently supported barbershops and barbers, yet has published an article that encourages people to take a DIY approach in the garage. I know there is the whole disclaimer of “family and friends” and the fact that Aaron is planning on goin to school, but the article is encouraging a practice that could be illegal depending on local laws and harmful, if proper sanitation and safety measures aren’t practiced.
As a Barber, yes I admit it, these are the practices that we have to fight against. It doesn’t seem to hurt our business on the surface, but the arguments expressed here already are the same ones that have caused barber boards and cosmetology boards to combine in so many states already. These mergers mean barbering is not taught, shaving along with the other manly traditions found only in barbershops will cease to exist. The argument will always come from the otherside ” it’s just a haircut, why should it be regulated.” The momentum will come from men that will one day walk into my shop, and wonder why shaves are no longer legal.

66 Chris June 20, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Awesome work mate. Well Done!

67 The Dude June 23, 2011 at 8:36 am

Really? A science lab is a far cry from a Barbershop. How did barbers start to begin with? Hmm let me think, oh yeah, some guy (or Gal) decided they wanted to cut hair. It’s only our fear of failure, protect us from our self’s society, that dreamed people setting out to chase their dreams as bad. I say to you and yours, crawl back under your rock and let the real people live our own lives. I give major cu do’s to this gentleman. By the way, the $2500 bucks he spent on his garage is less than I spend on my hobby per month and a far cry less than the 14k to have someone teach him what can be learned on his own.

P.S. I know this antagonistic but I just can’t help myself. 40k for your education? Where did you go Wal-Mart?

68 Artifact June 23, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Dude. It’s called Australia. It’s called subsidized education. And no it’s not a fear of failure, it’s Disney that is responsible for the notion that as long as youre following your dreams then everything is fine. This is not the little mermaid, leave your childish fantasies at the door. There’s mature ways of achieving goals and then there’s immature ones. Yeah maybe the first barber did that in his mud hut. Yet for the last couple of thousand years a man would learn a trade as an apprentice, which you can still do today. Why? Because he needed training and tools and a workplace that he couldn’t just go buy with that spare $2.5k he didn’t have lying around and then cry poor about. Now we also have schools and regulations. But no let’s just go back to the good old days of limited opportunities and options and just let everyone “follow their dreams” and do what they want immediately in their garage. If I had a 14k dream I couldn’t afford I wouldn’t spend 1/6 of that on unnecessary fantasy. I’d put it in the bank and add to it every week. You know, the way an adult achieves their goals?

69 Bill June 24, 2011 at 11:20 am

Looking forward to Artifact’s article on AoM…. Oh wait, he has nothing to share. How about you don’t come back till you have the guts to feature your ‘interest’ for the world to see?

70 Aaron R June 24, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Just a quick update, my barbershop is soon to be featured in international press and also an upcoming magazine spread in Australia. So don’t worry about the nitpickers, for I have definitely had the last laugh and couldn’t have imagined how warmly received my shop has been received by the wider community so thank you.


71 Artifact June 26, 2011 at 6:26 am

Well Bill thanks for your input to the site, really insightful stuff. I wasn’t aware you needed to write articles on the website in order to comment. Do we always have to pat each other on the back and say what special clever men we all are? I don’t know why so many on this site are terrified of criticism; it’s nauseating. If you want to dispute what I’ve said please do so, otherwise quit being a bitch and go read the art-of-childishness.
Aaron. Well done on the magazine spread. You assume I want you to fail. I do not.

72 Brett McKay June 26, 2011 at 1:31 pm


Are you really still commenting? The only thing that’s nauseating is your strange lack of self-awareness and humility. You have cast yourself in the role of intellectual martyr, where people are criticizing you simply because you made an unpopular argument. In reality, they are piling on you because your argument is absolutely nonsensical and you have failed to make any valid points whatsoever. Please, please move on.

73 Guy June 26, 2011 at 9:43 pm

A hearty congratulations and a sincere good luck to you! Very industrious.

74 Mike June 29, 2011 at 3:26 am

That is pretty cool. I am really impressed that you managed to make your garage look so nice. I wish you the best of luck in barber school.

75 The Dude June 29, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Are you really criticizing him for success? I see, as long as you can project your own failures on others you live a happy life. It makes sense now. Keep up that underachiever attitude and go collect your Government welfare check. Meanwhile people will actually go out and try to succeed, and sometimes fail, so you can sit around and be safe off the sweat of others. I think Brett gave you too much credit using the work intellectual. The world would be a dismal place if people didn’t follow their dreams and risk failure. Not everyone can sit around living off others, some of us go out and take risks. Its called life, try it sometime.

Good job Aaron, congratulations keep up the good fight.

76 BumbleBee January 3, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Aaron, I tip my hat to you… I am a certified loctician and natural hair care provider. I’ve been doing hair for many, many years in my home and have recently decided to convert my garage into a salon. I was pursuing the website for gargae conversions and found this article. I love it and it has inspired me to follow my dream and keep my vision alive! Kudos to you!

77 The_Outlaw January 12, 2013 at 7:30 pm

As a current Tonsorial Student myself, I must say that I’m very impressed with this gnetleman’s garage barbershop. It is very cool and has helped to inspire me to meet my own goals. Congratulations to you sir and keep up the great work.
To the over bloviated ‘Artifact’ is must say this; “Chill out and stop being such an uptight windbag”.

78 Dougal November 2, 2013 at 1:17 am

wow…the above has been quite the read..all i can say Aaron is that your article has caught my attention and at the right time in my life..I’ve really needed the motivation to get myself focused..I’ve always wanted to be a barber..i have someone to give me instruction and i have friends who are willing to be practiced on (hehe!)..just needed something to give me that extra sharing your project with us has done just that…i truely thank you

79 Robert-Curz January 14, 2014 at 10:20 am

Awesome well detail Post, My brother is also a barber, recently he opened a barbershop. Would like to share this post to him. Thanks..

80 Mike January 26, 2014 at 12:48 pm

This barbershop is remarkable, I love the detail and the dream. I’m not sure however that giving unlicensed haircuts and especially shaves is a fantastic idea.. Up here in Canada our colleges offer Co-Op (cooperative education) opportunites similar to an apprenticeship. One would spend 9 months in a work environment (making a reasonable amount of money) and then the remainder of the year in the classroom. I may be wrong but I believe it’s a 2 year program here. Does Australia offer similar opportunities? Most cases the college students here will break even for their schooling and living expenses (granted they aren’t living in houses with two cars and a garage).

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