The result is Philadelphia Woodworks, 8,000 square feet at 4901 Umbria St. in Manayunk with 17-foot ceilings and three walls of huge windows letting in natural light.
The turn-of-the-20th-century space, most recently home to Don's Salads, took seven months and the efforts of Vogel, dedicated volunteers, and hired professionals to gut, clean up, and reconstruct.
About 5,600 square feet is shop space - 2,500 finished so far and 2,000 square feet under renovation as a second shop and school - with 1,000 square feet of storage. There is a lounge, a kitchen, and a lumberyard, as well as an art and furniture gallery.
Equipment is state of the art, Vogel said: table saws; jointers; planers; panel, miter and band saws; router tables; and a dust-collection system that he wishes he'd had in his dining room.
"I'm not an entrepreneur," he said, but "just became attached to an idea," which involved moving from the "stability of a job to a capital-intensive start-up - exactly the opposite of where I had started."
Vogel left the world of finance last year to begin working on that idea. In the eight months since acquiring the Umbria Street space, he's worked seven days a week, taking off just eight days.
"It doesn't feel like work," he said, pointing to handcrafted shop tables and lockers for members, and the wooden railings he fabricated with the help of a dozen volunteers who shared his vision.
More people volunteered "than I could handle," he said.
Some were complete strangers, including Jason Pemberton, who walked into the foyer/gallery/reception room during an interview to ask Vogel a question.
"He's all about reclaimed material," Vogel said, pointing to stacks of storm-salvaged redwood, pine from the Baltimore Harbor, and a "broad spectrum" of hardwoods available for members to purchase for their projects.
"We have a source of white oak, too, because there are a lot of people in the area using it to build boats," he said.
The staff includes business manager Emily Duncan, who has a degree in architectural studies from Philadelphia University; shop manager Jeremy Cox, with a master of fine arts from Wisconsin; and construction manager Paul Grodziak, a graduate of the Tyler School of Art.
Although a "grand opening" is set for April 22, the shop has been in operation for slightly more than a month. Membership, which ranges from beginners to experts, ranges in "the low 30s" so far, Vogel said. Not a big number, but he added that a members shop in Sunnyvale, Calif., that served as a model took four months to sign up 30.
Vogel is depending on social media to promote the workshop ( http://www.philadelphiawoodworks.com), as well as postcards.
In addition to the California shop, there are a half-dozen others around the country, the closest to Philadelphia being in the Maryland suburbs of Washington.
"These are traditional shops, not schools," Vogel said, adding that he "had become long-term partners" with some of them, which "serve as sounding boards on how they handle maintenance and other issues."
An Internet check shows that membership costs for Philadelphia Woodworks are comparable to those of the other shops. For example, $129 a month will get a member unlimited access, while a day pass (opening to closing) is $79.
Hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. How many members can the shop accommodate?
"I can't tell what that number would be, but the 'party line' is that we'll stop if it looks like it is becoming congested," Vogel said.
Other woodshops have 250 to 400 members and "much less space," he said.
Contact Alan J. Heavens at 215-854-2472, firstname.lastname@example.org or@alheavens at Twitter.