In this shop tour I want to cover several things. The first being shop layout, but I also want to cover shop organization and shop space. My shop is twenty feet by twenty feet with nine foot ceilings. So, first let me mention the reason I went through a total shop re-arrangement. I recently upgraded my wood lathe and wanted to move it to another location in the shop, so… that one move turned into moving this tool over there and moving that tool over here and well, you get the point. Before I knew it I had re-arranged my entire shop, removed a piece of shop furniture AND took out a few interior walls. Yes, I tore down a closet and an entire dedicated sheet goods wood storage area. At first I thought, where in the world will I store all of my lumber? What I didn’t realize was that I was dedicating a three foot by four foot area that really wasn’t being utilized. I had a lot of “junk” thrown into these bins that were supposedly for wood storage. I also had a lumber rack on the opposite side of the shop that could be purged of all the “scraps” I had apparently saved since I started woodworking. So, as you can imagine this wasn’t just a simple shop improvement. I literally touched everything in my shop and moved everything with the exception of the table saw and outfeed table to a different location in the shop. Now, my main goal here was to get the most out of my space and to also have a good work flow in place. In addition to those things I also wanted to improve the dust collection performance, improve the lighting, and provide a better experience for the students that would be taking classes in my shop. I honestly believe I accomplished all of these things, but I will say that as time goes on and my needs change there will be times when I will move things around to find a better solution. Below are a few storage solutions I aim to keep.
As I introduced the shop tour in the video I’m standing in front of the clamp wall and sticker door, which leads to the bathroom. The ceiling to this room doesn’t meet the shop ceiling providing a dedicated space for the shop air cleaner and a small amount of miscellaneous storage. Also, on this upper wall is a mini split air conditioner and heater unit. Just below this space in the east and north corner of the shop, there is a sink with a point of use water heater, a few organizational cubbies and a shop rag dispenser made out of a cheese ball container. Opposite of the sink is a short metal cabinet where I store all of my paints, stains, pastes and anything related to finishing. Sitting directly on top of the finishing cabinet is the shop mini fridge. Continuing down the north wall from right to left past the fridge is a window with a little unclaimed space below. To the left of the window is a wooden cabinet secured to the wall that holds random shop stuff, this is where the dart board hangs after hours ;). Below the cabinet is an old Craftsman six inch jointer on a homemade mobile base. For now, I have bucket under the jointer for quick jobs, but I have the option to connect it to the portable dust collector that sits just a few feet away down the north wall. Between the jointer and portable dust collector sits a Craftsman thirteen inch planer on a cantilever cart. The cart has a few shelves built in to hold several boards and other wood worth saving. Past the dust collector next to the garage door is the wood lathe. This is the tool that started the shop re-arrangement. It’s a ten inch Turncrafter Commander, model number KWL-1018VS (the vs stands for variable speed). So far, I’m happy with the purchase. In this corner I have all of my pen turning supplies, and other things related to the lathe. The reason I wanted to place the cart by the garage door is to take advantage of the easy clean up by sweeping everything outside, but also to enjoy turning with the door up on a nice cool day. The cart has casters, so I can also wheel it around to face into the shop for demonstrations and for videoing. In the previous shop setup this wall of the shop was taken up by an old conference table turned into a miter saw station that offered very little storage. I removed the entire table and relocated the miter saw to a different area in the shop, which I will get to next. Having a miter saw station can be very beneficial, but only if it includes storage solutions like the Jay Bates design. On the upper side of this wall is the lumber rack. I have two rungs of lumber storage stretching ten feet across.
Moving to the opposite side of the shop, the south end has a few more tools and a workbench. Starting on the right side of the south wall is where the main dust collector and separator lives. I currently have the Harbor Freight two horse power unit with a Wynn Environmental filter upgrade and a 55 gallon plastic drum as the separator. There is one dust collection line attached to this collector, which goes to the bandsaw, drill press, table saw, router and down draft table with each tool having it’s own blast gate. Directly above the dust collector is a storage area where more random shop stuff is stored. Moving to the left of the dust collector is a mobile cart where I have the miter saw mounted. This cart provides a small footprint with some storage for other things related to the saw and a dedicated shop vac. For my shop size, this setup has worked out very well. Next to the miter saw is my fourteen inch Grizzly Bandsaw, model number G0555LANV. I am loving this bandsaw so far. I also have the riser block kit installed, which gives me a full twelve inch re-saw capacity. I can’t complain there. Moving on down the line, next to the bandsaw is the very first thing built in this shop, which is a two by four and plywood workbench. The bench is twelve feet long and two feet from the wall, so I have a lot of flat surface to cover up with junk. Seriously, it provides a nice area to work on different things and offers a great place to have several stations. For example, my bench top drill press is next to my bandsaw on the end of the bench where I have everything drill press related on the tool wall and on the bench. In addition to the surface area, theres also a shelf below the bench top where I store more drilling related tools. On down the wall there is more tool storage including screw drivers, pliers, hammers, mallets, saws, general chisels and really everything else that needs to be easily accessible. I also attach some of the drill bit cases directly to the tool wall with screws for easy storage of all those small drill bits. Attached to the middle of the bench is a leg vise made by Jay Bates. We recorded a collaboration video installing it in my shop. We installed the vise on this workbench because of its stability. The bench is attached to a framework of two by fours, which is attached to the brick wall. The leg of the bench makes contact with the concrete floor giving us a rock solid location for the leg vise. That pretty much covers the south wall of the shop.
The other half of the east wall that I mentioned earlier is where I made a dedicated space for a work desk and to store sheet goods. In the upper corner of the south and east wall is where I have all of the electronics including a smart tv, internet router and radio. Just below and to the left a little is the drill charging station. This station includes a couple of dust free bins, a storage shelf for screws and brad nails, four drill hangers and enough room to hang five air tools. The top shelf is where I keep the batteries and chargers. Moving slightly to the left is my work desk. I created a desk by attaching a piece of melamine to the wall by way of a cleat and attaching two iron pipes as legs to the front. This is where I edit my videos, make sketches, do computer work and anything related to the business. I also have a window for natural light and desk lamp when I pull all nighters (just kidding). Directly to the left of the desk is the bathroom and this is where I store my sheet goods. I have enough room for five to six sheets of plywood and I just slide them in between the desk and the bathroom wall.
As for the center of the shop, I have my Delta table saw, model number 36-725 along with my Outfeed Assembly Table. The outfeed assembly table is the single most used space in my shop. I have plans for this table listed on my website as a single plan, but also listed in conjunction with Jays router lift plan as a Bundled Plan Package. I include my router fence plan with both options. This table has several built in features such as a down draft area, router lift, four drawers, eight cubbies for hand held power tools, three electrical outlets, several shelves for storage, a pen and pencil tray and a vise with dog holes. There’s no racking this table as it’s heavy as a traditional workbench. It’s easily my most favorite space in the shop. I didn’t cover the west side of the shop where my garage and entry doors are because there are no tools in that location. I previously had my planer and jointer there, but moved them to the north wall.
Lighting and Electrical
To round out the shop tour let me cover the lighting. Currently I have three rows of two four foot T8 fixtures with “daylight” 6500k bulbs. All of the fixtures are plug and play. The two outside rows are operated by a single switch and the center row is operated by a separate switch. I can use this setup when different lighting methods are used for videoing or when I need to work on one section of the lights, but still need lights in the shop. As far as electrical is concerned, I won’t go into any specifics, but I will cover the overall plan. I have a mini wall right next to my entry door where the sub-panel is located. I have access to the wall cavity by removing four screws above the electrical panel where all of the wiring is located to add or remove runs as needed.
Other scenes from around the shop
The sign above and the hat rack below were made for me by my buddy Steve Carmichael.
The above sign was made by my good friend Jason Barlow. It was the first sign in the shop.
Watch the 2016 Shop Tour here: https://youtu.be/4lv1hqsw7nI
Watch the 2017 Shop Tour here: https://youtu.be/P6MaJATwO0Q
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