Shop updates – Summer 2018

Since I moved into the new shop, it has really been about starting back on projects and also getting the little things done to get the shop finished. I took a couple afternoons one weekend and made a few adjustments that greatly increase usability.

First up is adding mobility to my drill press. I used four stem casters from Harbor Freight so that I could move the drill press around a bit better. Very useful upgrade, even if it isn’t the most stable thing. This comes from the casters not being double-locking, which I will address once I find a good sale on them from my usual source, Peachtree Woodworking.

Along with the mobility, I finally fixed the drill press table. I rounded the corners at the front, and more securely attached it to the factory table. This was something that was much needed as well.

Multiple years ago, I designed this router table as the final iteration. However, that doesn’t mean it is done. It still needs doors on the router cubby and lower portion. It also never got a miter slot, which I decided to address. I used the Festool OF1400 and a rail, and aligned the slot with the front edge of the plate. Going slowly, this worked great, and I inserted an Incra track to match the fence.

Another big upgrade I wanted to make was to allow the back of the Incra fence to slide under the miter saw. As it stood for awhile, it would make contact with the supports. So, I raised the router table up 3/4″ to better match the table saw, and also raised the miter saw up about 1″. Now, the fence can go all the way back so that I don’t have to do as much moving around for table saw cuts to clear. I then adjusted the miter saw back flush with the cabinets for proper support.

I also finally installed the wood rack upstairs and brought over all the wood on it.

That’s about it for this time out. Here are some fairly clean shop pics to round things out.

 

Working in the New Shop – Upgrades – NSLL #4

I’d love to be able to sit here and say I get to spend other people’s money to outfit my shop, but it’s not true. I am not sponsored, I am not gifted things outside of my family. While this does mean that my wallet takes a hit each time I buy something, I’m also not beholden to use anyone’s products over any others. As such, I always choose what is best for me at the time based on need and price. Sometimes I spend more to get the best, sometimes I have to make do with a cheaper solution. I also am not stuck using something that doesn’t work, unless I can’t afford anything better.

I’ve done lists before where I went through all the tools I have now and talk about them, but this time I am just going to talk about things I have my eye on and why. This is in no particular order again except for how it comes to the top of my head.

Festool TSC 55

Here’s your trigger warning for Festool products if you are afflicted. One of the issues I have for the foreseeable future is the inability to break down sheet goods away from a power source. I was intrigued by Ryobi’s brushless 18v saw, and making an adapter to go on the Festool track, but then I remembered why I bought the TS55 (my first Festool) in the first place: my disappointment using a clamp and guide for the saw I had. I can cheap out and try to make something work, or spend the money and get something I know will do exactly what I need.

The TSC 55 also comes with a dust bag, so I can also use this outside on the table and not get dust all over the workpiece or myself when breaking down large sheet goods at home. This will also come with me to any set work I have to do at the church or theater.

I actually decided in the course of writing this to order one, along with two older clearance batteries. Looking forward to taking advantage. I did miss out on a really good deal that was posted just after I got the ship confirmation. Story of my life.

Festool 2700/3000 FS Rail

This goes along with the above, for being able to rip sheet goods in one pass. This is a bit of a luxury item, for as long as I am good with my marks I can get a pretty straight cut re-positioning the rail. This will also open up the ability to more efficiently use the sheet goods being able to make combination cuts instead of all crosscuts first. This rail will also be good for 5×5 baltic birch. The difference between the two is that the 3000 is better suited for 8′ rip cuts with the TS75, which may or may not eventually make it into the shop.

Festool HKC 55

More Festool. This one will be a luxury as well, but on the last set of stairs I did, I wasn’t happy with either my regular circular saw nor the TS55. As such, I’ll be upgrading at some point. This could be more of a long term prospect, depending on needs. Since I’ll already have a cordless TSC, I’ll be going with the cordless version of the HK as well. These can use the same rails as the TS, but getting the rails suited for this will be a necessity if this saw finds a home in the shop. If dealers are still doing it, I may pay the difference to get the next longest rail.

Laguna 14|12

I desperately need a new bandsaw, and this is as nice and in my theoretical price range as any. I need one that will actually resaw straight up and down so I don’t waste a ton of wood resawing. The Harbor Freight bandsaw has served it’s purpose, it’s time to upgrade. I might get $100 for the old one with the 6″ height extension. I need to stick with a 110v motor, and this is the best one I know of.

The Veritas Catalog

Going to replace pretty much the entire collection of what I have now with upgraded units from Lee Valley. I like when things match. Low angle block, low angle jack, bevel up jointer are all on the menu among others. I have to seriously upgrade my hand tool game to advance my skills and my abilities, and a lot of that has to do with better quality irons that hold an edge better. I have seen better results already with the router plane and shoulder plane I’ve purchased.

Festool Domino XL

Another in the “down the line” pickups. Will need this for the larger projects I have had on my to-do list forever, like a King bed frame. Luxury purchase. This could also play a role in the workbench build, but I’m not far along in my planning for that. This would also work for making doors, if ever I get into that situation.

New Jointer

My Craftsman 6-1/8″ jointer might need to be replaced due to the fence, and I can’t guarantee really any complete flatness of the tables either. I would like to increase capacity to 8″, but that will depend on if I am still in this shop due to both space and power requirements. The European combination machines look really sweet, but I would need permanent 220/240v power.

The other option is to just make do until I get a new shop by getting a really nice #7 Veritas and using it to follow up anything on the jointer. Or try and grind out the issue with the fence, but that could be expensive.

Festool Rotex 150

I need an aggressive sander, and using my 150/3 as one will eventually wear it out. Pretty simple, perhaps I can pick up a refurb one at some point. This uses the same paper I have, so no huge expense at least with consumables.

Disc/Belt Sander

Dead useful, and hopefully I can make a spot for a small one.

Likely next shop additions

New table saw/new miter saw

These are the lowest priority for me. The table saw will wait until I have a 220v hookup, as the next saw I buy I want to be my last. It will be a 3 or 5HP SawStop. I don’t know if I want a new miter saw or not. I’d like one with better dust collection, but I also know that I should see how something like the HKC works to see if I even need a miter saw in the future. The responsible thing for me to do is to be patient and see how everything plays out. It may be that I either keep what I have or not use one at all.

Wide Belt Sander

Sadly, will have to wait for the new shop, but I desperately want one.

CNC

Another one for the next shop file, I’ve seen quite a bit of intriguing stuff made with it, and it seems like it would be a great addition to the shop for truly custom stuff.

Working in the New Shop – Projects – NSLL #3

These are only projects related to the shop, but not related to structure completion. Some of these are just general ideas at this point, and is just the order they fall out of my brain.

Fine Woodworking Tool Cabinet

I’m largely sticking to the script on this one, and focusing on getting the details right. The internals can be massaged a bit to fit my needs, I just need to lay out what my eventual inventory will be to make sure things will fit. Once that’s done, I can start stocking the lumber. Could be cherry or walnut, depending on what’s on sale. I’m looking forward to this one testing my hand tool skills, particularly with dovetails. This will replace my plane till, and perhaps the thousand chisels I have will fit – that’s been my biggest deterrent to starting. Once complete, the back wall will be markedly different.

Outdoor Table

Mentioned in the Technique post, I need an outdoor table that I can break sheet goods down on, do some light assembly and/or finishing on. Nothing fancy, but it needs to be flat, stable, level, and stand up to the elements.

Redo Chaos Wall

This is a maybe, but something I’d like to do if the funds are there. The entire right side of the shop needs some help, and what better way to do it than to do it all over again with a cohesive plan. I love the systainer storage, but everything else could use some work.

New Workbench

This is going to be inevitable at some point. I built my workbench as my first one, never my last. I used cheaper materials to help get my feet wet and build my skills. At some point the soft Douglas fir would have to be replaced by a denser, more expensive material. I don’t have a final design for this, nor a time frame. The Roubo and Shaker designs are leading the way, and perhaps I should focus on getting the rest of the shop’s storage capabilities sorted out to see if I need all the drawers a Shaker-style workbench would bring. Marc Spagnuolo did a really great version of the Roubo, and I’ve seen several good versions of the Shaker.

Deck

This technically isn’t completely shop related, but it will play a big part. The area in front of the shop is very uneven, mostly involving some slope down to the house. This means that everything outside is not level, there’s a nice step down out of the shop, and generally the backyard is a mess. Well, I plan to build a freestanding deck just outside of the shop that I can wheel projects or tools out on, set up level outdoor cutting (like a table mentioned above), and relax and perhaps have a fire pit with. It will go a long way to helping the resale value of the house as well, which is a nice benefit. With a shiny new deck of course I will likely have to build deck furniture.

Shed

Finally, I’ll need to build something tidy for my yard equipment to go in. This is going to be small enough to not piss the neighbors off, but big enough where a push mower can go in. This is pretty low on the list right now, but it could be a place where the lathe can go temporarily as well.

Working in the New Shop – Technique – NSLL #2

I have a 12×12 shop, a touch less than 144 square feet (a touch over 41 square meters). Obviously, there’s quite a few challenges I have faced working in that small of a space. Some have thought my attempts foolish, some have thought it inspirational. I wanted to share the things I’ve learned over the course of now two shops, and what still could use some work.

Being in this small of a space, breaking down sheet goods is a very big challenge. In fact, it’s the biggest challenge I have. This was a much bigger issue before I bought my Festool track saw. I had to use another solution that involved a guide, and an attachment to my circular saw. The problem was it wasn’t accurate, and it was frustrating to use. So, I bought the Festool TS55, the 1900 (75″) guide rail, and I was on my way. I would set up my Centipede work table with some foam on top, and do my cross cuts first, then my rip cuts either inside or out, depending on how big they were. I have moved on to a cheap and quick outdoor table made of 2x4s for stability, but otherwise this is the setup I use to this day.

Well, let me talk about the challenges this presents. First, the table I’m using isn’t put together well, so it is in danger of falling apart. Worse, it is on the slope of the same hill I had to deal with when I was building my shop. The top is slick, so things tend to slide and fall off constantly. I either need to account for the slope or fix the slope. I’ll be fixing the slope, even though it’s the harder thing to do. I’d love to rent a skid steer (and I may), but likely I will be doing this by hand. I dread that, but I can’t afford the rental. With the slope level, I can build some sort of outdoor cutting/assembly solution. I will work out either a tacky solution to keep things from sliding, or use the rigid foam. I would also like a shelf where I can sit the tool I’m using, either the track saw or the jigsaw. A couple of nail holes to sit the level, straight edge, or square that I need for the job so they don’t get set on the ground or fall off.

I did not account for two things with my outdoor work, though. One is a power outlet. I did not think that using an extension cord into the shop, then another extension cord via an outdoor outlet was a good idea, so I didn’t plan for that. As for right now, power still comes from an extension cord from my shop to what I’m doing through the door. I can also pull the original cord providing power to the shop, but that then cuts off power to things that might be running in the background like the air conditioner or compressor. It is something I will have to think on. The other issue is dust collection. For the tracksaw, this is a big issue, as the dust is thrown all over the guide rail, the workpiece, and me. It creates a big mess, and while there is a conversion kit, it’s nearly $60. The cordless version, of course, comes with one. Buying the cordless one is a big consideration at this point due to the ability it would give to breaking down sheet goods at the point of purchase. Not having a truck, this is a big deal. I’ll be discussing purchases in depth on another day.

Breaking down dimensional lumber is another pain, with my cheap circular saw, and not always enough room with my miter saw. Purchasing the Festool HKC is also a consideration, but it is more of a convenience thing at this point, something I can live without for a bit longer. The FSK rails with the preset angles seems nice, though.

Moving to the inside of the shop itself, I did touch on a few issues in the previous entry. If I want to cut longer pieces on the table saw, I have to make sure the router table fence is out of the way. If I can adjust the miter saw mount, I can get this fence out of the way no problem. Keeping the tables clean is a bigger challenge. I do need to raise the router table up slightly, or figure out some way that the pieces I use on the table don’t interfere with the table saw. They need to be virtually equal in height for this to work, or for whichever one I work on to be higher at that moment. Haven’t quite figured out how to bend time and space like that. The router table does move, so it hasn’t been a deal breaker to this point.

Putting wheels on the MFT really freed up the ability to cut longer stock, but my ability to cut wider stock is still hampered by the fence and attachment points for the track. I plan on solving this by buying Parf Dogs as demonstrated by their creator, Peter Parfitt on his YouTube channel. He’s English, which means I already like him, but he’s a great study on how to make really nice stuff and explained in a clear manner. Hopefully one day we can meet up, perhaps I can take a visit to his shop.

I will at some point end up upgrading my workbench, but for now the biggest help I can do for it is to try and keep it cleaner. Same thing for the miter saw, except I do need to fix the outfeed side of the shelf to be even with the saw. The jointer has some issues, but I can move things around enough to use it, and the planer too.

Otherwise, for technique and the ability to do things, I’m in pretty good shape. Of course, I don’t have a drum sander or anything like that, so I have to do the best I can. There are some tweaks to where I store things, which ties back into the layout post, but overall I’m very happy with my shop to this point. I do realize that some of my posts in this series might overlap, but they are all interconnected.

Working in the New Shop – Layout – NSLL #1

New Shop Lessons Learned

Being limited to the same footprint as the old shop left me with a challenge – how do I justify building a new shop in the same footprint but be able to make it actually work for me? I had the ability, working from scratch, of designing a floor layout plus building up and adding storage ability. These are the lessons I took from the old shop, how I applied them to the new shop, and the improvements I think I can make after about seven months of working in it fully.

The layout in my old shop was an absolute mess. It looked like it might work when rendered, but in actuality small details really just made it too cramped.

The space on the left was very, very close to the most accurate representation of my last setup in the old shop. The space on the right is an early thought process of how things might be in a new shop (I made this before the new shop was begun). The obvious thing that makes a difference is that the lathe isn’t involved, which is true to this day – it’s still in the old shop, awaiting a resolution. But there are things not obvious in these renders. The small things.

In the old shop, I had a dust extraction setup of a vac and a separator, and these were on the floor under things. The old shop had a low pitch roof with very little space above the rafters (such as the were). As such, I had no other choice, and these were the biggest things you can’t see on the render. One was under the end of the workbench, the other the end of the table saw. But neither went under completely, and made moving things around very hard. So, the first design decision I made for the new shop was to have a true attic space so that I could install a true dust extractor – I was pretty sure the vac suction wouldn’t work.

Indeed, in October I bought the extractor and plumbed pipe in November. I also figured the air compressor that peeks out in the upper left corner in the left shop could go upstairs as well, and that has saved even more room.

The other thing to this point that I’ve done differently with the setup is not have any (or much, at least) scrap hanging around. The wood rack is also going to be installed upstairs, so that clears a good bit of wall real estate. But in the old shop there was entirely too much plywood scrap that I had no other resolution for – all that is still in the old shop and needs to be dealt with. In the new shop, I will need to be much better about getting rid of scrap plywood and not letting it pile up. You can see it even in the picture below.

Otherwise, the layout involves the same things and is as below, generally. Not everything is rendered.

So, what have I learned?

The first thing I’ve learned is that I love the flexibility. I can move my router table, MFT sysport, and table saw however I need to work. Things aren’t perfect, though. The bandsaw and drill press need to be more mobile, so I need to add casters in some way.  For the bandsaw, this will easily allow cutting of long or wide stock. Similar story for the drill press. Otherwise, the location of these is pretty much perfect. Building the MFT Sysport and Boom Arm has really taken the mobility of the MFT to where it has always needed to be.  The clamp rack I built has been a game changer, and again something I wish I had done a long time ago. There’s little about the left side of the shop that I would change.

The rear of the shop needs a minor bit of improvement. There’s the hand tool cabinet that is still on my to-do list, plus the drawers underneath my workbench aren’t the absolute best. There’s some poorly organized wall space there. There’s no real lessons here except that I could do a better job organizing my space. Particularly if on my next workbench it doesn’t have drawers or anything like that.

The real lessons can be taken from the remainder of the space. The right side of the shop was moved in it’s entirety over from the old shop like it was in Sketchup, with it formerly being on the left side of the shop. Nothing changed. The systainer cabinet, the upper cabinet, the miter saw station, the part above the jointer…it all came right over as it was. There have been some issues with that. The third systainer rack, the one closest to the miter saw, is only single depth. This was because I had to store the mortiser back there. Speaking of which, it’s just sitting on the shelf above the jointer. The shelf isn’t level or even with the miter saw, at all. The systainer racks could use a redo, to put more mounting holes in there as well – that could be something I could do in-place, and add a full depth unit on the end. That would certainly save money considering how expensive plywood is these days. The upper cabinets aren’t very efficient. The finishing cabinet, situated above the miter saw, is not in a good spot.

The miter saw where it attaches to the wall is also about an inch too high – if it were to be lowered, I could slide the Incra fence rail under it so I can rip items on the table saw easier.

In other words, that entire half of the shop could do with a comprehensive redo. A full design from scratch, that allows elements to work together, is the best way forward, even if it does mean more money, time, and materials wasted.

In reality though, the tweaks that absolutely have to be done are minor, but the concept of how to do them well is difficult. It just might be easier long term to do things the right way, which is something that is pretty consistently true.

 

 

The New Shop – Six months in

Although I hadn’t had a ton of time in the shop over the winter, it is right about six months since the interior of the shop has become useful. I covered what is left to be done for the structure, but there are a number of observations I can share with the time I’ve had.

First up are tool observations. I have noticed that the fence on my jointer might be slightly warped toward the end. I honestly don’t know how big of an issue this is, but it’s something to be aware of. I don’t know if this is something that can be fixed, needs to be fixed, or if I will have to replace. I had wanted to upgrade to an 8″ helical jointer in a new shop, as that requires 220v and a bit more room. If I absolutely have to upgrade before then, I will. The shop layout is pretty set at this point, so I have a finite space for it to go and that spot isn’t going to change. I have no idea what brand I would buy at any rate.

My table saw is working great, although the dust collection isn’t ideal even with a collector. I need to seal up the carcass if possible, or something. Can’t do a whole lot about overarm dust collection at the moment, but it might be possible to do something with the line that is branched above the right side miter saw support. My biggest upgrades here lie in making jigs. I made a tall fence support when I made the flag case, but that could be improved upon. I need to make a taper/line jig, and a crosscut sled might not be a bad idea either. Storing these things could present an issue though. I do have some storage space along the front wall or on the doors if I put a cover on them. I could explore extending the table on it with something DIY if I so chose.

My router situation is just fine, including the table. I do want to replace the top with an Incra unit, so that I can put in an Incra plate with their downdraft insert system. The carcass of the table is doing exceptionally well, but it could stand to be raised up a bit to match the table saw. I have plenty of plywood scrap to do this. I also need a door on the router cavity, plus either a drawer or a door on the lower storage section.

My bandsaw absolutely needs to be replaced at this point. It doesn’t resaw at 90 degrees to the table, which means I am wasting a ton of material having to plane down to even. A 2″ thick board will only yield two 5/8″ boards, which is nearly 33% wasted board. I am looking at the Laguna 14|12 as a replacement and hoping to sell this one for a little bit to offset cost. It’s a good bandsaw for curving cuts and etc, just not for tall stuff. Perhaps I can sell it with the lathe as a package.

The drill press is fine. The miter saw is okay. I’d like to replace it, but other costs are way more important. The Makita saw is very nice looking, and that would probably be my choice. Or perhaps a Kapex if I had a bit more confidence in it.

I’m pretty happy with my small tools, but I would like to add. The big Domino, a Rotex 150 are at the top of the list. Another smaller sander like the RTS or Rotex 90 might be options down the line. Otherwise, my small tool outlay is on point. I would like to upgrade my multifunction tool to a Fein or something at some point, but I use it so little it isn’t a big deal.

The main point of focus over the next few months are sorting out some storage opportunities. My miter saw wall needs to be rebuilt, and I’ve gotten a few good tips on how to make it more efficient. There will be more spots for systainers or drawers on bottom, and more cohesive storage up top. The right side will be better built as well. I will be building a MFT sysport so that I can get some more storage and it can move out of the way of the attic ladder.

I will also start to think about how I will replace my workbench. If I need under storage, what it will be, what it will be made of, etc. Early stages on this, and it needs to be after the other main projects.

This weekend, and this coming week, I’ll start designing and laying out the things I need to do in both the house and the shop.

The Once and Future Router

Back in 2015, I bought a new router…then I decided that I wanted to go in a different direction. The goal was to replace my Ryobi One+ trim router, and the Dewalt 611 was nice. But I decided to go with the Festool OF1010 instead. Why? Because it offered a slick way to get hardwood trimmed flush, and that’s what I needed to accomplish at the time.  So the Ryobi lived on, because there are some things you just need a smaller, lighter router for.

After using the Ryobi for the last two years and on, and on the new shop itself, it had begun to show signs of wear. The batteries more than the router, but I was having to stop and restart the router frequently to get through a project. The  thicker material was I needing to use it on was just too much for the aging battery system. It was finally time to replace it, and I decided to go with the same Dewalt 611 I had tried before.

I really liked the router when I bought it the first time. LEDs for great visibility, available dust collection attachments for the fixed and plunge base, precision depth control, available edge guides…it really is a premium compact router platform. I had bought the 611PK set, which was the fixed and plunge base. I had also ordered the dust collection for the fixed base, and the edge guide. I returned everything but the dust collection, as Amazon told me just to keep it. So, because of that, and the good impression it made on me before, I ordered it again at nearly the same price I had paid two years earlier. I also ordered the plunge base dust collection, but not the edge guide just yet.

I’m going to be really happy with this, and it should last me a very long time. With the dust collection, the Festool and Bosch 27mm hoses don’t perfectly fit the Dewalt adapter, but that’s where a Bosch vac adapter comes into play, the VAC003. This little adapter works for a ton of tools, including my Craftsman jigsaw and oscillating tool. I should order a couple more of these when they go on sale, and just keep them permanently attached to the tools they fit on.

This will probably be my last tool purchase of the year, this year has been pretty light in that regard if you don’t count tools to actually help me build the shop.

Giving Thanks – 2017

I’ve written a few posts like this before, 2014 and 2013 immediately come to mind. I am thankful for my family, for the job I have that allows me to spend on my hobbies, and I’m thankful I have the ability to build things like my new shop.

Something else caught my eye when looking at old posts around Thanksgiving, and that’s one from last year that was a five year plan for 2021. It was interesting seeing the goals there and what I have accomplished already in right at one year.

I hoped to be in a new shop, even if it was the same size. I said I could add an attic and a porch. Well, except for the porch that is already current status. I’ll be building a deck at some point in front of the shop that will accomplish the porch thought. I wanted to upgrade my router table to a new top and plate, and that’s still the plan at some point. I wanted to work on miter saw dust collection, and I have a couple of thoughts on that. It doesn’t involve a new saw at this point, though. I thought I might upgrade my bandsaw, and downgrade my lathe. Well, I do want to buy a new bandsaw, and I might be getting rid of my lathe entirely. I hoped for true dust extraction and I’ve accomplished that. I do still want to upgrade my hand tools.

My new shop is phenomenal. It is exceeding my expectations with how much I love it. It’s not big, but it is bigger. Being able to move dust collection, air compressor, and even the scrap wood has changed things. Not quite as much as eliminating the lathe, though. Once I got over that hangup the layout just came together. I have the best layout I’ve ever had. Having the ceiling one foot higher also has benefit.

I’ve spent the last few late afternoons and evenings getting some of the last things over from the old shop and finding them a home in the new shop. I’m straightening up, getting gaps sealed, putting things away. I’m still waiting on a roof and the last bit of insulation, but the inside is almost done. I got my workbench completely clear for the first time since the day it came into the new shop, and even sanded it a bit.

I hope soon to do a detailed tour when I either find a home or find a plan for all the little things.  Perhaps even this weekend should things turn out well.

Bench Shavings – 11/5/17

It’s been a very light week for shop activity, at least during the week. Halloween, work, family activities has precluded getting out there most days. I was able to finally address water coming in through the door by using some of the Zip system tape at the Z channel. We got a massive downpour Saturday afternoon and I didn’t see a drop of water in any of the previous problem areas.

Some I think came in through the very minor roof leak, and if I can get up there and pinpoint where it is coming in I will try to in the next week or so. I did solicit a roof estimate, but haven’t heard anything back. There is a reason for the delay, so it’s no big deal. I still don’t have a good idea of exactly how much it will be though. I’m hoping under $1000.

In a previous post I did mention the want to upgrade a few of my power tools. I think I’ve decided on the Laguna 1412 bandsaw. I looked at the 1412 and 14BX side by side at Rockler on Saturday, and did finally realize that the BX was 220v and not an option anyway. Other than that, the two saws are extremely similar except for a second dust port at the bottom. They are extremely nice saws, and I think I will just put that bit of money I was going to spend on a mobile base for the HF toward the Laguna. Only about $1050 to go then.

I don’t have a good idea about a jointer yet. In all honesty, what I could get probably isn’t much better than what I have outside of a better stand and dust collection. I should see about what I can do for both, it would save me some cash. Quite a lot, in fact. I want to replace my miter saw, but there again I need to verify that I would be gaining something from getting a new one. I think I want the Bosch glide, Makita new slider, or the Kapex. Quite a range in price there, in fact I could almost buy the 1412 for the difference between the Kapex and Makita. I need to be patient, though. The roof could cost a lot, and is way more important.

Status update for the shop: the exterior wall panels, roof, trim, attic insulation, ceiling, and attic ladder are left to go. I used the last of my leftover R-13 batts from the walls in the attic on Saturday, and it filled four spots on one side. The rolls are next, and I’ll use as much as I need to. Once the roof is done, I’ll get the end panels in as well. I am taking a calculated risk not putting an air gap in the rafters, I might add. We still may move in a year or two, so I’m just looking to keep things warm for that amount of time. The insulation will be left exposed, so it would be easy to take out and check for moisture. If I see any after this winter I’ll re-do. I wouldn’t insulate the attic at all if I wasn’t concerned about the compressor and extractor getting too cold to operate at times – the compressor was really hard to get going at the coldest this past winter in the old shop. I have a ton of R-19 insulation batts that I need to dispose of.

One project I did get to tackle in the shop this week is putting some hinge mortises on a closet door. This was the thing that got me started in woodworking, and it’s funny, but this was the next door on the list seven years later. Maybe more than anything else I’ve done thus far in the new shop, this showed me just what an improvement this is. I wouldn’t have done this in the old shop. I would have brought the router inside and cleaned up afterward. The issue would be that I didn’t have an easy way to secure the door vertically. To use the workbench, I would have had to move the router table and I still may have not had the room due to the bandsaw and MFT. In the new shop, this was not an issue at all. Right in the shop and on the side of the workbench and secured within seconds. It was almost surreal. I got the mortises routed out with the Ryobi cordless with ease. I do need a vacuum attachment for my next trim router though. I was in and out of the shop in minutes, even with a tiny bit of cleanup with the chisel. Job done, no fuss.

Looking beyond the new shop

I am loving my new shop already, even though it isn’t quite done yet. It has been a significant expense to take care of this year though. It has seriously delayed the purchase of a new vehicle that I will need soon. Fifteen years old and some mechanical issues doesn’t bode well long term.

It also means that there have been some tool upgrades that haven’t happened either. I’m very happy with what I have, but there are some tools that were never meant to be permanent pieces that I have been considering replacements for. There are tools to be replaced, and some small holes in my arsenal that I hope to fill. I’ve done this sort of thing before on other occasions when content is low, and with the attic insulation on hold while I take care of a couple household chores, I figure I’d fill some space again while I watch the World Series.

Table Saw. I have a Delta 36-725 that I’m very happy with, outside of dust collection. The saw isn’t closed up, so there’s quite a bit that falls out the bottom thanks to the shroud around the blade. I’m hoping to modify the base so that I can close off the rear port and collect dust closer to the floor. I have no plans to upgrade to another 110v saw. I will save my upgrade for a 220v SawStop if I am ever in that position. I suppose at some point I could buy the 100v SawStop, but I’d rather not.

Routers. I am pleased with my two Festool handheld routers, and my Triton 3.25HP in the table. I do hope for a bit of an upgrade to the table, with a new top and an insert upgrade to Incra. If that includes an upgrade to a lift as well, so be it. I do need to replace my Ryobi battery-operated trim router. Or at least relegate that to needs that don’t have a power supply. Looking at getting the 611PK Dewalt that I briefly had before I returned. Long story. And while I’d like to grab a OF2200 for those beast mode handheld needs, I really don’t need it.

Bandsaw. My Harbor Freight version, even with the riser, is not a serious tool. It works well enough to keep its place, but no more. I see the Laguna 14 series bandsaws in the shops from time to time and they look really nice. I want something that can handle resawing, for as much as 110v will allow. Something with quick release tension, a better dust collection port, and much better QA. This is my priority as far as major tools go.

Planer. I love my Dewalt 735. I may upgrade to a spiral head at some point, but that’s it. I don’t see me getting anything else unless this breaks or I move to more of a production-style shop where I need 15″ capacity.

Jointer. I’m not real pleased with the jointer, mainly for how much room it takes up. I also will need to dial it in very well before I use it next, to make sure the tables aren’t warped. I kept having just a little bit of issue getting boards straight before, but it could be that things moved on me. If the tool itself is solid, then it can stick around. I would like more capacity, but I’m sure that will have to wait for a bigger shop. I’ll try to make this work.

Miter Saw. I do like my Hitachi C12RSH, but can’t help but feel it is not doing me any favors. Dust collection is horrific, and I’m not convinced of the accuracy. This is another tool that needs to make sure is dialed in, and if it’s something where I have to dial it in each time I switch angles I will replace it. Likely with a Festool Kapex, even though I’m aware of the motor issues.

WorkbenchI will be upgrading my bench at some point in the next few years, to one with a harder, more durable wood. I will also incorporate storage features and finally get a face vise in the deal.

Drill Press. I have no complaints about my floor model Ridgid DP1500. I see no real reason to upgrade.

Dust Collection. This is my big upgrade for 2017. I went from the vac and a separator to a 2HP (claimed) extractor upstairs. I will make some mods to it over time, but this is what I wanted.

Air Compressor. I may upgrade this to a larger unit, I may not. Now that the compressor is upstairs and I’ve addressed almost all the leak points, the unit doesn’t cut on near as much. I may need more capacity if I go with a cheap HVLP instead of a turbine, but for most of what I do it should be fine. Will know more once the ceiling is closed up and I see how loud it still is.

Hand Tools. Easily the category that can land me in big trouble, there is so much of what I have that I want to upgrade. I want to replace all my planes with Veritas ones. I need a couple of spokeshaves and cabinet scrapers. I could write a whole article about this one, and might. So, to be continued elsewhere…

Power Hand Tools. Thankfully this list isn’t as long as the one above, but it’s pretty expensive for the things I do want to fill in. My oscillating tool could use an upgrade at some point, perhaps to a Fein. I need a rotary sander, and that will likely be the Rotex RO150. The cordless TS55 would be great to have if a truck isn’t an option soon, but otherwise I’m good there. I think at some point the bigger Domino will have to join the DF500 in my collection, because I want to build stuff like bed frames. The Festool rails aren’t really in this section, but I do need the long one to rip sheet goods with. I’d like to upgrade my rough cut circular saw to something better, perhaps cordless, to replace the two I have now. Perhaps that’s a job for the Festool dealer as well. One other sander is on my radar, the RTS. So perhaps five more systainers at the outside most to account for.

Workshop. You may have heard this is being taken care of already.