Working out some details

From time to time issues pop up that impact how I work in the shop. This could be storage, layout, anything. Right now there isn’t a lot of fine woodworking going on, just set building. As such, it’s a good time to talk about what I’ve taken care of recently and what’s still to come.

I have had my air nailers in a spare systainer for a long time, and it hasn’t been the best solution. Everything was just piled in, and the compressor oil fell over and coated everything. Nails came loose and were everywhere as well. A solution was needed. The pic below is after I cleaned everything up, as I can’t find a before pic. You can see the oil residue left after I wiped up.

I downloaded a template for the systainer bottom, and proceeded to cut out a floor from 1/2″ plywood. I taped the template to a piece of hardboard that I can use down the line to make more if I need to, and in turn taped that to the plywood. It wasn’t perfect, and needed some adjustment particularly along where there are little structural nibs at the front and back. Some trimming with the bandsaw took care of it quickly. You can see them on the paper template, six in back, one up front.

Once I got the bottom to fit in snugly, it was time to take it back out and make a spot for the oil. There was no reason to keep the compressor oil in the systainer anymore with the compressor upstairs. But I do need to tote around the oil for the guns, as you’re supposed to use a drop or two on each use. Being better organized, I plan on doing that. The oil sits up front in one of the irregular corners with two pieces of ply butt joined.

Next up was the nailers, biggest to smallest. The biggest one would fit in nicely with the head going through the floor to where the rear feet are on the systainer, so I drilled a hole umm…close to where it needed to be and it worked out well. A divider along the length keeps it in place.

From there things just started rolling until I had everything in and in place.

Four guns (including a newly added Arrow staple gun), a impact driver, a couple attachments to fill tires and blow surfaces clean, the oil, and storage for nails. These Dewalt cases aren’t great, but I’m hoping to find something that fits the space that is better. I made some cutouts in the dividers to better help grab the guns, and I’ll be throwing in a pair of safety glasses to permanently live when I’m out of the shop. I’ve been caught out before. The impact driver has almost no use to me anymore, but I don’t know of another place to put it. If the new nail storage needs that space, it’ll find somewhere else to live. This systainer currently lives in the MFT Sysport for easy access.

A major project for getting things squared away is the Hanging Tool Cabinet. The current task with this is to move the tools from the wall into the cabinet, and figure out how usable that new wall space is.

The next project is actually a way to solve the dust collection problems I am having. This will consist of closing the bottom of the table saw up and putting in a full port for the hose. I will need to remove a couple of parts from the saw, in particular the existing small port that moves with the arbor. I also need to finally put a door on the router table and install a port in the body of the cabinet. Once I can finally upgrade the table and plate to one with better dust collection, my issues will largely be solved.

What is preoccupying my mind lately is a bunch of smaller storage and implementation issues. I’m not particularly happy with the storage I have above my systainer wall, but I don’t really know how to really improve upon it. I want it to be more custom, but more custom doesn’t lead very well to future use. I want to move the sanding discs to the Sysport, which will open up some storage room. Maybe a drawer in the future related to the below.

I do want to redo the systainer part to add more long drawers to hold more systainers at double depth. This involves taking the short unit out and putting a long unit in. Also adding more holes to allow for more height combinations. Simple stuff, but it might be easier long-term to just redo it from scratch. This isn’t a huge deal right now because I don’t have that many systainers, and I don’t have immediate plans to add more. Long-term, yes, but not right now.

This really all boils down to how I can work efficiently, happily, and to a higher standard in the future. I also have to consider what is going to happen to my lathe, considering the old building is in dire need of demolition. I also have a desire to add a turbine, a drum sander, and to upgrade my bandsaw. I only have so much room, and it needs to function as efficiently as possible. I am happy with the layout for the most part, and the only real change I could conceivably make is to modify the MFT Sysport to store a drum sander, spindle sander, planer, or a combination of the above. To do that, I would need to expand my systainer storage on the wall as above, plus find a bit of room for things like the clamping elements. It’s not a bad idea. I wish I had thought of it last year, to be honest.

2019 Outlook

This is always an interesting post to do at the beginning of the year, as I can’t always follow through with all of my stated goals. I always try to also follow up on the post from the year previous, but I didn’t do one for 2018.

There will be a couple stage projects to do in the first half of the year, but the big build should be done with via the front porch project. Second half of the year obviously is unknown at this point. The theatre group operates on a public school schedule, and the year goes from September to May. There will be a flower cart, a talk show set, and a couple other minor things.

One of the main things I want to accomplish is “finishing” the shop. What that entails is completing the insulation in the loft, switching out the one light in the loft to the ones I had in the old shop, installing trim on the outside, and trimming up the windows and ceiling inside. I plan on getting the insulation done first before it gets too warm, as it will also free up floor space up there and I can toss the rest. I will also be fencing off the underside of my shop, as my dogs (and perhaps other things) are trying to eat away at the insulation.

I will be improving my air nailer storage by making a custom systainer insert. This will keep the inside from being a mess, hopefully. That’s the plan, as I think it’s a better one than dedicating wall space to hang them. I can fit the three trim nailers, the wrench, the nails, and the oil in one systainer, so I think that’s valuable storage usage.

I will be improving the dust collection in the shop. The table saw that I have is very nice with that exception, and it’s only gotten worse. I will be closing in the base and creating a port where more dust can be evacuated. I will also finally be closing in the router table and creating a dust solution there as well. That in and of itself will solve 90% of the dust problems in my shop, but at some point I also hope to swap out the router top with one that will allow for the Incra Cleansweep rings. I just wish I could get it locally and save shipping charges. At some point I may make other upgrades, but I will see how these two changes get me through.

I’m going to work to make things more mobile, in case I need to build on-site. I don’t like to disrupt what I have going on in the shop, so I need to make it very easy to grab anything that I might need for a set build. I’m still sorting how I’m going to do this. I’d like to make a mobile cart that will hold some systainers and be a work area, but I have so much that I would have to bring. I also don’t really have anywhere to store it.

I don’t really know what might be in store for tool upgrades or additions. I will likely look to start filling out my new tool cabinet, but that is rather pricey. I have my eye on a new bandsaw and some jobsite things, but again those are expensive. I would rather put money into trip funds that I will need to work on very soon. Those are more important.

I will attempt to fix the door situation, which is that it has gaps around the perimeter and sometimes sticks to the other door. There is also some minor water entry at the door which I need to investigate.

I don’t have any set expectations for projects, although I hope I finish the hanging tool cabinet. I’d like to tweak some storage and layout if ideas come to me, but nothing concrete. I would like to continue to refine my techniques, learn new things, and enhance the quality of my home and the sets at the theatre group.

Odds and Ends – Wrapping up 2018

There were a few things that I got accomplished towards the end of the year that I either didn’t have time to write about, or they weren’t worth dedicating a post to. Here we go.

I built an outdoor table to help with breaking down sheet goods and large assemblies. It is just a skeleton at the moment while I decide how best to do a top for it. I also may add other features, like a shelf at the bottom, a hook for the cord reel, etc. I built it out of pressure treated lumber, did pocket hole screws throughout, and it should hold up much better than the previous one. I also built it so that it is level on the uneven terrain.

Instead of building a mirror cabinet for the master bath, I went with an Ikea unit. Made much more sense based on cost and time. The old mirror will be reused in the other bath, and I will be making a frame for it. I’m just procrastinating or it would already be done by now. Perhaps that can be the first project of the new year.

I did some general cleaning up of the shop the other day, and it finally feels like an actual shop again, one where I can come in and do work. I moved a couple of things around to help better organize, but it’s something that will continue to be addressed in the new year.

I used thread locker on the MFT’s hose arm, as to stop it from flopping over at just about every opportunity. I think I may drill into the arm and put in something that I can wrap the end of the hose back to to keep it out of the way.

I tried making wooden rings. It didn’t go half bad, but I don’t know if it is something I will try to keep doing.

I bought some new tools, sold or gave away some old ones. I went on some adventures, and resolve to go on bigger ones next year. Thanks for reading.

 

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.