Transforming…more than meets the eye

I meant this to be in the last post, but it ran long.

I wanted to go ahead and show the progress from early March to now. So much has changed, and so much more is to come. This is going to be light on words, heavy on pics. If you haven’t figured it out, the pics are clickable to expand.

First starting – some time in March

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It was a real mess. You can see the fairly recent (last six months before this was taken) tables, but that’s it. The first thing I had to do was clean up, and make some space for some clamps and my One+ collection.

The following set were taken a couple months ago (April-early May)

Right Front

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Right Rear

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Left Rear

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Left Front

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You can see a massive improvement. Note the future location of the router table between the work tables. Note the quite excellent 9″ vise from Harbor Freight.

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A couple of weeks ago I got a bug in me to redo almost everything. I really didn’t have enough space to work, and I knew that could be solved by getting rid of a few things, plus some better organization. They say it’s always darkest before the dawn…

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Hard to see in that picture, because it was almost dark after a long couple hours. Removed all the nasty carpet, and inspected the floor. It’ll work. Had about ten bags of trash to go to the curb the next night. I moved the work area from the right side of the shed to the back, something I’ve wanted to do for awhile. Built a shelf over the lawn mower for my golf equipment. Moved the junk mountain to two separate areas. Still in progress, but I’m sure you can see the improvement.

New right front

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New right rear

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New left front

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New right rear

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Hope over the next couple of days to bring everything up to the current situation, as well as get into some of those new major tool acquisitions I’m sure you can see.

I leave you with the pic I meant to put in the last post, detail of the new corners on the router table. Later.

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From shed to workshop…sort of

After the pantry came home, I had business to take care of. When I got my router, I made my first table fairly soon after. I glued up two 3/4″ sheets of MDF with Formica, added a couple of cleats and a plate, and started using my $20 table as a base. Not a permanent solution – too big, and I wanted my table space back. So, I started on a cabinet. Similar to the New Yankee Workshop one, but of my own measurements.

Started with the same 3/4″ white birch for pretty much everything, and a poplar face. Ash drawer fronts and a double 3/4″ phenolic ply top with ash banding do the work. I got a fantastic deal on a fence from Rockler, so I incorporated it along with their aluminum plate and T-track. A safety switch on front helps keep me safe.

It’s not the greatest, I must confess. Again, if I had started on it now, it would be much better. Well, I guess it’s actually much better than the pantry. The only real thing I dislike about it is the drawers. They are an extreme work in progress, until I figure out a solution. The table works exactly like it should, though, so no real complaints about functionality. Dust collection is a big plus, too.

The first attempt. Great functionality, huge in size. No dust collection.

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In progress

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Close up of the top

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No flex going to happen here

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Oops

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Revised that, plus changed the location of the safety switch

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Bit storage

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Hope you enjoyed my first shop project. Once I figure out the slides for the drawers, and get some plexiglass, I can consider this one done.

Backstory

So, everything has a beginning. My journey is no different. I guess it started Christmas of 08 when I bought my own first real tools – the Ryobi One+ 18v 4pc starter set. A set that I have still. Sure, I had gotten a few older hand me down tools like a drill, but they certainly had limitations – like a 1/2″ bit. So I took the plunge and bought it. The set has been a champ, with the only issue that the circular saw may or may not be perfectly square anymore.

I started with the reciprocating saw, circular saw, drill and flashlight. In the 18 months since, I’ve added:

  • spiral saw
  • fan
  • radio
  • corner sander
  • random orbit sander
  • jigsaw
  • angle grinder
  • weedeater/trimmer

I think there may be another one, but perhaps not. The One+ system is fantastic, and the Lithium batteries have made it 10x better. I’m thinking of completing the set, as far as I need to.

The workshop was also just a shed for a very long time. Institute of Collecting Junk, and it was giving out MJAs (Master of Junk Acquisition). I really thought I had some pictures from when we bought the house (December 08 – hence the tool acquisition), but you’ll just have to imagine. Plywood interior and exterior. Old, nasty carpet probably from the 70s. Logs and junk on the side. It was truly a junk storage point. And outside of making a couple of $20 tables, I hadn’t really put anything in there of any substance.

Fast forward to early this year. One house project I wanted to do was replace a slatted hall door with a solid faced one. To put the new hinges on, I really could have used a router. So, I bought one. A Craftsman 17543 dual-base. Ever since, it’s been an avalanche. I’ve gone from having a complete junk filled shed to what almost resembles a shop.

Welcome

To my family and friends, and possibly complete strangers. I hope to use this to chronicle my experiences getting started in woodworking, and various other projects.

My main staging area is, as you guessed, a 12×12 shed. Not the most ideal setting to create things, but you work with what life gives you. I also have a carport with an uneven floor, and a hill. Yes, a hill. As in, a not-at-all-level hill. Right in front of the shed. Sigh.

So you’ll hopefully see the transformation of this space into a usable area, and some of the stuff and ideas that come out of it. Keep in mind that I just started even cutting a couple of months ago, so what I make is going to be quite crude at first.

Hope you enjoy.

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