Design on a dime…or a ten-penny nail

I’ve spent a long time trying to finalize my long term plans for the shop, and I think I’m nearing the end. It’s been an interesting ride from having a bunch of crap in piles with moldy curtains and stinky carpet to even this point. But from here is where it really turns the page to an actual shop.

The reason for the master plan is that I don’t want to keep building projects only to tear them down later when they don’t meet my needs. I also wanted to have a layout to see exactly what I could fit in the shop. Fit, but it also needed to be usable. One of the biggest problems I have now is stuff piled on top of stuff because I needed to move that stuff to reach other stuff. I need more work space, more efficient work space. The project I just (sorta) completed I had to assemble on top of my table saw. Which, in and of itself isn’t a horrible thing, but I don’t want it to be the go-to surface that’s not occupied. In short, I need an assembly table, a woodworkers table.

So as I said, I had to plan my shop to see not only if I could fit one, but how best to arrange it. After some consultation with some fellow woodworkers, I think I have a master plan that should be one that I can use even my table saw inside for some things and only have to set up stuff outside for large projects or for finishing. This is the work of a few months contemplating and playing with different things, and Sketchup has been an invaluable tool to visualize all of this without picking up a single tool.

It’s taken me so long to formulate what I want to write that even now some of the changes have already started. In some previous posts and pictures you may have seen my golf clubs on an elevated stand. Under this stand sat four plastic tubs filled with various items, only one of them being actual tools for the shop. Another was scrap wood, another is drywall and assorted house supplies. The fourth was junk for the house. Well today I disassembled the stand, liquidated all the scrap in the scrap bin and that bin is now gone. The house junk bin will come inside to be evaluated, and the drywall etc bin will probably go under the house since I need it so rarely. Also under my workbench was another bin, filled with sporting goods. That will also go under the house. I have a spare Shop Vac that I’m not sure what I’ll do with. Guess the standard answer of under the house might apply.

So, to what has already happened – I mentioned the golf area got disassembled. The miter stand/floor cabinet and wall cabinet both went in it’s place. I also moved the wall cabinet up a little higher this time to create a higher workspace on the cabinet. It’s still got enough gap at the top where I can stow my straight edges. I took the time to level the cabinet, and unfortunately the shop is so not level it’s very distracting. Oh well, that will just have to do until I can get the side area cleaned up and get it level. I think it’s slowly sinking on the earth side. The work bench moved from that same wall to a space facing the cabinet. It has created what would best be compared to a galley kitchen. When I’m assembling something very large, I hopefully can use the two together as a large work surface. I gave myself enough room in the galley to use a vise on the bench, and open all of the drawers and pull out the scrap bin. I’m hoping this arrangement will work well, as it’s key to making enough space for everything to function well.

Since the bench moved to the middle right of the space, right underneath the window, that meant the bandsaw had to relocate, and it did to the opposite wall where the cabinet was. When everything is said and done, I’ll have enough room to cut a 5-6′ long piece without having to move it. Should be plenty. Where the bench was in the back left corner now sits the jointer. I swapped the front and back on the base so I could maneuver it into position. It’s really not usable in the parking space unless the stock is short, but it will pull out towards the center of the shop for actual use – no different than it was doing. Under the infeed table I parked the air compressor, with no permanent home in mind.

Everything else for now has been left alone or slightly moved to make temporary space. The saw still gets parked wherever, and the spindle sander is now next to the bandsaw until I find suitable wheels for the short cart. But I dunno, I might not put wheels on it at all, as it might be too low to use sitting down. I won’t worry too much about that for the time being, as I think the casters I have already will work fine as long as I shorten the sides of the cart. This is because I planned for it to call home under an extension of the miter saw cabinet, to the saw’s right. This will give me a little bit of room to cut to the right, but I’m worried that it might not be enough. I suppose I could flip the miter saw to the left of the cabinet and have about 5-6′ of room on either side. That would be fairly easy to do later on if I find it was shortsighted. The drill press is going to move to the other side of the door, and basically swap places with the router table. Above the router table will be a mini-cab with three spots for my router bases and possibly accessories.

My mobile miter saw base will probably get scrapped. I never use it anymore, but I’ll have to see with where the cabinet now is. I have to dispose of all the old paint, and find a home for the pails I want to keep. The detailing cabinet is up in the air – I’d like to put something up on the wall. With this new configuration, I think I will be able to use the new bench as an outfeed table for my saw, and keep it set up ready to go. We’ll see. I may or may not return the door I bought as a knock-down outfeed table and pick one up again should it become necessary. Of course, the walls still need to be finished, and they might get covered with a coat of white paint to lighten things up a bit.

The temporary planer cart has been disassembled and I built a planer cart/dust separator in it’s place. This makes it a bit taller, but skinnier. Hopefully the dust part will work out well. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do about a dust collector. I will either get a wall-mount DC and hang it outside when in use (come in through wall) or build a lean-to and use a full DC. The latter would be my preference but I am unsure as to if that would meet code. I do have a query about that into the community development commission. I’m not going to attach pictures to this post as it’s already very long. I’ll have my Sketchup renders and pictures of the shop as current in the next post.

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