It’s all good

For the first time in awhile after I left the shop, I was excited. I’ve finally gotten the shop to a place where I feel I could take on a major project. The last few days, I really haven’t made any major changes, but the culmination of ideas and projects have finally come together into a functional shop.

I still had a bunch of leftover MDF from disassembling my Ultimate Tool Stand, so I used a majority of it to build a working design excercise – a planer cart. I previously had a flip-top planer cart, but it felt way too unstable for what it was. I purposely left off a counterbalance so it could fit under a table, and the design just didn’t work. So for the past six months or so, it sat in the corner neglected, without a permanent home. I figured out what the ideal height would be for my arms, and took that scrap MDF and repurposed it into a lower, wider cart. While this will take up more floor space than the flip-top, the cavities below the planer now hold my plastic cases from various tools, making it a decent trade-off.

Part of the reason I had room to make this was that I finally removed the lawnmower. I had a corral that it sat in, with a shelf on top for my golf equipment, the vac/separator and the planer. I repurposed that into a taller, shallower shelf that still holds my clubs. But now I have room underneath to store four plastic bins, and perhaps my dovetail jig can also find a home on top. I think the shelf may even be tall enough to house a jointer when I finally get one, but I can’t claim that was in the design – just getting it tall enough to fit the bins under was my goal.

A couple of weeks ago I finally purchased the spindle sander I have had my eye on for about a year, and it came in really handy for duplicating the train table that finally gave out after eight months. But the only place I had for it was on top of the router table. I considered buying a metal stand for it, and actually did from Harbor Freight. But unfortunately the holes were horribly misaligned. Plus, I just disassembled and tossed the metal stand that was included with with my planer. For $30, I wasn’t impressed. I thought, ‘this is a woodworking shop. Make it out of wood already.’ So I did. I went to the Borg and bought two 2x4s and had it built in about an hour, mostly. The skeleton was done. Simple pocket hole construction, about 32″ high with structural support a foot below the bottom of the top rail. Today I rummaged through my extensive (overly so) scrap collection and found two pieces of cheap plywood that would do the trick. The first one fit the top nearly exactly. It’s about 1/4″ short on all sides, but it was way too perfect to even cut. Screwed it down, and only had to trim 1/4″ off one side of the second piece to make the shelf below. I need to attach some adjustable feet on the bottom, but for $5 it’s a really sweet stand. I think the shelf will hold my sharpening tool, but it may become home to all my sandpaper and the cordless sanders instead. Probably room for both.

The best part of that project was that I was able to get in, get it done and feel like I could just close the doors and leave when I was done. No extensive cleanup, no huge piles of crap everywhere. I didn’t have to move a bunch of stuff to get it done. I’m very, very happy with how the shop is doing right now. Sure, there are some things I still need to acquire and make a home for, but that’s okay. That will be for another blog entry.

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