Bench shavings – 2/14/16

A Happy Valentine’s Day to you.

This morning I fell down a rabbit hole. Full of open cans of worms. It started out by thinking about how I operate in the workshop. Specifically, it was focusing on how I use small power tools. One of the biggest upgrades I ever made was using the CT Midi and the associated Festools and the plug-it cords. However, do I want to be restricted to primarily Festools? I look for example at the jigsaws – $360 for the Carvex seems really excessive. I think I’d rather have a Bosch.

That got me thinking about how I could solve the issue of using tools with standard cords attached. I saw a couple of different ways on the internet of tackling it, so it’s something I’ll have to continue to think on. I could use two different hoses, attach an extension cord alongside the plug-it cord, have a multitap on the wall, etc.

What made me fall down the rabbit hole was then taking that thought process to electricity. As it stands right now, all my power comes through one 12 gauge extension cord on the right side of the entrance. I really need to divide out at least the lights and batteries off the line to another line if I keep using a 16 gauge as a secondary. If I upgrade to another 12 gauge, I can divide things out evenly. Running another line on a semi-permanent basis means installing an exterior outlet on the house, which is something I really need to do anyway. Running permanent power to this space is a non-starter, so I live with what I have for now. Running both heaters usually trips something, so I could put one heater on each line, perhaps.

I then thought about how the second line would enter the shop. It makes the most sense to have it enter the same hole, but that means a convoluted arrangement of plugs and tools. It would most likely mean rearranging things once again. As it stands now, the planer, sander, jointer, miter saw and CT all run off the strip to the left of the door. That’s currently where the battery chargers, phone charger, heater and air compressor all plug in as well. I have a whole lot of electricity needs in the shop, that’s for sure. A window AC unit would further tax the issue, which is one reason why it hasn’t happened yet. I’ve talked about the electricity issue as it relates to layout before, but clearly I haven’t quite sorted it out yet.

One idea that popped up as an aside to the electrical layout was to swap the miter saw and MFT some how, having the miter saw be grouped on the same strip as the other major tools. I never use more than one at a time, so having multiple of them on the same strip is never an issue. The only thing I really need to worry about is having a tool and the dust extraction for it on separate lines, except in the case of items plugged into the CT. That probably eliminates having the miter saw and an automatic vac, but there are worse problems to have.

I haven’t looked at my school responsibilities for next week yet, but it could be promising for making the router table. Basketball responsibilities are on hold thanks to a break in county schools, and the weather looks to be mild and sunny. That means I should finalize the design and dimensions early in the week and determine what I’ll need to grab from either the yard or the big box. I still have to decide if or how much edge banding I want to do.

It wasn’t all theory this weekend, on Saturday I did manage to get something done. I now have four Narex rasps, and they needed to get off the workbench. I had a small piece of what I think is poplar that I was playing around with hand tools. This turned out to be the exact dimensions of the wood I used for the chisels and other hand tools. I made four holes with my PC 1″ forstner bit, cut them open with my 20TPI crosscut saw at the bench, and used the new Bosch drivers to mount it to the wall. It’s not perfectly level or in line with the others, but it’s perfect for storing them. When it comes time to make the hand tool cabinet, I may use an unused portion of an existing rack, the one with the nice screwdrivers, marking gauges and awl currently reside. I also need to do something similar for my burnisher.

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With temperatures still expected to be cold this morning (Sunday), all I brought out was one 18v battery, and the two Bosch drivers in their case with the batteries. I used the 18v battery in the Ryobi radio to help charge my phone, which took the picture above. I took some pictures last week with my nice camera, a Nikon D5100. Those will go up this week as an updated static shop tour.

I also haven’t forgotten about the final portion of the Desk Jockey series. I am finding that with the larger spaces to play with, I’m having to come up with different custom storage solutions. I don’t really have to be as detailed with the models, but they do have to fit the spaces and the tools. For example, I want a miter bench that incorporates a radial arm saw like Norm did (or Russell, if you are familiar with where the shop was). When I was playing around with potential shop layouts last year or perhaps the year before, I did come up with a quick and dirty big shop with all the big tools. I was lazy though when it came to storage, just simply filling an entire wall with a box and claiming that space for the MS and RAS. I want to do better, and I am going to make a new model that is representative of what I want to store. I also want to make it modular, so that if I find myself in a similar space, it won’t take much work to either add on or eliminate modules to suit. With a large enough space for a deep cabinet, it would be perfect for systainers, hardware, whatever. I would simply have to decide on double-depth for the systainers, or a more normal depth for single storage + and regular depth drawers. No shelves if I could help it.

I also still have to figure out storage for the Bosch drivers. To be continued.

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