Lessons Learned

After I do a project, and every so often, I like to reflect on how things have gone. In a shop as small as mine is, re-evaluation is key to promote better processes, which allow for more efficiency. While this latest project isn’t quite over, it has provided me with some great insight as to what I’d like to improve on.

The first thing that I’d like to add to the workshop is an outdoor table. Today I used the project table to hold my bench leg glueups, and having them be outside the shop was a real plus. I don’t know if I would build one out of cedar, but I would use the same basic building techniques. The top would probably have slots or holes to drain water, and I would use post anchors and partially bury so that I could have a pretty flat and level work surface. If the surface is solid, I would have it pitched so water would run off. Perforated, it could stay flat. A perforated top could help with small clamping needs. I would build the base to be even with the top for other clamping chores, just like my workbench. It could conceivably double as an eating table if we can ever get the mosquito problem under control. I suppose it depends on what I make it out of. It would also be nice to have some shade/rain protection to go along with it.

The clamp racks need to not be in the back corner of the shop anymore. This should have been obvious quite a long time ago, but I figured taking space next to the drill press was a good option. These need to be near the doorway so I can easily grab them no matter where I am clamping things up. If I leave myself enough room to get them down, they can go next to the wood rack. I don’t need to be moving things out of the way or tripping over things in the middle of a glueup.

I need a practical solution for Domino use. I tried to make something with Rockler’s T-track clamps, and that didn’t work. Something like a Kreg Automaxx clamp system on a sheet of ply would work if I can in turn clamp that down. What I’d really like is a MFT/3, however I’m not sure I have the room. Actually, I’m pretty sure I don’t have the room. I’d love to come up with some sort of hybrid – router table/MFT, table saw/MFT, etc. Even a MFT and a CMS-style router attachment would work for me. I might end up going back to a table saw/router combination, but this time put the router offset to the end like my current table is. Only issue being a spot to put router storage with this route, or any of them when the router is part of the combination.

For the table saw, it’s time to either get rid of it or modify it for better use in the shop. The old router table will be removed as soon as possible, and I’ll be measuring to see if the rail extensions go as well. The mobile base is excellent for moving outside, but when the saw is down takes up entirely too much room.

I hate having the sander and planer on a flip cart. Inevitably, I need one right after the other, and things fall out of where they are supposed to go. In fact, I’ve lost several of the washers and inserts for the spindle sanding function that I have to now order. I’d rather the sander be on a shelf of something and take it out when needed.

I think I’ve learned more than that, but that’s all I have the energy for right now. Tomorrow I’m hoping to get the benches potentially put together.


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