(Nearly) From The Ground Up

That’s the approach I think I need to take toward getting the shop how I want it. I use ‘how I want it’ probably too much, but right now it’s downright depressing to think about, much less do anything with. I think of all the tools I have, all the capability to create that’s just going to waste out there, and it makes me sad and angry. Now that the weather has cooled off some, it’s not a bad time to consider the main focus, which should be to gain some additional moving around room.

When you get to a point like I have where you’ve potentially gone one bridge too far in acquisitions, you have to start making some sacrifices in what you have or how you have it. I started this process by trying to eliminate my router table, however I need to go in a more extreme direction. That may entail having a lot less room for my miter saw (pertaining to capacity), or getting inventive with how things are stowed. The big problem for me, and it has been for awhile, is floor space. Moving around is annoying every single visit. I get sawdust on my shirt simply from entering, thanks to the saw rails extending too far out. Another choke point is the miter saw handle sticking out into the walkway, even when placed in a far left or right angle. Moving around the bench, obviously the cutoff bin will have to go, and that’s not as big of a concern versus permanent fixtures. Otherwise, the jointer and it’s turning circle is the worst offender of odd space, being a trapezoidal base and huge wings for the tables, plus a tall fence and deep mounting for the adjustment handle.

So, solutions. I’m always asking for solutions when I hear problems, and I have a couple of things I’d like to try out in general, and then I can see if I can incorporate them in specifics. One option I am looking at is to place the jointer under a hutch, for lack of a better term. On top of this could be the mortiser or miter saw if weight allows, or drawers or a cabinet to bring some storage up off the floor. Plans Now has a good example of what I’m talking about in their Space Saving Workshop. The trick will be having this in a spot where I can pull the jointer out and use it without too much difficulty, something that has evaded my doing in the past. Particularly since the table saw moved to the door, I haven’t even considered being able to use it on long stock.

I struggle sometimes to justify my floor drill press, but I love it. What is difficult is the space it takes up, particularly behind it where it can’t sit flush against the wall due to the positioning of the motor. It needs to stand off the wall, or be parallel to it. In the corner has been my best solution to this point, but I need to keep thinking about it. A possibility I recently considered was to have it parallel in the dead space behind the band saw. Will have to verify that during normal use it wouldn’t interfere, or either one needs to be mobile.

I recently saw a future project in a magazine where they had a wall-mounted, fold-down router table and that really interested me. It may have already been published, something I will have to check on. That’s a viable option, so is embedding the router table into a counter top, particularly one where I can’t use storage below but there’s enough room for the motor to hang.

I have resisted the temptation to put my planer closer to the floor for a long time, however that’s on the table as well. I’ll consider anything where I don’t have to pick it up off the floor to use, with the caveat that I would prefer not to bend over to use it. A flip-top stand or cabinet is also back on the table. My problem there was execution. The other problem was balance: it needed a counterbalance either on the opposite side or in the base.

The band saw is what it is. The only way to improve on it’s footprint is to put it on a mobile base, although even that adds a bit more area. Might be worth it, and it’s an easy modification. Lots of dead space above and below the table behind the blade should I desire to fully explore that option.

One other thing that should help me out is the addition of a deck, which I’ve finally resigned myself is mandatory. Even though the workshop isn’t level, I’d make the deck level in anticipation of either a correction or a replacement to the workshop. I’ll have some time for some designs next week after I do some browsing online for execution ideas.

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