Old shop, new tricks

If my shop were measured in dog years, it would be nearing euthanasia. It can’t get up the steps, it has cancer, and parasites are shortening it’s life even further. All we can do at this point is make the best of things, alleviate symptoms, and make the best of our time left.

I thought about a change to the shop a few weeks ago, and that resulted in nearly three weeks of downtime trying to get things right again. I never thought the main idea of moving the workbench would be that disruptive, and on top of that the idea didn’t work. However that did not discourage me from continuing to search for ways to improve.

A few days ago I started thinking about if there were any other layout tricks yet to uncover in this shop. One of those tricks I hope could yet be learned was an expansion of my Festool systainer storage. I have a pretty good unit right now, but is already at capacity with Festools and Tanos systainers that I have filled with other tools. A recent experience had me considering adding another one anyway, so it was certainly on my mind.

I was investigating a larger size layout, when an idea came to fruition. I thought that by maybe doing some relatively minor tweaks, and doing them in stages, I could perhaps get a little better use out of the same space. If it didn’t look like it would work, it would be a lot easier to put back than the last time.

The end result of this is to perhaps gain a few more spots in my chaos wall by adding another column and lining it back up with the miter saw. To do this, I would need to move the drill press. There aren’t a lot of places it can go, but next to the bandsaw would be a good pair. I decided that the best thing to do would be to try and turn the lathe up against the front wall (in the same corner), and put the bandsaw and drill press along the wall where it is now. The only obstacle to that would be the large wall cabinet above the lathe. It couldn’t go anywhere else without modification.

So, in what I considered Phase One, I decided I could take down the cabinet, cut it in half, move the tools, and then figure out if the cabinet could go back up. I used my new jigsaw to do the cutting, with the expectation that I would then use the router to flush trim. I ended up skipping that step, the jigsaw cut was fairly good. I of course emptied the cabinet and removed it from the wall first. All of that done, the lathe moved, then the bandsaw and drill press went into place. Originally I had the bandsaw next to the lathe, but decided to reverse that.

With the tools in place and it looking like this corner would work, I put the remaining half of the cabinet back up. Now it is above the lathe again on the front wall. I routed some extension cords over the top to help with clutter. The cabinet has the WS2000, my rags, a few miscellaneous things and turning accessories for now.

What does this change mean in a vacuum? Well, I do have much better access to the bandsaw at the cost of less access to the drill press, but even that isn’t too bad. Just a pull out of the table saw to get at either. The lathe is more tucked away, but I barely use it. I would still be able to get to it by moving a few tools, which can be done. Better access to the bandsaw is worth less access to the lathe.

There is a little bit of stuff to find homes for with half of the big cabinet destroyed, but it isn’t too bad at all. I’ll think about homes for this stuff, and then start thinking about how far I can push Phase Two to get toward my goal. It might not be everything, but it won’t be nothing. The miter saw support on the left side is extremely not crisp and straight, and I’d like to address that at the very least. However, that is information for it’s own post.

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