Shop evaluation – part two

(Part of the Working in 144 series)

Now, the question about my shop as it sits today is what is blocking me from making these things. Technically, I could do most of it in the shop and layout I have now. What I really would like is more room to assemble or lay parts out. For that, I need more surfaces. One big area of craptitude is making my initial sheet good cuts – sawhorses on uneven ground only does so much. I was recommended with my new track saw to get a sheet of thick foam. A fine suggestion, but buying one means storing one. Where? It is possible to store it under the workshop should I get the impetus to get under there insulated. I could attach a couple of brackets to keep it close under the floor joists. Then I may have to worry about disturbing wasps, but I don’t know of another solution. If I cut them into strips I could conceivably store them in the ceiling joists. With the way my roof is shaped I could possibly keep them up there in just two 3 or 4 foot sections. I will know more once the ceiling comes down in the spring.

The paths for my table saw are plentiful. The positives about it are that it cuts reasonably well for being a light-duty saw. It works on my current power situation, and I don’t have to worry about rust. The negatives include an increasingly hard to operate elevation crank, a short table, being underpowered, and lightweight. I also cannot upgrade the fence or add a commercial router table to it. I would really like to hold off on buying a new table saw until I am in a larger space with dedicated power, which means the replacement path isn’t an option. I don’t really want to get rid of it either, even with the addition of the track saw – it will still only cut things 55mm deep. There’s not a whole lot I can upgrade about it that I haven’t already. I would like to improve the dust collection, especially above the table.

The real question I have to answer is this – how much do I want to improve the weight? I could improve it immensely by building a rolling stand for it. This would also allow me to have storage under it and to the right side I could have more storage and support the top or I can add a spot for a router. I’m not sure that router would take the place of a freestanding one, but it could be used as another setup. Or, it could just be a flat surface to use. What makes me not want to jump in with two feet is that if I do that, the saw no longer folds up out of the way. I don’t use that feature too often, but I probably should. I could even wheel it out of the shop completely for a large assembly. The folding stand is such a huge waste of space, though. It’s so difficult to chose between these two options. To build the saw stand is no easy or cheap matter, and it would be hard to change my mind later. For the moment though it is status quo.

The lathe needs a more beefy stand, and with it, storage. That’s nothing groundbreaking if you’ve read this site before. The only question is of the design of the cabinet. Aside from the vise, the workbench works well. I would like some better storage underneath, right now it is plywood scrap and a bin and some blow-molded cases. My only real restriction under here is to have enough room for the holdfasts to work. This might be a good spot for systainers or a saw till. Anything under two feet deep and probably about 2′ tall would work. I’ll have to measure next time I’m out. The only thing I can do with the bandsaw is to add mobility. For the drill press, perhaps storage on the base. I just built the planer and sander cart, hopefully I can take a day or two before I want to change it.

The jointer is a huge movable landmass. The best I can do is to move it around as little as possible and use what storage I can underneath the tables. The idea was to keep it nearest the door and just trot it out a few inches to clear the door. My miter saw stand has been well documented, but I’m no closer to ideas or solutions. I have a bit of space in the middle, but usually it gets taken up with stuff I’ve had to move to get to other things. The space is going to be reduced with a router table if I go through with it.

In part four I will examine a couple of different layout possibilities I’ve been kicking around.

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