The last major piece

I’ve had a dream since the beginning to conceivably do anything in my shop. The reality is that I really can’t do large projects without some help from the weather or another place to be able to assemble and store. Such is life for me for the foreseeable future. However the ability is there, aside from one thing: turned projects. I’ve wanted a lathe for quite some time, although the fire was minimal. It would be a cool thing to have, I thought. More recently, though, I’ve seen projects involving spindles, bowls, etc that have left me yearning.

So, I was going to buy a lathe. But which one? I had to get the workshop cleaned up to see if I could fit a mini/midi lathe, which meant counter space. I worked a bit to get stuff squared away when I was told about the benefits of spending just a little bit more to get a bigger lathe. I thought for sure this was a pointless exercise, because I would never be able to fit one.

Then I started brainstorming. For a long time.

I played around with a ton of different layouts in my head and on Sketchup. I eventually came to the conclusion that it might just be possible with a radical layout change. Basically, everything would have to move in some fashion except for the newly constructed miter bench (not that it wouldn’t move eventually, but I was trying to avoid it). Something that would have to disappear was the router table, and it did (for all intents and purposes, turning it into the extension table made it disappear). I would move my workbench perpendicular to the saw, making it a six foot outfeed table. The saw, however, would have to move right up to the door to make that arrangement work. Doing this left a couple of different options for the rest of the equipment, and I could add a large lathe. Before I went to purchase, I decided to go ahead and move everything. I wasn’t buying a 200lb lathe just to return it the next day.

Doing a dry run with the actual equipment gave me confidence. I could fit a lathe. Now if I could use it, and use everything else was a different story. The only way it could be answered was to purchase it. A touch earlier than I anticipated, I picked up a Harbor Freight 34706 lathe and brought it home. The picked up part is figurative, it’s a heavy SOB. I barely got it in the back of the SUV – another inch and I would have had to return it at least temporarily. Getting it into the shop was a fun exercise, particularly if you enjoy the sensation of hernias. I’m a pretty strong guy, but either I’m getting old or this thing is heavier than advertised – I couldn’t pick it up or drag it. Feeling stuck, I noticed a little red wagon a few feet away trying not to be noticed. I managed to shove it in the wagon, and traipse around the house and up the hill to the shop towing it behind me. At the shop, I somehow managed to get the whole thing up on the workbench, where it would await assembly.

I’ll go over my first impressions and assembly in the next post. But for now, I have a lathe!

New doors for the shop

This project had been on the to-do list for quite some time. My old doors were sheets of (approximately) 1/2″ plywood with no frame, so they bowed terribly and left a gap at the bottom where small animals could get in. One notable example was where I stumbled upon a bird’s nest on my clamp rack.

My original design was to include a window near the top of each door. I eventually changed those plans when I realized how lazy I was. I instead went with a 2×4 frame, with half-lap joints where they all met. I routed a rabbet on the inside edge of the frame and installed two panels per door of beadboard plywood. I secured the plywood with 18ga nails. I then took 1x4s and laid them over the back of the 2x4s, securing further the plywood and making a frame for some 3/4″ sheet foam insulation. I put a coat of paint only on the outside for now.

I built these in mid-December during a warm streak. Then, it got really cold and I didn’t have the opportunity to hang them. I did last week, finally. After not finding the hinges I wanted, I did select some proper door hinges with anti-tamper hinge pins. Unfortunately this meant when I hung them I didn’t take into account the extra width and they wouldn’t close all the way. Nearing dusk, I had to do a dirty job of mortising the hinges and got them to mostly close. I borrowed a power planer the next day and got them to close well. I need to do just a bit more fine-tuning on the doors to get them perfect though. I mounted hardwood stops on the top and left side, and I’ll get around to weather seal at some point.

While I did get nice new doors for my shop, I haven’t noticed any appreciable temperature difference. I was hoping I would. I think I need to address things like the old leaky window, and a probable lack of insulation under the floor.

Original doors – made sometime in the Cretaceous Period.


Original doors – showing bowing at bottom

Making the new doors – frame and panel complete

A bit of a mess

Foam insulation on back

Doors installed and looking good

Shop master plan – 2013 and (hopefully) beyond

About a year ago I started on transforming my space from a shed to a true shop, and for the most part it’s been a success. I did a few large-scale projects, such as the Holtzapffel bench and the kitchen pub table. I got my start in finishing, I expanded my table saw top, added some hand planes and tried to weed out some scrap. In the course of doing these things though, I’ve noticed some things about what I have and how I have it that have impeded workflow within the scope of a project.

While I’ve worked hard on getting this about where it needs to be, I’m aware that necessity and want often causes changes in plans. That’s why I’ve tried to incorporate components in the cabinets instead of making them one huge unit that would have to be destroyed if I change my mind – that’s where I am now, I will have to probably destroy 75% of what I’ve built in order to go with this new plan. Building the component sections of the cabinet will allow me to make minor changes without having to necessarily start from scratch. For example, the component that will house the miter saw will probably never change if I build it correctly. It would even transition to a mobile unit just with the addition of casters. I’m going for strong, I’m going for sturdy, I’m going for never having to do some of this stuff again. Components also help if I should ever upgrade to a bigger shop or to fix my floor.

So, I post this with the reservation to make adjustments. In fact, I know I will be: I’ve not yet measured for every single detail, but wanted to get an overview of what I needed, where things were going, and what I needed to do. The renders you see here reflect that. I’ll be building some things straight away, but others I’ll have to do later on.

The general idea is this: the workbench and table saw stay where they are. The bandsaw and the drill press move to the back wall, and the miter saw moves back over to the left wall. The planer moves up to a front corner, while the jointer and wall rack switch sides and go over to the right wall. The other big change is that my full size router table gets retained, but redesigned to fit between the rails of the table saw and serve as the right side extension.

At first glance it looks very clean. I’m hoping it functions as well as it looks. To evaluate the layout, I wanted to try and sort out what projects I could build in here, and what tools I use most frequently.

The hub of my shop is the saw, so that gets no change in location. It works well where it is, although I’d like a little more room to cut wider pieces like 5×5 baltic birch. This is a space restraint, and nothing I can do about it. The saw easily moves over to cut wider pieces up to 4′. Next, I’d say I use my jointer and planer most. Here’s where I wanted to move things around a bit. While my jointer is in a pretty good spot right now, I still have to drag it by the tables to get it right where I’d like. That’s because of a combination of where it is, and how I can orient the wheels on the base. It’s also pretty long, and wouldn’t work in the left front corner with the saw staying put. If I clear the right front corner though, it will slide into stow and use positions with the wheels oriented to one side. Should, anyway. Time will tell if I have to do any more shoving. The planer is being stored in the back, but brought to the front for use. I knew that needed to be one of my top priorities to fix. Since I had just slid the jointer over to the right side, the planer should fit in the left front corner. That is, if I moved the wall rack back over to it’s original position. Over in the right front corner, over the saw extension and the jointer seems to make the most sense.

I noticed a huge pain in the butt was trying to use my miter saw. The position on the far right of the wall wasn’t a bad one, but having the planer basically right next to it, and not being able to move it easily, was. I’m hoping by moving it over to the left wall will help solve that. I’ll be able to slide the planer cart out slightly and cut long boards, and the cart won’t get in the way of anything except possibly leaving the shop. I noticed I’d need to go over and grab a pencil, or the tape, or something else in the shop while using the miter. Not being constrained by the bench and the planer cart right there should help.

One other huge pain in that area is the battery charging. I would have to stretch the reel over to the back wall to hook up the chargers, and it would invariably be in the way, especially as it pertained to getting to the bench and back wall. I’ll be moving the chargers probably to the left front corner, so that will be vastly improved. Perhaps the right front corner, which would be even better, but that depends on the space available.

Having experienced the benefit of having a freestanding router table available to me during the table build, I’ve decided to retain it in the best way I know how – but not retaining it. I’ll be turning it into the right side extension of my table saw. The top will have to be slightly narrower to fit between the rails, but that is very minor. The bigger issue will be retaining bit and accessory storage while fitting it in and around the handles for the saw base. It will be oriented perpendicular to the saw, which is different than most. I wanted to retain a larger surface for outfeed purposes, it’s one of the things I like about my current table the best. It will still be on wheels, and attached to the rails so it will slide out when I move the saw. I could easily detach it so I could use either tool outside the shop. I will also be provisioning a spot on the left side of the saw, parallel to the blade, for another router. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last couple of years, it’s the convenience of having two router setups at the same time. Now I’ll finally be able to do it.

Because the router is going to the table, I’ll have to find a new home for the vac. Not the worst prospect, considering right now it’s hard to get to. Same goes for the cyclone, but with it it gets in the way constantly. Since I’ll need them primarily for the jointer, planer and table saw – tools that now will be near the entrance, I should put it as close to them as possible. I’m hoping the vac will fit inside the planer cart, and the cyclone in an adjacent cabinet as part of the left side wall. That will mean short duct runs to the main tools, with only really the bandsaw, drill press and possibly mortiser. Not a huge deal. Those are all on the back wall, and I’m hoping I can finally store full sheets of ply behind these tools, so I can make fewer trips to the lumber yard and having to rent a truck.

I’m hoping the air compressor will fit under the jointer outfeed table in the right front corner, and the air reel can move over slightly as well.



That’s the initial plan, anyway. I think the smartest way to tackle this would be to build the new router table and have it in place before I tear out any cabinets. If I do this, then tear up the old router table, I can cut out a portion of the current cabinets that house it, making room to temporarily put the bandsaw on the back wall to clear room to make the new left side cabinets, one at a time.’

So, as best I can see it, in order:

  1. Plan and build new router table (then destroy current extension and current router table)
  2. Partially destroy left hand back wall cabinet, and move bandsaw to this spot
  3. Rebuild planer cart with vac storage
  4. Build new miter saw cabinet (and buy miter saw, before they become hard to find – would be my luck)
  5. Build one other cabinet with drawers (then destroy current miter saw cabinet and adjacent cabinet on back wall)
  6. Move upper cabinet on back wall to left wall temporarily, move drill press and bandsaw to final positions
  7. Build out rest of left side cabinets
  8. Finish replacing walls, move lumber rack to other side
  9. ????
  10. Profit.

There’s a bunch of minor steps involved as well, such as clearing out a mess of scrap, but it will happen. I plan on having a fire this winter and burning anything I can’t immediately use.

Shop master plan – revision (ongoing – part 2)

Here comes the hard part. The hard part being, in what orientation and how many of the cabinets do I make. The hard part also being, I have to figure out a home for pretty much everything, instead of leaving it up in the air. Most importantly, I want to build things the right way and not take shortcuts because I don’t have the time or energy. I want whatever comes out of this to be ‘final versions.’ No exposed ply edges, square, nice to look at…I’d like this phase to be the last shop furniture I build, aside from unforeseen circumstances like having to rebuild a larger shop or buying bigger tools.

The first part of this process was sitting down in the shop the other day and taking inventory – not of what I had, but what I was storing and where. The easiest thing I can do is start with a safety station: a small cabinet where I can store all my good glasses (the other ones can be shoved to the back of a drawer), respirator and primary headphones. It won’t be too big, hopefully. First aid, if I decide to store any, will be with this, and it will hopefully fit on one of the front walls. (stay with me, the rest of the post is going to be a running monologue)

The hardware bins are slated to go back in the planer cart. However if for some reason that doesn’t work out I will put three or four in a small enclosure and stow it absolutely anywhere I can. It’s small enough to go almost anywhere, which is why I’ll not worry about it too much.

I am planning to store drill bits under the drill press as a small cabinet with drawers, attached to the base of the press. 3-4 drawers should do it, and it could be removable if absolutely necessary. I’ve never had to drill anything that long before, so again – no worries.

Since I have two circular saws, I figured I should store them together. I’m thinking a large drawer with heavy duty slides, and I could store my recip saw, jigsaws and rotary saw all together. I will have to sort out exactly how tall and how wide this drawer will be. It could always be a shelf with doors.  Another drawer somewhere will be shallow and hold pencils, small measuring or setup items, and perhaps a notebook. This will be a very shallow drawer, possibly no deeper than an inch. Writing down ideas, finding them is another. I’ll have a wall cabinet for reading material, my backlog of magazines (especially the older ones). I’m thinking a Barrister-like bookcase (one section) up on the wall somewhere. If there’s no room on the wall, this could perhaps be part of the planer cabinet (a lot of things could go there, right?).

I like having a drawer for my air tools, but the current one is a bit too big. I might find myself with a die grinder at some point, or a framing nailer, but my air tools aren’t going to expand by much. I need a home for finishing supplies, namely the finishes. A shallow, but wide/thin cabinet would work, but so would a traditional deep one. I’d like to keep rags and brushes with it as well.

My hand saws, chisels, files and planes will be in a couple of cabinets on the wall, wherever I can fit them in. Since my chisel collection is fairly extensive, this will be interesting. Some serious planning is going to be needed to fit everything in and it not be the size of one of my walls. A spot for glue and blade cleaning would be really nice. The cleaning bin could fit on top of a deep cabinet, while the cleaner could stow with the finishes. I should try and make a spot on my bandsaw to store accessories (as such), and I’ll need a touch of room to store extra blades. I don’t plan on having many, but they need to be neatly taken care of.

I think I am going to get rid of my miter saw portable box. Having the miter saw mounted onto a sheet of plywood, I could make carrying slots in it very easily and it be just as portable. If I need to use a fence, I can use what I have in my shop. The dovetail jig needs to find a permanent mount, and it will take the form of going in one of the modular stations. It might be hung on the side of a cabinet or the wall for storage if necessary. In a drawer, I’d like to store my Dremel, MF tool, dremel accessories, perhaps the cordless lights. Basically the same as I have now, just better use of my storage. Perhaps lose the cases.

My cordless drills would like to find a home, even if it’s a ‘holster’ attached to the wall. They are something I use often, so I want them easily accessible. My radio and fans need a home. Don’t really care where the fans go, because they get put on a surface when I need them. The radio needs to be away from the chargers due to interference. The mortiser – where? Obviously the best solution would be for it to be integrated into the same cabinet as the miter saw and take advantage of the fence, and level top. Will it end up there?

I do need a spot or two for sharpening. Between the granite tile and the Worksharp, it needs a home. On a module would work pretty well. Not sure it could be hung with the granite. A bin for sandpaper is going to be needed as well, plus something for the belts and bits for the OSS, plus the sanding pads for the hand sanders. Plus, who says I won’t get some manual pads?

That’s my brainstorming for now. I haven’t even really delved into what the configuration is going to be. Stay tuned, this isn’t going to be a quick process.


Shop master plan – revision (ongoing)

I’m making some big changes to the shop plan, so I might as well call it a revision. No need for preamble, so…

The first thing is I’ve decided to retire my freestanding router table. It’s performed every task I’ve asked of it, but I think I can benefit from the added room. More aptly, I can benefit by not trying to make room for it to move. I could have probably gotten away with a smaller mobile table, but I’m not sure I would have liked the weight and feel of it. This can of course change, but I like the idea of using some of the massive real estate I have with the table saw extension as a router table. The size of it (depth) is only a couple inches off what I currently have, and the width is at least double. Only issues will be sorting out dust collection for the router, but I think I can manage. It goes without saying that I will have to completely redesign the extension table, something I had been anticipating for awhile. 2×4 construction is great for slapping something together, but I can do better.

Now the issue becomes where do I store all the bits and accessories for the routers. Since I want to keep the planer cart up near the front, and it’s going to be slightly bigger than before, a great spot would be in it. I was planning on storing all my bits in the Rockler hard foam rubber ‘trays’, and those would be easy to slot into a drawer or two. The collets and the wrenches are super easy to stash, and I may or may not be able to find a home for a couple of things like the router mat. The only other thing I plan to store in the planer cart is a spare set of blades and any accessories that came with the planer, plus the hardware bins. If the orientation isn’t right for the bins, I will find something else to be stored there, something I don’t need very often like a tool case or etc. I might also find room here to keep some of the vac accessories that I need to keep handy. Another potential option is to slide the air compressor in here if all else fails, but it has a good home already.

Moving back to the workbench, I am going to leave the lower shelf off for now. It seems a good place to keep the new separator I will work on after awhile, plus it has the possibility of storing both bins stacked on top of each other. If not, I will probably add a half-shelf for some sort of storage. Otherwise, besides coming to completion, no changes.

The front left corner won’t have many changes, if at all. I may move the door/outfeed table/sled over to the corner so I can access it easier, but only if it doesn’t move the air compressor (and by extension, the jointer) closer to the middle of the room. Behind the bandsaw or the drill press is probably the best spot though, as I can have that little wall to put something like a safety station at.

This was the easy part. The rest is a nightmare…

Refining the shop layout

I’ve spent the last week looking at my shop layout and looking for ways to improve it. I want to, in general, create more space so that one day I can add a midi lathe to my arsenal. There’s things you just can’t easily do without a lathe. I also need to find a home for my hollow chisel mortiser, and making sure I have enough room on a wall for my tool cabinet build. It’s such a busy little place.

I decided that save the location of the table saw and workbench, everything is negotiable to try and gain some space. I hate to completely blow up my master plan, but after using it for awhile I can see that I have some room for improvement. Nothing is sacred, not even my cabinets or router table.

The first place I’m going to start is my planer cart. The cart itself isn’t really the issue, it’s the location. I’ve noticed I always bring it to the entry so I can plane long boards, so I think it should find a home back in the front right corner. I currently use the carcass to store my hardware bins, and that’s not that big of a deal. What I could look at, however, is making the cart a little larger. With the dust chute on the back, I can’t fold up that outfeed table, and thus the actual footprint of the planer is a bit larger than just the body. And since the planer works extremely well, it would probably behoove me to make plans based on it’s dimensions, not the Dewalt DW735, which I’ve been wanting for awhile. Other things could use the cash before that, certainly. I absolutely love the current height. It’s the right height for long and heavy boards, like I’ve experienced with my workbench project. That project has been invaluable in that respect – keeping me from putting it on a low cart and trying to save room that way. If I can find the room, I can fit a tool or two along with the planer on the side. I have to be careful about how big I make this cart, but it might be possible. The mortiser, a future grinding station…I have a few options here. I don’t think I’ll try to fit the miter saw here regardless. If I can’t fit anything about the same height, I still have a bunch of storage opportunity beneath the planer. I could possibly fit two sections of hardware storage, or something bigger below. I’ve about run out of big tools that I need low.

If I move the planer to the front corner, the drill press then has to move elsewhere. I’d kind of like it to be on the end of a cabinet run. I had thought on the left end of one, but then I don’t want to crank the table handle and crack my hand on a cabinet. I’m still trying to decide on this, but the drill press is actually a very easy thing to leave to the end of the planning. Similarly, the bandsaw is pretty easy to stow on the left or back wall, somewhere near the middle of either. On the back is a little more difficult, as it would interfere with any long boards ripped on the table saw. A mobile base would take care of that, if that was judged to be the best spot otherwise. I know it won’t go in a corner, or between runs of cabinets. The bandsaw looks likely to go back to the back wall, the drill press to the left wall just past the wall rack. At least, at this point, it seems the most likely scenario. Now it is possible that they could end up both on the left wall and I retain the full-length cabinet wall I’ve planned to have for ages. If I plan well enough, I could incorporate the mortiser somewhere in there as well. I do have to be careful about the girth of the mortiser and how I brace for it underneath.

I’ve decided to widen the area of my modular stations to 24″ each. Partly this is due to the expanded room I’ll have, partly due to making things easy on the brain, and mostly due to upgrade options. I really like the Hitachi 12″ zero-clearance slider, and this requires at least 24″ in width to clear the deck. If I ever get this though, it will probably have to just live on a cabinet not directly around the workbench as it would stick out pretty far from the edge of the cabinet. Not a great feeling to have the handle poke you in the kidney while trying to plane, I imagine. Allowing the modules to be wider allows me to use the sander in these sections or on any flat surface.

What I haven’t mentioned thus far is the router table, and that’s because I’m eliminating it. I’ve thought forever that I needed a freestanding, mobile table, but in all honesty I can get by without it. I have a spot on my table saw ready-made to house a router, and I can also come up with another solution as well that will take up less space. The only thing I have to concern myself with is bit and accessory storage, easily done in drawers in one of the cabinets. I’m not quite sure what I will do to make a space-saving router table though. Do I make a module? Flip up or flip down table?

I still have to figure out a way to get scrap storage under control, perhaps that starts with doing a better job of throwing stuff away. I’m also investigating going to a larger dust separator.

Impulse control – concluded


Ever have a day where you really don’t want to do anything? Monday was that day for me. It was so hot and humid I was sweating just sitting in there. Not staying in front of the fan was miserable. So, really nothing further got done. I’m not sure I even had the energy to contemplate what was next, just to think about how uncomfortable it was. I did find a spot for my light tripod, and I made a temporary spot for some drill bits at the press. Beyond that though, it was a bit of a waste of time. Perhaps I can get some pictures taken Wednesday, but it’s still pretty messy in there.



Conclusion: (pictures will replace this text as soon as possible)

After going through this project this weekend, I can make some conclusions. First is, this structure isn’t worth saving. There’s too much wrong with it to put any major money into it. That means I won’t be running electricity to it at all. I also won’t be expanding it. Now this doesn’t mean that tomorrow I’ll be going out there and dismantling it. It will be for as long as it is, and I won’t be attempting to replace damaged parts of the structure. There’s enough good wood left in it that I’m not worried about collapse. I don’t think I’m going to bother raising it up of the ground though, that might tempt fate.

I think if I do anything in the next ten years, it would be to remake the structure in some capacity in a different part of my lot. I’ve got a spot it could go, but some engineering might be required. Permits might be fun. Or, I take everything out, demolish, and rebuild in it’s place. I might see if I could put 4-6′ feet along the entryway axis, but that’s about it. It might be at that point where I start thinking about electricity and that cost. But for now, it’s not an option. I’m seeing about putting external outlets on my house on that side, so running cords doesn’t involve opening a door. That would certainly help. However, I still plan to replace the doors. I simply have to. The doors on now are so bowed out at the bottom that any number of furry woodland creatures could make their home there. In fact, a bird did earlier this year. Not a pleasant experience reaching for a clamp or a #5 plane and being pecked in the eyes incessantly. I’m also looking to replace the window, provided I can find one on the cheap. It would be nice to keep the wasps and spiders out as well. Other than that and the rest of the walls, the structure is being left to it’s own devices. Hopefully it will hold up until I have the resources to replace it.

At this point, the wall remodel project is about 75% complete. The remainder will be easy except for cutting replacement sheets around the window.

Impulse control – continued


I started out Sunday facing a huge mess. First thing I had to do was address the pile of boards with nails sticking out of them. I hammered down the nails and set the boards aside on a pair of sawhorses outside. I wasn’t ready to dedicate time to breaking them down small enough to put into a bag. Or the three sheets of plywood strewn in front of the shop.

The first thing to move was the jointer, back to where it was, but now in-line with the plan of storing it below the rack. It was at this point where I had to sit down and think some things through. What would go where, and how it would fit best. I thought moving the sheet goods over with the rack would be best, but after a few minutes I changed my mind and put them back in the front right corner. I moved some stuff temporarily so my drill press could walk (literally) over to this corner. Then, the sheet goods went back around it. I’ll address this corner again in the conclusion.

Next thing to try and figure out was where the air compressor and the reel would go. Compressor seemed to fit well in the left front corner, so I thought about where the reel could go. Not on the wall, low, because it would interfere with either the compressor or the jointer. Then I saw an opportunity to mount it in a joist on the ceiling, next to the door. This would allow me to wheel the compressor outside and behind the door to cut down on noise. The feeder line would run down the door frame, or just inside of it out of the way. Sounded perfect. So I took on the laborious task of taking it down, and remounting it where you’ll presently see it. They don’t make this easy, having to hold the weight of the reel and the hose while you try to line your holes up and install screws into the joist. I thought I had a double joist there, but I don’t. Will add a cutoff to double it in the future when I address the ceiling. I think it’s well secured for the time being, but I’d like to ensure that with perhaps drilling through and using bolts. We’ll see. To get it mounted on the joist, I had to reverse my ladder and move it over to the right side of the entrance.

Seeing the reel finally find a true home was inspiring. That, combined with the uniform walls that now span 3/4 of my shop, made me feel like all this had a purpose. So inspired, I tried to find a home for other things in the process of cleaning up. I found that if I pushed the compressor and jointer away from the corner a little bit, I could temporarily house the portable miter station. Even doing that, I had room under the infeed table of the jointer for my trash can. Doing so alleviated my fear for the workbench – that’s where the can was, under it. I then mounted the extension cord brackets back on the left front wall. I put the ‘detail cabinet’ up beside the drill press for the time being. I moved the bandsaw back to it’s position roughly across from the table and saw. Aside from minor cleanup from that point, there was no rearranging.

I’m left at this point with a quandary – what to do with the cut-off cart. It’s sitting in front of the drill press and it’s blocking my access to the vacuum and full access to the table saw fence. I can store it over next to the bandsaw, but that makes access to the sander and tools difficult. I still have to significantly pare down my scrap in all areas. It’s a nightmare at this point. But where to put what I want to keep, and what to discard and how? Trips to the dump aren’t very often or practical.

It was at this point my activities outside for Sunday were done. Monday, if I get out there, will be spent with more cleanup and putting away. Key goals are to figure out where to hang my utility belt, a possible better spot for the scrap cart and to find a central spot for my safety gear – glasses and ears.


Here you can see the air reel and cord reels in their permanent (yes!) homes. More work to be done, but it’s a great start.


To be concluded…

Impulse control

Wow. This weekend was a barn burner. Let’s review: (note – I’m writing this real time, and this will be posted Monday)

Saturday – I got the idea in my head on Friday that before I built my workbench, I had to at least make some progress on the shop walls. Specifically, the shop walls that I knew held my enemy behind them – carpenter ants. I encountered some on the left wall previously when I replaced the one section on the wall, and I knew I had to go back and finish that wall up and spray and kill as many as I could before I got started on my workbench. It just made sense to do it now, while I had more room to move stuff around.

In the morning I picked up three sheets of 7/16″ OSB from Lowe’s (about $25) and brought them home. I was going to have to take multiple breaks during the day, so as soon as I got home I started moving stuff around – the bandsaw and the jointer got shoved toward the back, as well as some scrap and stuff off the middle panel. It was about that time where I had to leave again. Back again, I started removing the large head nails that held the wall skin in place.

-=It’s here where I break to tell you how these walls were constructed. Back about four centuries ago (or so) when this thing was ‘built,’ the vertical studs were then covered in horizontal boards so that they could put up the thinnest thing possible – 1/4″ plywood. If they didn’t put the boards up, you could have punched through the walls I suppose. Doesn’t make much sense why they couldn’t have just put up thicker plywood. What was the advantage? =-

So…oh yeah…once I got the nails removed, I had to remove the plywood sheet and start pulling boards. Since the boards weren’t defined by the edges of each plywood sheet, I decided to cut the ones that ran under the adjacent sheet. I was doing one section at a time because I don’t have a lot of room to move things around. All boards removed, I cut the sheet to size (not an 8′ ceiling, unfortunately) and installed the OSB with Spax torx screws. I love these things. I found frass…a ton of it, which I was expecting.

One section down, I moved the drill press and all the other crap behind it and started on that section. Like before I pulled the plywood and boards, but since this was the corner I did my cutting on the plywood instead of the boards to facilitate removal. This is where it started getting sticky. The damage to the studs was terrifying. Bottom, top, in between. Water and carpenter ants are the culprits. I was expecting both, but it was still bad. This is the corner that has the most direct ground contact, so I knew it would be bad. But still…

Then the ants came.

Replacing the one section of wall in winter, the ants were slow and groggy and easy to kill. This time around, it was like a jailbreak. Huge black carpenter ants, and then I saw the winged males. Those were impressive…and nightmare inducing. I’ve seen smaller Cadillacs. They just kept coming and coming. I sprayed liberally with a home defense-type pest spray. I sprayed some more…and then again. I let sit while I had to run another errand. When I got back I sprayed a couple more times. Since the wood was obviously already moist, some additional moisture in the form on liquid death would probably be an improvement. I then took off the opposing section on that corner, the right part of the entry wall (looking at it from inside). More ants. More spray. Same procedure, remove plywood then the boards. Tons of frass. They’ve been doing this for ages.

With all the ants dead that I could see, I buttoned up the corner with the remaining two sheets of OSB. Both were narrower cuts than the first panel. Walls done for now, I cleaned up a touch (left the old crap outside) and had dinner. After dinner I had some extra motivation so I decided to tick off another project off the to-do list: move the wall rack. I had it in my plans to move it over to the other wall since the beginning, and being able to find the studs was why it hadn’t been attempted before. Studs marked and sturdier material up on the wall, now was as good a time as any since the shop was in complete disarray. Process was simple enough, no real explanation needed.

Now it was at this point I had a concern: if the ants liked the fir/SYP studs so much, what about the wood I was putting literally inches from where they had made a home? I worried about that a bit until I came inside and read up on what they liked – moisture. Since the boards I put up there are fairly low moisture compared to the damaged studs, I think I’ll be okay. I’ll still spray and put out diatomaceous earth every now and again. The wall rack up where I want it, on Sunday begins the cleanup and rearrangement. It’s going to be tricky to get things moved around to a more final location and find room for everything. But, better to do it now before I put a longer bench in.

Pics below with comments.


Everything moved out of the way


First section ready for replacement.


I’ve discovered Anne Hathaway’s Cottage!


First and second sections complete.


What a mess…

To be continued…

Virtual Insanity

As you view the video that inspired the title of this entry (and while being a rather good song, it’s the video itself which is brilliant), I’ll wait.

Nice, right? Well, in this entry I wanted to share some updated 2D renders of my virtual 3D workshop. Unfortunately the model has too many components to share the 3D experience online, so this is the next best thing. I’ll go through each of the angles and explain some things.

Here we have a top-down look centered over the entry door. First off, let me explain what’s different about this look versus what’s actual. First off, that Holtzapffel bench isn’t built yet. In it’s place is an old work table plus the old stand for my sander. Takes up about as much room. The drill press is still in the left front corner, and the cutoff rack is on the right. As soon as I get OSB to replace the left wall, those will be switched. The air reel is over where the drill press is pictured. The Dewalt planer isn’t in my possession yet, I’m still using the Ryobi. And the table saw is an approximation to my actual setup, the BT3000 takes the place of my actual 21829. That’s it though, plus it’s missing some finer details. Sketchup doesn’t have any downloads for ‘lots of crap.’

You can see the layout best in this render. I have space to enter, and get to the back via the little walkway between the bench and the band saw. I have room to work at any part of the cabinets or the workbench. I have room to slide the planer cart or router table (possibly) between the bench and cabinet or cabinet and band saw if I need to. It’s not the most fantastic setup, but I think it’s one of the best for this particular structure. I have a window to illuminate my bench if I have to have the doors closed.

Here you can see the view from the left wall, and the space I have for my bench walkway. The table saw can be oriented to the door for wider cuts. The drill press is most likely going to be put on wheels to work on longer pieces.

Here you get an idea of what the back right corner looks like at eye level. Under that far right overhang on the cabinet is where my sawhorses sit. Turns out it’s not the most convenient place, but it works and keeps them out of the way. The miter saw will be able to move where the planer cart is for long offcuts.

Now the view from the right wall. You can see my Craftsman chest which keeps some of my smaller items, including measuring tools. I can only guess that’s where the air compressor will sit, as I’ve yet to find a happy home for it and the air reel. Will have to see if my band saw will have to go mobile to clear the wood rack. If it does, might as well move it to where the drill press is seen.

And in this final render you can see the back left corner at eye level. You see my location for my sander. Not drawn is the socket or drill bit drawer above them (got lazy). My router table is going to be rebuilt at some point in the future, and I’ll discuss that later.