The New Shop – The Big Addition, the little details, and everything in between

In the midst a trying time for our family, we are attempting to keep the other parts of our lives going. For me, that’s continuing to put work into the shop when feasible. So, steady on.

I was up early this morning and needed something quiet to do. So, I moved the chisel and rasp racks over and mounted on the wall under the hand plane till. This will work just fine until I get a hand tool cabinet going. I used the drill press to drill a new hole for the marking gauge. And yes, it’s quite remarkable that I can use a level in here. Never done it in the shop.

I also installed my straight edge on the wall, but honestly I don’t know if I’m that thrilled with the location.

Then, I put a new battery in my clock and hung it above the TV. Can’t have the shop up and running without that gift from my children.

It was about time to start making things for the new shop, but I had no dust extraction. I could have brought over my vac and separator, but that would eat into my floor space as I didn’t account for it in the new layout. I found a 20% off coupon for Harbor Freight, and decided I would make a purchase I’ve been waiting on for many years – the HF dust extractor.

This is something I’ve been planning on for years, and it factored heavily into the design of the workshop. While I will enjoy the storage capability of the attic, it was put in primarily to house the air compressor and extractor. It is the reason I put in switched outlets up there. It is the reason I went with a gambrel roof. It is the reason I will put in regular attic stairs.

So, I went ahead and bought it. I had been worried about if it would draw too many amps, but apparently at some point recently they changed specifications and the new motor (maybe) draws 15A vs 20A. It’s also now grey instead of green. To test if it would immediately trip the circuit, I took everything out of the box downstairs and hooked the motor up. The lights dimmed momentarily, but no issues. So, it went upstairs for assembly.

I knew when I built the shop that upstairs might not be quite tall enough, and I was right. Even when eliminating the wheels on the stock assembly. The filter bag is a bit squashed, but does work. It is fully controlled by the second light switch. I will at some point modify the assembly for better suction and better space.

I stopped at Rockler to get an expandable hose for temporary use. It expands all the way up to 14 feet, which is way more than I’ll ever need in my shop. I will probably keep it hooked up to use for vacuuming the floor instead of doing a floor sweep. Anyway, I didn’t get the right size adapter really, but was able to hook up to the table saw anyway. It’s plenty powerful for my use. I will have to set up lines coming down on each side of the shop to capture from all the machines and do it neatly. I’ll also have to purchase some adapters for tool use. I will probably use the expandable hose for the planer and jointer, considering they can both take the full 4″ inlet.

With the dust extractor installed (basically), I turned my attention to fabrication. I had tested the extraction on the table saw, and the offcut I made was pretty much perfect to use as a shelf for my computer. I crosscut it down to the right length, put a couple pocket holes in it, and screwed into the wall behind the monitor. Now the computer is hidden, and I just need to secure the cables and hide them.

(Which I did Monday afternoon while replacing the drilled outlet)

I also cleaned up some of the scrap T1-11 siding so I could finish the wall coverings. The dust collection here wasn’t quite as good, but then again I also have to get the above-table extraction going as well. Not quite sure how I’ll tackle that one. I also need to close in the bottom of the saw somehow.

On Sunday, I honestly didn’t get a lot done and I’m not entirely sure why. I did some testing with the dust extractor on the router table, and it’s great if the fence captures the bit. Will have to install a port in the router cavity and have a dual extraction like I need to on the table saw. Honestly, that might be something to have combined in some sort of way – one hose for the RT fence and saw guard, and the other for the back of the table saw (or under) and the RT base. No real need for four hoses here.

I did just remember that it was my mom’s birthday and we did visit some plus I made dinner, so that explains a lack of progress.

I had a few minutes out there Monday afternoon, so I got the wires and outlet taken care of, and started to work on on the clamp rack, which I’ll post later. I have now realized that I need adequate adapters for the tools, and perhaps to secure them better.

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