I have been considering how to make my workshop a nicer place, outside of razing it and starting over. My problem is that I have too much in it. I’ve acquired all the tools I needed or wanted for the most part, but my efforts so far haven’t resulted in a cohesive solution and I have not wanted to build anything for awhile.
This is where I am right now:
It’s the best that I’ve come to expect thus far. However I decided to ask myself some serious questions and come to realize that some of the features I have wanted or come to expect may not be in my best interest any longer. I had been scratching my head trying to come up with a modified layout. I thought it might be interesting to share what my decision process is. The best place to start is to share what I think is right and wrong with what I have, or rather what I think could be improved upon.
My biggest complaint is a lack of room to move around, especially to the interior of the shop, on the back side of the bench. Things that could help alleviate this is to get rid of the mobile cutoff cart that is sitting in the intersection of the walkways. Finding a better home for the lathe would be nice, but may not be possible. There’s some crap at the back end of the ‘U’ at the rear of the table saw that needs to be removed or find a home.
My biggest like about my shop is the nice cabinet surface I have at my miter saw where I can cut boards the full length of my shop. I love all the drawers I have under it and the storage for the vac and separator. My need here is to use the drawer space efficiently and make the drawers nice and level (the support I had to add for the miter saw really threw things off).
A big complaint is the ability to use all my tools as intended. What I mean is my router table got severely downgraded, I have to really maneuver the jointer to even use it. I’m not going to get more space anytime soon, so I have to do what I can to maximize space. To use the dead zones of each tool to my advantage.
I do love just about every tool I have. I spent time researching all of them and I feel I’ve made some really great decisions. I do want to upgrade my planer at some point, and I know I will switch to a more standard table saw in the years to come. Everything else though is fantastic. My miter saw I don’t think can be topped. My drill press is rarely used, but awesome. I’ve got an underrated bandsaw and lathe from Harbor Freight. Aside from taking up more room than I would like, my jointer is great. So, the goal here is to fit these together a bit better.
A week ago I had an idea about how I could slightly modify the layout to make a bit more sense. Now my thoughts here don’t constitute a change in layout, but merely brainstorming. I will be doing a Sketchup trial run to see how it might work before I make any changes in actuality. I would give up a little bit of real estate on my extension table in order to move the drill press down the wall to the front of the shop. I had contemplated moving it over to a gap in the miter saw wall, but didn’t see how it would clear the miter saw material. Moving it between the rails of the saw allows it to not take up any meaningful space, as I would still have support for the widest pieces. What’s important to have longer is the rails, not the surface anyway.
Moving the drill press down frees up about 2 feet of floor space. Next thing (literally) is to give the planer a new home. As much as I like the planer cart, I need to better utilize the space it takes up. I was thinking on the miter saw wall, right at the entrance. Tuck it down a little so miter operations aren’t affected. This means I will also have to find a new home for a combination of the wrenches, drill bits and/or the OSS. Stacking the OSS and the planer would probably work though. Not too much of a concern, but that stuff does have to go somewhere.
Doing those two things opens up a lot more room. I could conceivably move the lathe elsewhere, perhaps even on the backside of the table saw extension. Will have to make some measurements. I’d certainly, at the least, have more room to maneuver that huge aircraft carrier.
However, I need to work out the feasibility of what I stated first, before I start thinking about where everything else might be moved. It’s about that time to start taking measurements and visualizing how things might work.