Working in 144

(The final entry in the Working in 144 series)

Working in a space more suited for a walk-in closet isn’t easy. That space also being unconditioned, un-level and un-powered makes it even trickier. Fore the foreseeable future though, it is what I have to endure. It’s not the worst space in the world, and I’m happy to have it. How can I make it enjoyable, though?

The first thing I have to do is continue finding a space for all the little things. Right now my workbench and other surfaces are littered with small items like bits, old bolts and screws and the like. I also have some odds and ends like cutoffs. As usual, they don’t have a home. Those small cutoffs will absolutely have to find a home if I want to have a happy shop. Under one end of my workbench would be a great spot for a drawer or perhaps a rolling cart with low-profile casters. I am thinking about making a shelf for my wall shelving that would help hold smaller pieces. Very simple task that would be, I would just have to get it done. That will wait until after the layout is settled, though. Also, if I move the shelves away from a corner I can use that little space to store them. I quite like that idea. Some of the things like screws and bits I just need to do a better job organizing them in hardware containers, a systainer, or some other system. I don’t know if I will have a dedicated driving drawer in the future, so it’s something to consider.

One annoyance I have working in my shop now is dust collection. For smaller power tools, I don’t have the connections to hook up to my separator, and I’m currently working on that. I ordered a Bosch hose that is designed to hook up to Festools, and I just ordered an adapter that hopefully will allow me to hook up most of the rest of the small diameter ports I have. For the table saw, I’m hoping to have a smaller diameter overarm setup in the near future to both hopefully grab more dust and not be quite as in the way. It probably won’t solve the issues that come with using the dado or thin rips, but being a help with everything else would be great. For the miter saw, I need to remember to turn the vac on, but also to make an easy to use and reach blast gate instead of disconnecting the line. The bandsaw needs some modification to get the dust into the port, but it can be done. I’m not too terribly concerned about other tools as the dust collection is either unfeasible or just fine.

I need to do a better job of having access to things during assembly, like clamps, glue, hardware and small tools like drills. The clamps might be a challenge because the obvious place to put them is also a great space to slide a big tool out of the way. A challenge to be sure. Sort of the same problem with everything else, but smaller. I need to remove my detailing cart, the spare planer and the yard tools stored on the door.

I have come up with an idea that will help give me on-demand flat surfaces. The design can be seen below. Basically these are mini versions of Ron Paulk’s workbench and similar designs. It has swing-down, extendable legs on one side, and a mechanism to attach to T-track in the opposite side. I will be attaching T-track to my miter saw station, router table and my workbench. They should be able to also attach to my table saw to serve as an outfeed table. This would come in especially handy if I had to move my saw outdoors. I’m hoping they are stable enough to attach to each other to serve as a standalone work surface.

The real genius of this idea is that I’ll also be able to attach them to the interior surface of my doors. I’ll have at least two of them be able to attach in tandem to get a 2’x4′ surface. With both doors having these attached, I can then put down foam and have a spot to sit sheet goods on for a comfortable breakdown process. These will store under the miter saw when not in use, and I think I should be able to get at least four under there if my height isn’t too bad. I’m not sure I will need more than that. The sides will be made of plywood, and it will have a spot for a removable section of MDF that will have holes in it very similar to the Festool MFT. I’ll have to fudge around with the overall dimensions to get the right spacing from hole to hole and to edge correct. I have the measurements (70mm from edge, 96mm on center, 20mm holes) so it’s just a matter of sizing the box around the top and keeping it able to fit in the storage allotted.

I think with this plan I can go forward comfortably knowing that none of my efforts will be wasted. All of this can transfer to a new shop, and also transfer into storage if there is a period where I am without a shop (hopefully only transitioning between shops, such as construction). I will also make an effort to get the place level, if it’s feasible. I am considering adding a new floor, and I will improve upon the insulation. I can live with that plan going forward.

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