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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Ever-Evolving Shop

For any of you fellow wood workers out there, do we ever stop changing our shops? I know mine is an ever evolving project that just keeps going and going. Every time I move something here, change something there, I immediately start thinking of ways I'd like things different than how I just put them. And don't even get me started on upgrading or acquiring new toys, uh, tools. This usually instantly turns into yet another opportunity to move things around a bit. 
Anyway, I was looking a few days ago at the last time I posted photos of my shop and realized that it has changed a few times since then, and thought some of my readers may be interested in some of the changes I've made.
I usually start my online shop tours by walking into the front door of the shop.
This time is different. 
We are starting near the back of the shop because something I've been doing lately is trying to streamline the operations of how I do things. 
It occurred to me that I was hurting myself moving wood from one side of the shop, to the other side to rip down, back to the other side if it needed planed. Things simply weren't in a very efficient layout. 
Anyway, here at the back of the shop is where I store most of my usable wood. The other side there, where you can't see in this photo, is saw horses I leave out. I can pull wood off the stacks to the saw horses and cut it down with a circular saw to a more usable size for whatever I may be making at the time. 
From the saw horse, if needed, I can move the wood to these nearby tools, the jointer and planer, and prep it to be worked with. 
By the way, these two tools are upgrades from what I had before. 
I didn't even have a jointer before and thought I did not need one. Since getting it though, I have really seen the great advantages to owning one.
The planer is a huge upgrade. My lovely wife bought it used. This one though is one of those tools that were made back when a man could fix it himself should anything go wrong with it. That is a huge improvement over the planer I had before that spent a month in the shop under warranty while they waited a full month for parts to come it.
This planer is a Grizzly fifteen inch. It has a two horse motor and runs on 220. I had to get help running new power lines for it, but I am thrilled to now have something that will hog through the work without bogging down.
Moving back towards the front of the shop is my ever changing sanding station.
My son got me a second Ridgid spindle/belt sander. I'd had one for a couple of years and loved it. If you only use one or the other, having both a spindle and belt sander on the same tool is a great concept. However, for a lot of the projects I do, I often need both and it was a pain switching back and forth several times in a short amount of time. He let me pick it out, so I could have gotten a dedicated tool, but I liked my first one so much that I decided I wanted the same. 
On the other side of that work station is my work table. 
Some of you may remember I built a work bench. I love my work bench. There are dirty jobs that are done though that would just destroy the looks of a nice bench. That is where my work table comes in. 
You may notice at the back of the table is my clamp rack. A wood worker can never have enough clamps. I used to laugh at that statement, until I find myself at times waiting on glue to dry so I can free up clamps to start on another part or assembly. For you who don't work wood, watching glue dry is just like watching paint dry or grass grow.
At the other end of the table you can see another ongoing project of mine, the old Craftsman band saw. That is a 1950 eighteen inch Craftsman saw. When done, I have hopes of it being my main re-sawing tool.
Behind the work table is where a majority of the work goes on. The table saw is the centerpiece, with my shop made band saw to the right and my work bench to the left. 
Here you can see the workbench.
Also note that I've added more shelf space under my table saw. I have wanted to move my routers and accessories closer to the saw for some time. 
Go around the workbench and this is right next to my lathe and lathe station where I do most of my turning work. When possible I spend a lot of time here. 
This is looking back at the lathe area. Just to the left of this photo is the workbench you were just looking at in the last photo. 
You may notice that I have two grinders set up here. The lower one is set up with course stones that I use for shaping and making a lot of my own turning tools, something I've really started to enjoy doing. The higher one is finer grits that I use for sharpening turning tools. 
I recently, after a long and patient hunt, acquired my dream saw. This is a twenty inch RBI Hawk. If you've seen my scroll work, all that I've done on a small Delta, something that is really what some would consider a "beginner" saw. It always done the work I needed it to, but I have long dreamed of a good quality saw. It was a good deal though and a testament of what you can find on Craiglist if you're patient. New, this is a twelve hundred dollar saw. We found this one for a hundred and seventy five dollars.
When I seen this saw on Craiglist, I was in a fit. This is the third one I have seen on there in as many years. Every time I see one for a good deal though, I just don't have the money. I decided when I seen this one to bite the bullet and get it. After getting it home though and fretting over how I was going to cover the cost, my daughter and son in law came to me explaining that they had no idea what to get me for Father's Day and wanted to cover the cost of it. 
This whole area here I have rearranged to create a more open area than before. I decided I did not like going all the way around the back of the work bench to get to the lathes. Now when I want to get right to the lathe I can come in the front door and go right to it.
Then in front of my work area is the usual collection of completed projects that collect so much dust. 


I hope you enjoyed seeing my shop in its current state, because you never know, I may change it up again before you see too much of it.
If any of my readers and wood working friends are ever in my area, contact me and come visit my shop. I always enjoy shop visitors.  


  1. Great shop tour William. Enjoyed looking through the pictures with my morning coffee. Great scroll saw score.

  2. Ooops - that last comment was from Sandra on LJ


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