Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Where have you been all this time?!

Wow, it has been a long time! It is hard to believe that my last post was January of 2011. A lot has changed for me since then, which is why I haven't been posting in a while. The biggest reason is because we have moved...twice and as a result, all of my woodworking equipment had been in storage. However, part of all these moves and changes is the fact that I have had the opportunity to build myself a standalone "dream shop"! So, my power tools have been rescued and are now in their new home. So, let's start there, the new shop...

I have been blessed with the opportunity to build myself a free-standing wood shop, a blank slate, to turn into my dream shop. So, I built a 32'x24' shop with 10' ceilings. Here is a shot of it being built.

As you can see, it has two garage doors on the front, a side entrance and it also have two windows on each end. I also installed two, powered, attic exhaust fans in the roof that I can control with a switch. I did this in order to circulate hot air out, but to also exhaust any fumes when doing finish work.

Working with a blank slate is a dream, but in some ways, also a bit of a nightmare; where do I put things? Where will lumber go? Where do I put this piece of equipment and that piece? Etc, etc. It is fun though and, let's be honest, a shop is never truly "done" is it? In designing my shop, I knew I wanted a few things for certain. First, I knew I wanted the outlet boxes to be cabinet height, that way, any cabinets or equipment that I put against a wall will not block any outlets. Second, I wanted lots of 110V and 220V outlets scattered throughout. Next, I wanted all 110V outlets to be quad outlets. I knew I wanted the walls to be covered with wood paneling and not drywall. Next, as much as possible, everything should be mobile (with a couple exceptions). Lastly, I knew I wanted everything that goes on the wall to use a French cleat system, that way I can move anything anywhere as my needs change over time.

So, what did I come up with? Well, here are a few shots of my shop as it is so far (subject to change without notice of course). This first shot is the right hand wall as you enter the shop. This is where all the lumber comes in, gets stored and broken down for projects.

I have my miter saw down here, along with a circular saw, jig saw and track saw, which are stored in the same mobile cabinet that my miter saw is on. This means that most, of not everything, I need to break down everything from rough lumber to sheet goods is all in one place. Now, I chose to store my lumber vertically for a couple of reasons. In my last shop, I stored it horizontally, and it took, basically an entire wall. It was also really hard to sort through the lumber in a meaningful way like that. By storing vertically, I can store a lot more lumber in a smaller area and it makes it so much easier to sort through. Here is a link to a more detailed picture of the lumber storage, but it is basically black pipe flanges and 12" pipe bolted to the wall. The wood also sits on a wooden "step" on the floor.

As we move from right to left, we begin to see how wood also moves through the process as you now run into the jointers (I have a 6" and 8") and planer.

So, after I break down the pieces, I can simply turn around and than begin to mill the pieces. Once they are milled, you move to my workbench and table saw; the heart of the shop. 

There is a lot going on in this shot, and some I may need to explain in another post, but the point is, after pieces are milled, I can cut to width and length at the table saw and also begin joinery layout at the workbench. I also have clamps near the bench, you can see my Rigid sander near the bench as well; this also holds all of my power sanders and sandpaper. Because I also use a good bit of hand tools, they are stored under the bench in drawers and I have a sanding station right next to the bench as well. 

So, as you can see, the shop is not done yet, but I don't think they ever are. I still have a good bit of insulation to get installed, wall board to be hung, extension table for the table saw, etc, etc. The good news is though, it is a functional shop that I can start building projects in right now, and I already have two in the works! 

I am so thrilled to be back woodworking again and, boy, has the woodworking world changed in the last 4+ years or what?! More on that in another post maybe, but in the meantime, I am glad to be back!

Thank you all!

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