Red's Shop #1: How My Slice of Heaven Came To Be.

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Blog entry by BigRedKnothead posted 12-10-2013 11:22 PM 1779 reads 2 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Red's Shop series Part 2: Deckin' it Out, Makin' it Mine. »

Well, as any of my friends, family, and Lumberjock buddies could attest….it’s been a BIG year my shop. My shop is so different now, I can’t believe it’s the same space.

I should note that I’ve been participating in for about a year now. Involvement on this site is the only reason I have pictures to prove it. This place will motivate you to take pics and share your journey. So, here’s a bit of mine.

I don’t have any great “Before” pics. You can see my shop in the background of pics that happened to be taken:

4 years ago. A tablesaw, drill press, a bench, and my little buddy:

3 years ago. Added a bandsaw, an outfeed table, a really crappy jointer/planer combo, and our future dining table:

You get the picture. It was a cluttered 24×22 ft. 2 car garage that doubled as a woodshop. It had bicycles, car seats, shelves full of camping gear etc.
Furthermore, it had no windows. It was poorly lit with cinder block walls on three sides. I know, probably doesn’t sound much worse than what most LJs have to work with. Changes and improvements were slow. This was partly due to finances, and partly due to my skill and knowledge level. Every novice woodworker relates to these obstacles.

Each year with our tax return I would buy another tool or machine. Each year I would make a few pieces of furniture we wanted or needed for our home. It went on this way for 3 or 4 years. Slowly I became decent at making furniture. And when I got confident enough, I started to sell some of it.

After a lot of “delayed gratification,” it all started coming together. I started to find very reasonable sources for lumber in the area. Thanks to some inspiration at, I had a good idea of what I wanted my shop to be. And every time I sold a piece of furniture, I had a little jingle in my pocket to invest in my shop.

At this time last year, I had just delivered my biggest commission to date. Ironically my first project post on LJs:
Click for details
I surprised myself with how well it turned out. I didn’t charge enough for it, but oh well, I really wanted to show people what I could do. It worked. This led to several other commissions. I bought this with the proceeds from the sideboard:

Now that I had decent way to mill large stock…..I wanted a new bench. A bench that would enable me to work more with hand tools. I had my mind set on one of those Roubo’s. I wouldn’t let myself build it without at least trying those crazy dovetails through the top. I’m glad I did.
I embarked upon that bugger beginning last December. Took me about 6 weeks (some vacation time in there). It was a blast to build, and it’s the heart of my shop. My old bench got demoted to sharpening station.
Click for details
So, it’s this past spring. I’m bustin’ out a couple more pieces of furniture. My shop looks about like this:

As LJ JayT noted, once you’ve built a great bench, you feel compelled to bring the rest of your shop up to the level of your bench. I guess it was something like that.

This was the next step in my master plan. It’s not a shop….it’s a shed! A shed to store all the crap in my garage that doesn’t have anything to do with woodworking. I think I built that in May.

Alright, I got all the crud out. Time to do something about the dungeon feel of my shop. Paint and lights time.
It was crazy. On a clear day, I hauled everything I could into the driveway. I covered everything else. Then I sprayed white….and more white.

Looks a little different. Looks open and Big! There’s some shifting around of machines. There’s a lumber storage rack (above the bandsaw in pic) that got reassigned as a cutoff rack.


Added some lights and plugs. My time working as an electrician during and after college came in handy.


At this time, I still had a large pile of lumber sitting where my wife’s minivan is supposed to park (only when it snow’s now…snicker). I needed lumber storage. This is what I came up with:
Click for details

Problem solved.

Well, this is getting a little long. We’re about half way through the year now. I’ll save the rest for a another blog.

Update: You can find Part Two here.

Thanks for reading and sharing the ride. Questions and comments always welcome, Red

-- Red-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

24 comments so far

View AnthonyReed's profile


5270 posts in 1224 days

#1 posted 12-10-2013 11:32 PM

Great stuff BRK. Thanks man, fun too see come together.

-- ~Tony

View Hammerthumb's profile (online now)


1578 posts in 758 days

#2 posted 12-10-2013 11:41 PM

Very nice Red. I still cant get over how large your shop looks compared to mine. I’m going to take some measurements when I get home to compare. I do have a wall of cabinets on one side that takes up a lot of room. Thinking about making some changes.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1753 days

#3 posted 12-10-2013 11:49 PM

I like what you’ve done with the place.

That is a sweet set up Red. The shed for all the crap is an absolute must when you’ve got kids – bicycles, roller skates, other stuff you bought them that they don’t play with, get it out the garage and never let it back in.

It looks really spacious and well organized. Are there any other pieces of machinery to add in the future?

View NinjaAssassin's profile (online now)


475 posts in 508 days

#4 posted 12-10-2013 11:54 PM

Thanks for sharing, Red. You’ve got a pretty awesome space that you’ve clearly put a lot of effort into. Really cool.

-- - Billy

View poospleasures's profile


365 posts in 1267 days

#5 posted 12-11-2013 12:07 AM

I really like your shop and the story that goes with it. It reminds me of the shops I have built. I get so busy making projects I can never really get my shop to look neat as yours. Seems as I make tables and jigs that work just great but they do not look very good. I like your idea to keep it in the garage which is a great asset for heating and cooling and running into the house for any number of things. My shop has just a little more floor area than yours but we do put the wifes car in every night. Most of my stuff is on wheels, but now only have to move 1 work table to also get my small truck in when it snows. Like your projects also.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning. Vernon

View CL810's profile (online now)


2532 posts in 1771 days

#6 posted 12-11-2013 12:12 AM

Is there room for my cot??

It’s been fun and informative reading all you posts this year Red – Thanks!

-- "It's amazing how much can go wrong when you think you know what you're doing."

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


15251 posts in 2459 days

#7 posted 12-11-2013 12:22 AM

Great story and a great adventure I’m sure ;-)

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View whitebeast88's profile


3659 posts in 974 days

#8 posted 12-11-2013 01:48 AM

great shop you have there’s come along way and as they say an ever evolving shop.thanks for sharing.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View MC's profile


78 posts in 1130 days

#9 posted 12-11-2013 01:50 AM

Thank you that was great inspiration for me. I am finishing a Federal table for my wife; she is so happy with how it is turning out I have been given the green light to convert our two car garage to a full time shop. Hope to have mine looking as good as yours some day.

View BigRedKnothead's profile


6099 posts in 766 days

#10 posted 12-11-2013 02:21 AM

Thanks guys. It’ll really start coming together in my next blog entry.

Paul- Somewhere I saw a guy who turned his tablesaw so his back would be toward the garage door. I like this setup. You need to open the garage door to rip long pieces, but that wouldn’t be a big deal for you in Vegas. That’s one option to kick around.

Renners- the only other piece of equipment on my radar is a nice planer; 15” or so. One of the nice big planer/jointer combo machines would a nice space saver. But they’re spendy, and then I would need to sell my current jointer. Sigh.
We’ll see.

Andy- back at ya.

-- Red-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 1766 days

#11 posted 12-11-2013 02:31 AM

You’ve grown your shop in different ways; so nice to see pictures to document that.

View BinghamtonEd's profile


1615 posts in 1153 days

#12 posted 12-11-2013 02:54 AM

Very cool, nice to see the progression. Almost makes me have hope that someday I wi have a respectable shop!

I think the most amazing part is that you’ve found time to do this with kid(s). I have yet to master that!

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View widdle's profile


1512 posts in 1782 days

#13 posted 12-11-2013 04:06 AM

Poor little guy had to paint the birdhouse with a 1/2”glue brush while standing on a

your shop does always look spacious to me as well..I’m in a 20’ x 20’, and feels cluttered..
good stuff

View pintodeluxe's profile (online now)


3654 posts in 1597 days

#14 posted 12-11-2013 05:51 AM

Great shop space, and nice jointer too.

The shed will work fine until it turns into… a dehumidification kiln!

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Don W's profile

Don W

15755 posts in 1351 days

#15 posted 12-11-2013 03:01 PM

Thanks for sharing the journey. Its always more enjoyable when your not going it alone.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

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