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Shop Organization - Or Lack Of

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Blog entry by Cathie Zimmerman posted 07-10-2017 08:04 AM 891 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

About a year and a half ago I retired as a director of public safety. I’d served in the industry for 17 years and was ready for something different. I was absolutely ecstatic that my wife supported me retiring “early.” So, I leapt head first into the rabbit hole of this new hobby of mind: woodworking.

Little by little I’ve found fantastic deals on the tools I needed (ok wanted lol). I can proudly say I have just about every power tool one could save up for. They are not industrial quality but have pretty good names either way. My final goal will be to organize for efficiency and install what I need for dust collection; right now it stays hooked up to my table saw.

In my last profession I was known as a “fixer.” I was assigned to problem areas that needed to be fixed. I can take an area, work with some key folks and help it thrive. I can come into a mess and clean it up. BUT for the life of me I can’t seem to get this shop together, everything fit well and efficient and love it. Now, if it was someone else’s… lol I dare say I’d have a ton of ideas!

Does anyone out there, have any suggestions on where to go for help with that? A resource that I could say… “here are my dimensions, these are the tools, the bench and storage I have… how can I make this work?”



11 comments so far

View sras's profile

sras

4574 posts in 2886 days


#1 posted 07-10-2017 02:44 PM

For me, I have been in the same shop for 16 years and I am still organizing it! It is a process of constant change – a little at a time. Sometime I have friends over and share my layout ideas and I get even better suggestions. It seems like each time I add a tool I go through another round of shifting things around.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View gargey's profile

gargey

796 posts in 532 days


#2 posted 07-10-2017 03:46 PM

I need to organize mine, but I think this is a good way to think about it, and what I’m gonna do:

(80/20 rule)

You probably have a small set of tools that you’ll use the vast majority of the time. Have them close by and easily accessible. Near your bench, and visible. In a tool cabinet, if you want them locked up.

The other 80% of your stuff will probably be used only 20% of the time. That stuff is fine to have put away in drawers or boxes. Dig it out when you need it.

Try to adopt the habit of putting stuff back where it goes when your done with it, or your horizontal surfaces will turn into forrests of crap.

With that in mind, try to have a designated place for EVERYTHING.

View builtinbkyn's profile

builtinbkyn

1755 posts in 697 days


#3 posted 07-10-2017 04:17 PM

For me the process started with making a sketch of the shop and then making the storage I laid out in the sketch. This got me into the “shop working mode”. It has since evolved from my initial plans, but not all that much.

Some of your work stations can become storage for your tools. There are plenty of examples here on LJs for solutions to issues that others have dealt with successfully. More than likely, your table saw/cabinet saw, if you choose to have one, will be the most used and center of your work space. Then move out from there. The TS can incorporate storage as well and don’t ignore dust collection.

There’s a wealth of knowledge and people willing to help here on LJs. Asking questions, as you did, is a good first step and everyone is willing to give an opinion ;) Good luck and have fun! Oh congrats on your early retirement too!

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn :)

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

4219 posts in 1961 days


#4 posted 07-10-2017 07:59 PM

Here is an opinion:-
Dont even worry about it as long as there is nothing unsafe adopt the attitude of when you are working it needs to be functional all the organising in the world may provide what looks to be “Neat and Tidy” may not be practical when you hit the switch.
The layout will come from practice as you construct “stuff”
I have been doing wood work for a few years and only yesterday changed things for the better.
I found a throw out trolley and fitted it with shelves and removed 3 pieces of equipment off the floor and containers of equipment so can now wheel it around .

This advice comes from somebody who dosent have a workshop and works in the driveway of their home.

The trolley you see now has three shelves on the planks and is home for a compound saw and other items I need when working and is now within arms reach, rather than having to go inside “looking” for something.
Its still dark here so later when the sun comes up I will take another picture if you are interested to see more..

BTW are you related to Jonny Cash? ....how did you get a name like Cathie?

-- Regards Robert

View papadan's profile

papadan

3584 posts in 3125 days


#5 posted 07-10-2017 08:31 PM

Hello Cathie, What is the size of your shop space and is it all yours or do you share it with laundry or cars?

-- Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity!

View nbgarageshop's profile

nbgarageshop

14 posts in 554 days


#6 posted 07-12-2017 03:24 AM

I have a 20×24 “2” car garage that I work in and just got done setting up. I was able to finish it how I wanted as it was just mostly stud walls. After I put outlets everywhere, lighting, insulated, and closed up the walls, I made a workbench on my longest wall. I knew I wanted to use french cleats so I put some up on the walls so they were ready for tool organization. I then started in on my first somewhat major project and built a changing table. Doing this has really helped me determine what I use the most, how I use the tools, where I work with them and then evolve my shop from there. My suggestion is to use the space and then make the space work for you. I found when I remodeled my house that even when I thought I had thought of everything, when I actually started living and using the space I thought “I wish I would have put (this) here” or “I wish I wouldn’t have put (that) there”. Yeah your first project may be a little hectic with tools laying around for a bit until you determine what the best place is for them but then it will really work for you.

-- TZ, Southern IL

View Cathie Zimmerman's profile

Cathie Zimmerman

101 posts in 569 days


#7 posted 07-12-2017 09:45 PM

The dimensions are right. Ignore the rest!!!

View Cathie Zimmerman's profile

Cathie Zimmerman

101 posts in 569 days


#8 posted 07-13-2017 12:47 AM


Hello Cathie, What is the size of your shop space and is it all yours or do you share it with laundry or cars?

- papadan

That picture is an old sketch I did when we first bought. It’s a 2 car garage but I only have one half plus that little 4×9 foot space on the east wall. My boat takes up the other half of the garage. Thanks for all of the advice!

Here’s what I take away from it:

1) Have a home for each tool and put it back. To find that home, see what you use the most. Likely the TS – building cabinets under the wings of my table saw can really be a space saver for blades, TS accessories, etc.

2) Organization for a shop is a process overtime.

3) Don’t overlook mobile options to move stuff around!

Thanks guys. Ill check in a few weeks from now.

View Cathie Zimmerman's profile

Cathie Zimmerman

101 posts in 569 days


#9 posted 07-13-2017 12:52 AM



Here is an opinion:-
Dont even worry about it as long as there is nothing unsafe adopt the attitude of when you are working it needs to be functional all the organising in the world may provide what looks to be “Neat and Tidy” may not be practical when you hit the switch.
The layout will come from practice as you construct “stuff”
I have been doing wood work for a few years and only yesterday changed things for the better.
I found a throw out trolley and fitted it with shelves and removed 3 pieces of equipment off the floor and containers of equipment so can now wheel it around .

This advice comes from somebody who dosent have a workshop and works in the driveway of their home.

The trolley you see now has three shelves on the planks and is home for a compound saw and other items I need when working and is now within arms reach, rather than having to go inside “looking” for something.
Its still dark here so later when the sun comes up I will take another picture if you are interested to see more..

BTW are you related to Jonny Cash? ....how did you get a name like Cathie?

- robscastle

Hi! Sure, I’d like to see more to get ideas on moveable storage. No, I don’t think I’m related to Johnny Cash? :) Well, I suppose I was named after one of my mom’s relatives? lol I get the joke though… no, I’m not “a boy named Sue.” I am a woman named Cathie. 120 degree weather in the summer in Phoenix AZ – sure makes the case for short hair – not that it matters. There are TONS of women here that like to work with their hands, with wood, metal and the like. :)

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

16766 posts in 2763 days


#10 posted 07-13-2017 12:59 AM

Grizzlys website has a pretty good shop organization tool. Itll allow you to plot out tge shop much like youve done on paper … minus all the eraser marks.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

4219 posts in 1961 days


#11 posted 07-16-2017 01:32 AM

Opps I read your profile as a US Marine and married. Sorry about that!! ex Army thinking at work

My Table saw on wheels

The “wheels are actually conveyer rollers upside dowm

My timber Trolley

Because I work outside without any shelter I need to be able to pack up and relocate if compromised by The Enemy, that being rain!!

I also have a thicknesser on a frame similar to the beige trolley but as you are disabled somewhat it may be getting beyond your physical capabilities. Otherwise let me know and I can add then for consideration.

In closing I might add I am all for supporting the TONS of women that like to work with their hands, with wood, metal and the like. :)

-- Regards Robert

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