Shop Notes #1: How do you manage your shop?

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Blog entry by DocSavage45 posted 234 days ago 941 reads 0 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Shop Notes series Part 2: Shop Notes #2 Screwed Up Again! »

Spent at least 4 hours today just cleaning up. Wanted to start planning my dust collection stations , joints etc, but I ended up just counting what parts I have collected so far and cleaning up garbage and saw dust from inside my cabinet saw.

I wondered what methods of organization might be more efficient. So I am asking for my fellow lumberJocks to share their sage like wisdom.



-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

25 comments so far

View Bigrock's profile


237 posts in 1587 days

#1 posted 234 days ago

Hi Doc:
A few years ago maybe 6 or 7 I got tired of tools and stuff laying everywhere. I made my mind that had to stop and I started putting tools away and doing what I call light sweeping at the end of each day. Now I don’t have to look for tools and don’t to worry about the clutter on the floor or benches. Thank goodness all my hand tools have a home in a drawer and if its not there I go find it. For me it saves me a lot of time not having to look for tools.

View PhilBello's profile


89 posts in 592 days

#2 posted 234 days ago

Hi Tom, like Bigrock, I don’t consider myself the tidiest of people, except when it comes to my workshop, I have a place for everything, and can go straight to any tool, at the end of each working session I clean up, mainly because I don’t know when I will be back. This is even more important at the moment, whilst working in the micro-workshop, but I have always done the same, it makes life a lot easier, and by doing it at the end of each session, it only takes 5-10 minutes as opposed to wasting part of a day just cleaning.

-- If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright

View a1Jim's profile


112008 posts in 2202 days

#3 posted 234 days ago

Hi Tom
I guess it depends what you are organizing . Mostly organizing is making it so your shop has an effiecant layout making it easy to work, but still use the left over space to store the tools and material making it as easy as possible to get to the things you use the most . It takes time and a few times of reorganising to get it were it works best for you.

-- Custom furniture

View JoeinGa's profile


3157 posts in 632 days

#4 posted 234 days ago

I seldom “clean”... mostly I rearrange the clutter! :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View grizzman's profile


6912 posts in 1928 days

#5 posted 234 days ago

several things though simple are a big time saver and it keeps your shop clean, build a cabint that your tools go into and outline there shape so they go back in the exact same spot, and dont have , yes im going to say it, dont have too many tools, that in itself is just asking for trouble, clutter, and make your tool area so that dust cant and wont pile up..its very simple, just stay organized…and the day to day light sweeping already mention, its a big key, i myself have become run over with wood , yea i know…i really dont know the answer to that one, i love wood, and cant stomach the idea of burning it…so…lol…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View a1Jim's profile


112008 posts in 2202 days

#6 posted 234 days ago

I forgot to say ,I started by placing my table saw so I can cut a full sheet of ply and walk around it easily , then I thought of other operations like jointing your wood after sawing it on the table saw,and then you will want the saw you cross cut with close by also. For me that’s the working triangle of a wood shop.
This might help too.

-- Custom furniture

View DocSavage45's profile


4885 posts in 1467 days

#7 posted 234 days ago

Great ideas. I do the cleanup after I work, Don’t have the dust collection set up. Checked inside my cabinet saw, LOL! Whoa! Haven’t looked in there since I rehabbed it. My old craftsman didn’t have a cabinet.

My shop has different rooms as I didn’t plan it too well. There is space but it’s compartmentalized. My work area for sawing etc is about 12.5 ft by 26 ft. so it’s half of a two car garage in length . Have two other rooms on first floor from original small animal barn and an addition I built within the foot print of my grandfathered building.

Grizz I have a lot of plywood 3/4 inch. Old Pine boards and other materials. Oh yeah I’ve some rough oak and ash sitting in the12×12 machine shed area.

Jim I have checked that shop layout thing out. I have my bandsaw, table saw and lathe in one room ( shop area) Have my drill press and 6” x 48 inch sander in the machine shed.

Phil and Bigrock thanks for your input.

Joe I have to clean it otherwise my cats will clean it for me. LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View gfadvm's profile


10717 posts in 1315 days

#8 posted 234 days ago

My shop is divided into 2 rooms with an attached garage as well as an attic above used for wood storage.
The first several years I spent a lot of time rearranging tool location. But I must have finally gotten it right because I haven’t moved anything for over a year.
I have a vid of my shop which is reasonably up to date in my profile. I have added another drum sander and a second bandsaw since I did the vid. Both are in the lower shop on casters.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Dave's profile


11149 posts in 1465 days

#9 posted 234 days ago


-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Greg..the Cajun  Box Sculptor's profile

Greg..the Cajun Box Sculptor

4980 posts in 1933 days

#10 posted 234 days ago

I use every possible bit of wall space for storage to help keep my shop organized. I also use the two shelves below the worktables to store lumber.

I also have 4 trays on the edges of my worktable to hold small items that would normally clutter the top. They have a wire mesh bottom to keep the dust from building up. easily cleaned with compressed air

-- If retiring is having the time to be able to do what you enjoy then I have always been retired.

View SebringDon's profile


95 posts in 565 days

#11 posted 234 days ago

Although most people say clean up at the end of the day, I’m just the opposite. When I’m done, I’m done, and the last thing I’ll do well is clean.

Instead, when I head to the shop in the morning, I watch a little TV while I drink my morning coffee and putter around, putting away tools and such. That gets my blood moving, and the smell of sawdust and finish in the air inspires me to dive into whatever project I have going on.

Different strokes for different folks and all that. If you’re one of the people who loathe cleaning at the end of a day like I do, give my morning warm-up routine a try.

-- Don

View gfadvm's profile


10717 posts in 1315 days

#12 posted 234 days ago

Greg, Those wire mesh drawer bottoms are a great idea!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Vincent Nocito's profile

Vincent Nocito

420 posts in 1989 days

#13 posted 234 days ago

My shop has two main work areas. The table saw and my workbenches are in a fixed location, Everything else has wheels so they can be moved around. I try to store tool accessories with the tool. The table saw is surrounded by my mortiser, drill press, router table, miter saw, dust collector and jointer. The workbenches have hand tools, finishing supplies, parts and hardware and sharpening supplies nearby. If you look over my projects, you will see that I have built a lot of storage cabinets/mobile bases. I have French cleats that hold all of my storage cabinets and tool cabinets. I do occasional re-arrange the layout on the wall. I make an effort to return the tools to their storage location once I am finished with them. I use a clean as you go philosophy. I try to avoid mountains of sawdust.

View DocSavage45's profile


4885 posts in 1467 days

#14 posted 234 days ago

This is a great thread. Thanks guys. I need inspiration.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View harry1's profile


512 posts in 909 days

#15 posted 234 days ago

Your question Thomas struck me as being about dust collection, if this is so then I have to admit that until recently I haven’t taken dust collection seriously but now I intend to and to that end I have equipped each machine with it’s own dust collector operated by master/slave switches so that when the machine is switched on the DC also comes on. I hit a snag here with my recently purchased Bosch GCM12GDL glide saw, because it has twin Laser beams and even if they aren’t switched on the saw draws sufficient current so long as it plugged into the power point that the dust collector comes on without the saw. Because I’ve been out of electronics since 2000, I handed the problem to a slightly younger friend who is still in the industry and he built me a master/slave switch based on a pickaxe programmable chip and by experiment it’s been programmed for the DC to come on 1.5 seconds after the saw and go off 6 seconds after the saw is switched off to collect residual dust.
Every tool has a place and at the end of each project they are all returned
The 5th and 6th shots show the master/slave switch made by my friend and one of several that I have assembled, for the rest I have used plastic boxes. The first shot is not intended to insult members intelligence but was in answer to a member’s question on another forum.

-- Harry, Western Australia

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