LumberJocks

Shop Projects, how “Nice” should they be?

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by IantheTinker posted 02-10-2018 05:56 AM 2906 reads 0 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am building an outfeed table for my table Saw, just a short one to extend over the outboard motor. Then I will hinge a folding table onto the end of the short one. I am doing this to save on dedicated space while allowing options for assembling s9me larger upcoming projects. My only issue is that I keep gett8ng hung up on how nice these things need to look. I see the guys on the YouTubes making these really nice outfeed table with melamine surfaces and oak trim and whatnot. I am on a serious budget and need to use what I have, so no melamine or oak trim for my table unless I happen to have it…and I don’t. I have typically gone through life more focused on function than form, but since getting into woodworking and seeing what other folks make I find myself becoming more discontent with what I produce.

So, how nice should a shop project look? How much time should they take? Should money be spent on them?

-- opiningminnesotan.com



31 comments so far

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10090 posts in 1601 days


#1 posted 02-10-2018 05:57 AM

Function now. Form later.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12329 posts in 2495 days


#2 posted 02-10-2018 07:14 AM

Anytime you feel too much discontent, I’ll send you pics of my shop :)
Make it as nice as you want it. Nice looking is more a matter of time than money, you can make recycled lumber and 2×4s look good if you put time into it. But you have to decide what is import to you. Is your hobby, furniture making? General woodworking? Or is your hobby ‘the shop’? For some guys, it’s the shop. Woodworking is just an excuse to spend time in the shop and those guys tend to have fancy jigs, fancy outfeed tables, etc. If your hobby is videography, then you’ll want a nice shop because it’s also a set. Jigs built from baltic birch ply will look amazing but won’t perform any better than cheap birch plywood.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View IantheTinker's profile

IantheTinker

242 posts in 242 days


#3 posted 02-10-2018 03:19 PM



Anytime you feel too much discontent, I ll send you pics of my shop :)
Make it as nice as you want it. Nice looking is more a matter of time than money, you can make recycled lumber and 2×4s look good if you put time into it. But you have to decide what is import to you. Is your hobby, furniture making? General woodworking? Or is your hobby the shop ? For some guys, it s the shop. Woodworking is just an excuse to spend time in the shop and those guys tend to have fancy jigs, fancy outfeed tables, etc. If your hobby is videography, then you ll want a nice shop because it s also a set. Jigs built from baltic birch ply will look amazing but won t perform any better than cheap birch plywood.

- Rick_M

Hah! I doubt your shop looks any worse than mine, Rick. But I know you are right, what matters is what is important to me. The most important thing to me is that I am able to produce structurally sound, attractive furniture pieces and other projects. My shop is not my hobby, but when I get time I would like to fix up a few things to make it more pleasant to work in. However, I don’t think I should be spending much money on shop projects, no matter how much I might want to try and “measure up” to what other folks do with their shop.

You had some good advice, Rick. Thanks for sharing!

-- opiningminnesotan.com

View IantheTinker's profile

IantheTinker

242 posts in 242 days


#4 posted 02-10-2018 03:19 PM



Function now. Form later.

- TheFridge

Short and to the point, Fridge. I like it!

-- opiningminnesotan.com

View ocean's profile

ocean

99 posts in 948 days


#5 posted 02-10-2018 03:47 PM

I’ve been in my present one car garage shop for 25 years. Every now and then I look around and ask myself when am I going to fix this or change that or buy this or that. I think it will make me a better woodworker if only I had this or that or a new tool. Then I realized that I have for the most part produced some nice furniture, made some cool jigs and have fun messing around the shop in general. I gave up on “needing” that cool tool or more space to work some time ago. Because of that mind set I am happier with my time in the shop and less concerned than doing without those “things” that I see in every catalog that arrives in a never ending stream. My first project all those years ago was a work bench. I look back today and I wonder how I made it with a circular saw, a hand drill and nothing else. I still use it today and I am proud of it.

-- Bob, FL Keys

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1220 posts in 718 days


#6 posted 02-10-2018 05:25 PM

I find that making them look nice helps improve my technique and skills. I think the mindset carries over into other projects. JMHO.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View IantheTinker's profile

IantheTinker

242 posts in 242 days


#7 posted 02-10-2018 05:30 PM



I find that making them look nice helps improve my technique and skills. I think the mindset carries over into other projects. JMHO.

- Andybb

I have had similar thoughts, but then the shop projects end up taking longer and eating into my productivity. I have a list of things folks want me to make, I figure my practice is in those projects.

-- opiningminnesotan.com

View IantheTinker's profile

IantheTinker

242 posts in 242 days


#8 posted 02-10-2018 05:33 PM



I ve been in my present one car garage shop for 25 years. Every now and then I look around and ask myself when am I going to fix this or change that or buy this or that. I think it will make me a better woodworker if only I had this or that or a new tool. Then I realized that I have for the most part produced some nice furniture, made some cool jigs and have fun messing around the shop in general. I gave up on “needing” that cool tool or more space to work some time ago. Because of that mind set I am happier with my time in the shop and less concerned than doing without those “things” that I see in every catalog that arrives in a never ending stream. My first project all those years ago was a work bench. I look back today and I wonder how I made it with a circular saw, a hand drill and nothing else. I still use it today and I am proud of it.

- ocean

I would like to be at the same mindset you are at, Ocean. However, I find myself coveting what other folks have made or purchased. It doesn’t help that I get tool catalogs in the mail from my local stores, lol. I will be working on improving my mindset though, thanks for responding!

-- opiningminnesotan.com

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 762 days


#9 posted 02-10-2018 05:36 PM



I’ve been in my present one car garage shop for 25 years. Every now and then I look around and ask myself when am I going to fix this or change that or buy this or that. I think it will make me a better woodworker if only I had this or that or a new tool. Then I realized that I have for the most part produced some nice furniture, made some cool jigs and have fun messing around the shop in general. I gave up on “needing” that cool tool or more space to work some time ago. Because of that mind set I am happier with my time in the shop and less concerned than doing without those “things” that I see in every catalog that arrives in a never ending stream. My first project all those years ago was a work bench. I look back today and I wonder how I made it with a circular saw, a hand drill and nothing else. I still use it today and I am proud of it.

- ocean

Very interesting, Bob. Change one car garage to 20×12 out building, 25 years to 30+ years,  and circular saw to hand saw, and you have just described me and my shop!

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 762 days


#10 posted 02-10-2018 05:45 PM

Ian, I have in my shop fixtures made from pallet lumber, squirrel damaged fence posts, and stuff other folks have thrown away. Most of which look like hell, but are well constructed. I think the well constructed  part is the most important!

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

3450 posts in 2103 days


#11 posted 02-10-2018 05:57 PM

Whatever works and pleases you.

When I make something for the shop that I will use for a long time, I will make it nicer and typically finish with Shellac.

Sometimes I will do more than needed as a learning experience.

View IantheTinker's profile

IantheTinker

242 posts in 242 days


#12 posted 02-10-2018 06:01 PM



Ian, I have in my shop fixtures made from pallet lumber, squirrel damaged fence posts, and stuff other folks have thrown away. Most of which look like hell, but are well constructed. I think the well constructed  part is the most important!

- Ron Aylor

I would agree that the “well constructed” part is the most important, indeed.

-- opiningminnesotan.com

View Mosquito's profile

Mosquito

9450 posts in 2407 days


#13 posted 02-10-2018 06:29 PM

Make it work well first, and if you have the time make it look good as a second priority. When I do make things with the intention that they look good for the shop, it’s usually because I’m using it as “practice” for trying something new or something in an upcoming project. Otherwise, it’s generally function over form, though I usually do try to put the good face of the wood where it will be seen when I can :-)

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - http://www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods - http://www.TheModsquito.com

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

7112 posts in 3483 days


#14 posted 02-10-2018 06:38 PM

Based on some of the commennts, perhaps we should have a “worst looking shop” contest?

I follow Rick_M’s methodology, function then form otherwise form may destroy function and create scrap!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View cracknpop's profile

cracknpop

315 posts in 2464 days


#15 posted 02-10-2018 08:27 PM



Function now. Form later.

- TheFridge

Well said. Make what you need with what you have at hand. Use it… time will tell if its exactly what you want/need. If you are like me, over time you will think through a redesign to make it function even better for your situation. Then you can make it a show piece.

I’ve made many shop benches/cabinets/stands out of scrap plywood I had on hand or MDF. After using it awhile and wishing it was a little different, I didn’t think twice about tearing it apart and rebuilding. If I had built a showpiece and found it didn’t function quite right, I would not want to cut it up and make it right.

With that being said, I am about to build a new assembly bench to replace the one I built several years ago, the MDF is beginning to fail. Over time, I have come to realize what I want and don’t want in my new bench. I will make the next one a little nicer… but not TOO nice… I don’t want to cry if I spill stain on it or run a drill bit through it.

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

showing 1 through 15 of 31 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com