JMB's Workshop

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Workshop by JMB posted 02-09-2009 11:35 AM 1511 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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I’ve currently moved into a communal work shop space in the Galaxie Art Center in Chicago, IL. They are an all purpose community arts center with regular curated art shows, open music jams, dance classes, concerts, and I think we had a 50s dance night last week feat. the Lindy Hop…

Yeah, it’s all over the place, but I am happy to be out of the basement and interacting with the outside world. It’s nice to be around other artists again. I miss bullshitting about projects with people and getting new ideas.

The whole building is something like 15000 square feet, with multiple rooms and studios. The workshop itself is about 2000 square feet, but some of that is taken up with other people’s tools and work areas.

My bench takes up about a 10 by 5 foot area near the back corner. I can spread out as much as I like while I am working, but at the end of the day EVERYTHING I am working on has to fit in that 10 by 6 foot area. I try to fit as much as I can into my tiny corner, and I’ve had to get creative with which tools I choose to setup here. I am constantly upgrading what I do have, to maximize functionality and space usage.

I have an oooold Delta table saw which I turned into a mobile unit with some casters and plywood. I added an extension table to the right of the blade which doubles as a router table.

For a cheap and stable out-feed, I screwed 6 soft rubber casters about 3 inches apart on a piece of 4” by 18” ply. I just quick – clamp this to a table of convenient height and place it a few feet past the saw. Works like a charm every time, and it fits right under the saw when I’m not using it.

The bench is a basic table frame with one shelf underneath the work surface and another overhead. For maximum stability I’ve used masonry screws to secure the main uprights of the frame to the cement wall behind. The work-surface was a chip – board and laminate counter-top with a back-splash I bought at home depot for half price because the surface had been damaged in shipping. No big deal, it’s getting a lot more damage now. For my welding and wax working I glued a 2’ X 3’ sheet of 1/16” stainless steel to the surface – though it doesn’t seem to be holding up to the abuse. I may try and remove it and replace it with a thicker sheet and bolt it in place.

My work is all over the place, so I have a lot of random specialty tools. As I intended this workspace to be used primarily for my new business – which is custom furniture and functional art, I am limiting the equipment here to woodworking and welding gear. I didn’t even intend to setup the welding gear there, but my landlord’s wife got wind of the tanks in the basement and said they had to go. (oxy – acetyl – what?!!!) I figure its always helpful to have the torches around for the occasional tool repairs.

Back at home I also have a complete wax-working setup for lost wax metals casting, and a full sculpture studio for clay modeling and mold making. One of the future projects is to build my own bronze furnace and iron furnace completely from scratch…. :)

Pictures on the way.

Update 2/18/09

Here are some pictures. You can see my very old and VERY modified Delta table saw in the foreground (yes, under all the plywood – cabinet job). I’ve also included a shot of the new air filtration system I picked up. You can see the filter bulging from the air pressure. I guess that means its working!

The air compressor was an interesting story. The 80 gallon tank came from northern Michigan. Cost me about ten bucks. The pump was free, because it was trashed in shipping. Actually the ebay seller gave me a full refund and an extra $20, for my hassle. Total cost currently negative $10 (not counting the $30 in gas to drive to and from Michigan). Add about $40 in pneumatic pipe fittings and hose, and I have a working 80 gallon compressor, for under $100. The actual retail price of that product – $1500. I rule!

-- If I can't fix it, it wern't broke in the first place!

2 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3822 days

#1 posted 02-09-2009 02:22 PM

Your shop space sounds interesting. I will be looking forward to seeing the pictures of it when you get time to post them.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3822 days

#2 posted 03-06-2009 02:27 PM

This is a really nice shop space to work in. I am envious of the headroom that you have in there. Headroom like this makes handling full sheets of plywood much easier. It looks like you have organized your hand tools well. And having a granite workbench top is something that is not usually seen in a shop environment. That makes a solid work surface.

Thanks for the pictures. I enjoyed the visit.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

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