Jim55's Workshop

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Workshop by Jim55 posted 09-29-2012 08:53 AM 1272 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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Jim55's Workshop Jim55's Workshop Jim55's Workshop
Jim55's Workshop Jim55's Workshop  

Rural East Texas,
United States

“my workshop” is in a high degree of flux just now. I inherited a shop space in one corner of the barn when we bought our little place. I have been dumping odds and ends in it as need dictated. Wood working projects have built to the point my wife just said, “Get what you need to make your shop.” Whoopee!!! (:D
I intend to have a twofold shop. We have a 40’x70’ metal barn with concrete floor. One corner was previously closed in as a shop. I am going to gut and clean that for use for small project work like carving, small article painting (non-spraying) and things like that that don’t generate much dust. My ‘clean-room’ call it.
The space behind that shop I mean for heavy work machinery such as power saws, sanders, lathe, and the like. I have installed a dust collector running 3” PVC* around the walls with periodic drops to attach machines to with flex hose. I also have about 3 large heavy duty old time drafting tables I inherited with the place (previous owner was a pre-computer age draftsman/architect) These seem to make great stable work tables. I also have a table we built. It’s plenty solid. I tend to take the German view of engineering. If a 1×4 is good enough to serve, use a 2×6.
  • In reading dust collection topics I have noticed that the common size pvc is 4.” I wondered about that when buying my pipe but that seemed overlarge and I was concerned about losing suction. We’ll see if this will work out. You can see by the picture below that my runs are linear and not over long. Except in the very corners, I did not use any 90s to aid in chip flow. Let me know if you all think that will cause me trouble.
    The small pvc line is a compressed air line.

Now, I am not rich, far from it being on a fixed income. A look at my image will reveal a number of HF boxes.
Now, wait a minute!
Don’t start trashing my HF stuff. I have selected with care! I have done a lot of research before buying. What I have found is that in many cases, the brand name machines are the very same machine as the machine from HF maybe differing only in minor details and maybe colors. For example, my 14” HF band saw only differs in stand and switch location from a Grizzly saw for twice the money. I have seen other like machines sold for 3, even 4 times the money as an identical HF machine. I once saw a Jet brand machine listed for $700+ dollars that was identical to a HF machine I paid less than $200 for on sale. Another trick about HF/Cheap Chinese machines is first of all, to buy it cheap and only on sale then, upgrade it to suit. This can bring about a solid machine for less than a comparable brand name item so equipped.
My bandsaw is a case in point. I believe I gave about $200 for it (w/extended warranty). Then I added “cool blocks” and a Grizzly riser kit (same machine, remember?) Modified the tension knob to a crank handle and moved the switch into the same location as the Grizz- the holes were already there- drilled & tapped. Finally, I added a fence. Based on my research, a similarly set up machine would have cost me hundreds more to buy than what I have now and not necessarily been any better. And of course, I bought some good blades but from what I read, pretty much everybody’s blades provided with their machines are miserable.

My in-progress shop… (I know, It ain’t purty. And it ain’t going to be. But, it will work for me.)

To the front left I intend to build a long saw table with a miter saw built in. In the far corner I am putting my lathe. It is a standard “mini-lathe” of 10” swing and 18” workpiece length. I am adding a 40” bed extension to that. It is sitting on an old dresser with a piece of plywood on top to extend it’s length. The drawers come in handy. I have another dresser I intend to fit in someplace as well.
To the right of the D/C is my sanders row. I believe in sanders in the role of wood shaping. I have an oscillating drum sander and a 1”x30” belt sander. also a 4”x36” inch belt/disc sander that I have had for years. It is getting tired but keeps on going round. Those are all HF. But, I left HF for a “serious” sander. I wanted something that will really move wood if I want it so. I did a lot of research before settling upon a 6”x48” belt/10” disc sander by Rockford. It is 1HP, and has cast iron tables for both belt and disc. The frame is cast iron. Only plastic is on handle knobs. One feature I appreciate of it is that the disc sets below the level of the belt when laid horizontal. Many, if not most, belt/disc combination sanders have the disc sitting above the horizontal belt level. That really limits how it can be used as I have found on my 4”x36” sander. One thing I don’t like about the Rockford is that it has a “cabinet base. The only thing is, there’s no “cabinet” to it. The entire thing is open and there are no shelves. The door’s only purpose, even though cut with louvers, is to allow access for bolting down the machine. Obviously, I am putting a shelve or shelves in it. The machine only cost $529 and the company shipped it to my house with no additional charges for shipping!
Coming down the right are machines dumped temporarily. I may leave the bandsaw where you see it but, the table saw is going up to what is the front right in the photo where the table is. I haven’t decided where that table is going to go. This is on the edge of the though lane between barn doors and that location gives me plenty of room to run large stuff like full sheets of plywood as I will. I haven’t figured out my other machines placement beyond that. I have a junky router table (that is HF’s lowest end R-table and I do NOT recommend it.) but I have a wood working magazine with plans for a great router table I may build. I also have a planer to put out. I also have an old bench top drill press and a floor drill press. I think I’ll put the bench drill in the front shop.
The welder goes to the front of the barn as will the grinder I think.
There you have it. If any have suggestions, I’m open to hear them. I know a lot more about Machine shops than I do wood shops.

1.Right looking view- pretty much how it will finish up I think.
2.Left looking view- That blank space of wall is where the miter table is going. I think I am going to incorporate a router table into it too. I’ll have to look farther into that before making final decision.
3. Lathe corner- My extended bed ‘mini’ lathe. Note my lathe stand. Very handy.
4. Sanding corner- My sanding machines I have grouped together. These are in the opposite corner to the right of the lathe. I cited both those, lathe & sanding, because that puts them close to the dust vacuum situated between them. I figure since both machines are heavy dust/chip makers, being closer was better. Obviously I haven’t got my lathe set up for dust collection yet. In point of fact, I have big plans for that lathe center. I just need together the rest of the shop more together first since I can use the lathe as is. For chip collection in the short term, I am just attaching a hose to a movable open ended cardboard box. Crude but it should collect at least some of the mess.
5. The shop supervisor also A#1 mouser “Rocky,” aka The Gray Wonder, Catzilla or Rockzilla.

7 comments so far

View JohnnyStrawberry's profile


245 posts in 1134 days

#1 posted 09-29-2012 09:51 AM

Very good point on upgrading HF tools.
Looking forward to those pictures.
Thanks for sharing.

-- What are those few hours of mine compared to those decades Mother Nature has put in it!

View Jim55's profile


131 posts in 882 days

#2 posted 10-12-2012 08:28 PM

I decided that since my shop is just being made and there will be a lot of change before it’s finished that putting all this into a blog would be more appropriate and so I have done. I will post it’s progress there in installments. Feel free to drop in.
(I know a shop is never truly “finished, there’s always alterations and editions,” but at least they come to the point where working on the shop is not the whole focus.)

View crank49's profile


3681 posts in 1786 days

#3 posted 10-12-2012 10:00 PM

Three inch PVC is going to be too restrictive for your dust collection for any major tools like joiners, planers, table saws, drum sanders and such. Will work ok for smaller tools.

On a positive note, looks like you got some good light in there and plenty of headroom. Should be a nice place to work.

-- Michael :-{| Don't anthropomorphise your tools, they hate it when you do that.

View Jim55's profile


131 posts in 882 days

#4 posted 10-13-2012 12:05 AM

I was wondering about that 3” pvc. I hadn’t signed on here when I got that. Actually it’s curious. I researched the heck out of the machines I was buying but, I never thought to look up the plumbing! Duh!
Anyway, it will have to do for now. The money has run out and I can’t afford to change it out!

View wooded's profile


328 posts in 1087 days

#5 posted 11-04-2012 05:10 AM


-- Joe in Pueblo West, Colo.

View helluvawreck's profile


16334 posts in 1682 days

#6 posted 11-04-2012 01:34 PM

That’s a wonderful shop you have there. Congratulations and welcome to Lumberjocks.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Eric's Wood Laboratory.'s profile

Eric's Wood Laboratory.

3685 posts in 2391 days

#7 posted 02-24-2013 03:07 AM

With all those nice machines, do you use your hand tools much?
Have you made your treadle lathe yet?
You have a well equipped shop.

-- All glory comes from daring to begin.

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