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General thoughts #3: My shop

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Blog entry by Ottacat posted 192 days ago 847 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: My furniture style preference Part 3 of General thoughts series Part 4: Bandsaws, resawing and veneers for hobby woodworking »

My shop will never be featured in an article on home shops because it is much more Charles Neil in appearance than Marc Spagnuolo. By this I mean its a shop where I spend my time making furniture and not making a shop.

As I discussed in previous blog entries, my main priority is making a fair amount of furniture as I have both lots of pieces I want to make and a places to put them in my house.

At this point in my woodworking journey I’m not spending my time making elaborate tool cupboards or under-the-table-saw storage units. A good number of my tools are stored on shelving units repurposed from my house.

Dust collection is very important to me and a dust collector was one of the first two tools I purchased when I got back into woodworking (the other being a jointer). It sits more or less in the centre of my shop with about 20’ of flexible house (10’ of 4” reduced to 10’ of 6” which is then connected directly to main intake of the collector). I manually switch the hose to each machine as I work. My tablesaw, jointer, planer, bandsaw and router table all have 4” ports.

I did make a really nice bench (you can see it in my project section) and I’ve loved working on it. it was a both a bit of an indulgence (I really wanted a big solid maple bench) and a really good challenging first project. I’ve used about every wood holding and clamping feature of the bench and have been very pleased with it.

Space limitations means I don’t have a dedicated assembly table. I wish I had the space as it would definitely allow me to speed production at times. My workbench does double duty as a workbench and assembly table.

Right now my shop consists of the three basic milling machines – table saw, jointer and planer and then three supplementary machines – bandsaw, router table and drill press. I also have the Rigid belt / spindle sander.

I also have a broad and growing selection of hand tools that I use for a variety of purposes.

I very deliberately don’t have a mitre saw, a horizontal mortiser or drum sander.



5 comments so far

View woodshopmike's profile

woodshopmike

112 posts in 262 days


#1 posted 192 days ago

I like your approach of worrying about what you make and not how pretty your shop is. Good for you. It’s easy to let your mind make you think you need to make everything perfect in the shop before you start creating the things you have the tools for.

-- www.woodshopmike.com, www.woodshopmikestudio.etsy.com

View Ottacat's profile

Ottacat

316 posts in 450 days


#2 posted 192 days ago

Yes, a pretty shop is not essential for doing good work. However I do want to emphaisze that I keep my shop safe. The floor isn’t cluttered with hazardous things to trip over and I give myself proper space around power tools to move around.

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5378 posts in 1830 days


#3 posted 192 days ago

I am pretty sure I sometimes come off as shop centric, and that is far from the case, but I do use my shop build as a means to hone my skills where final outcome, as long as it works, doesn’t really matter..

I am honestly envious of anyone that has their shop set up, and skills honed to the point they can just get out in the shop and make something beautiful.

I do tend to agree though, the shop should be less about aesthetics and more about, in the following order…
Safety.
Function.
Comfort.

I only ask that you not disparage those of us that are building under the table saw cabinets / drawers. That cabinet is being built for the practice. And with each drawer, I come that much closer to being comfortable enough with my equipment, and my skills to transfer the knowledge / skill to finally doing the custom kitchen remodel I have been dreaming of for years…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View woodshopmike's profile

woodshopmike

112 posts in 262 days


#4 posted 192 days ago

dbhost,

I for one do not look down on anyone who is making there shop as functional as possible. Maybe it sounded that way.

I will say for me, I constantly get stuck with ideas of how to make my shop better and have to really focus myself to set some of these things aside so that I can finish projects and as you say “Make fine quality sawdust!” My shop will never be “perfect” or “finished” just because of my own ideas that continue to flood my mind.

-- www.woodshopmike.com, www.woodshopmikestudio.etsy.com

View Ottacat's profile

Ottacat

316 posts in 450 days


#5 posted 192 days ago

dbhost,

I too totally respect that everyone will have a different approach to this hobby due to a myriad of factors. I love looking at pics of well built shops and one day as I work my way through other personal priorities mine will look better. My sliding draw skills are far from perfect and I too would build something for practive before committing myself to ‘learning’ on a custom kitchen remodel. Learning such skills on shop projects definitely is a win-win approach.

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