Smaller space, bigger projects #1: Can more be done in less space?

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Blog entry by Ron Ramsey posted 07-08-2011 07:04 AM 1070 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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For years I have read those articles about the ideal shops in the various wood magazines. I’ve kept copies of ingenious fixtures, storage units, tool plans, etc. Now the time has come to build my dream shop, but I have half the room I had hoped for to do it in. So, in this blog, I plan to chronicle the challenges of “downsizing” a shop, while maintaining the same (or greater) level of production expectations.

I have built a room in our walk out basement that is 16’ x 14’. But that’s deceiving. There is a 5’ x 5’ closet in one corner, on top of which I have built my lumber storage area. The shop is not done yet, but it is in working condition. I’m planning to take some photos and post them. I hope that people who see the shop and the photos might have some ideas about nifty ways to accomplish the usual woodworking tasks with less space.

My current project is a Green and Green table for a new downstairs bath and a kitchen and island for the downstairs remodel. By the way, the bathroom and the kitchen remodel . . . . . . that’s where my shop used to be.

I am posting one photo of my table saw that will give you some idea of the tight space. I just sold this saw and am replacing it with a larger band saw, i.e., 18”. This will take less space and be a more versatile tool than the table saw. In this photo, the table saw is sitting where the band saw will go, but it will take up about 1/3 of the space currently being filled by the unisaw. Any suggestions on the best 18” saw and blades for re-saw, cross cut, and ripping hardwood and plywood panels will be greatly welcomed.

Stay tuned.

-- Ron Ramsey, Rochester Hills,

2 comments so far

View Wintersedge's profile


83 posts in 2397 days

#1 posted 07-08-2011 07:42 AM

Looking forward to following your progress. I am taking a room and splitting in half to use as a shop. The space I have is less than the dimensions above.

-- Motivation alone is not enough. If you have an idiot and you motivate him, now you have a motivated idiot.

View Ron Ramsey's profile

Ron Ramsey

36 posts in 1938 days

#2 posted 07-12-2011 08:19 AM

So now the saw is gone. It was like waving goodbye to an old friend (this saw has been with me for 18 years). It was bought on eBay by a woodworker who lives in Traverse City . . . . a 5 hour drive – YIKES. That’s a long way to go to pick up a saw. But it had to go. In my new space, there is simply not room for this size of equipment. It’s being replaced by a Bandsaw. After much deliberation, and after reading just about everything I could find on this site and others about band saws, I was still not able to make up my mind. So, I went to Woodcraft and talked with Matthew, the owner of two stores. He’s owned a cabinet shop for years and agreed with the decision to go to a band saw instead of a table saw, considering my need to maximize space. He helped me to narrow my decision between the Rikon 18”, Grizzly 18” and the Laguna 14SUV. He pulled the Laguna and the Rikon into the shop and fired them up. I tried them both and agreed with him that the Laguna is the best bet for my needs. I told him about my phone calls with Laguna reps and he assured me that if there were any issues, he would be the “go to” person for me to get them resolved. So, a week from Monday, there’ll be a new member to the family.

I’ll photograph the shop and post another report in a week after my new saw arrives. My next project is doors for the cabinets in my shop. I want to build doors that accommodate some of my hand tools, making them easily accessible and also easy to put away. I have two large wall cabinets that are 43” tall x 48” wide x 15” deep. I’m committed to keeping this shop clean, so I want it to be easy to put things away at the end of a work session. Tossing tools onto a bunch of shelves just doesn’t cut it anymore. Any thoughts or ideas about cabinet doors that also store hand tools ? ? ?

-- Ron Ramsey, Rochester Hills,

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