Ms Debbie P's 2007 Shop Tour and Inspection #20: Thanksgiving Thursday Tour with Dataman

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Blog entry by Douglas Bordner posted 11-22-2007 05:15 PM 6483 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 19: Thursday Tour RAH's Workshop Part 20 of Ms Debbie P's 2007 Shop Tour and Inspection series Part 21: 12-17-07 Tour and inspection of JPW 1995's Shop »

This week’s tour is at the Colorado shop of Ray “Dataman” Merrell.
The home and shop are dome shaped, which makes for interesting storage, lighting and insulation considerations. Ray is very inventive, with most of his tools and assembly tables built on mobile bases for optimum configurations for the job at hand.

Here Deb takes a read on the great lighting provided by the windows and a skylight in the 14 foot ceiling.

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We both liked the under-saw storage unit, based on the use of restaurant bus-trays. There is in-floor dust collection tubing and a novel blast gate configuration of Ray’s construction.

In the next photo Deb adds points to Ray’s tally for having fire extinguishers handy. The shelving unit is filled with hand tools, and the shelfs are labeled for ease of use.

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Deb looks over the nice DeWalt lunchbox planer, sharpening station and Performax drum sander.

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Ray has a plethora of unique ideas for efficient tool and lumber storage (and a sweet stash of Cherry lumber) in the “garage” next to the shop. He has a great video with a tour of the shop here.

All-in-all it’s a very unique shop, and it’s obvious Ray has put a great deal of thought into it’s layout. It’s a winner!

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Thanks for the invitation, Dataman. Your shop certificate awaits.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

9 comments so far

View jpw1995's profile


376 posts in 4295 days

#1 posted 11-22-2007 05:34 PM

Wasn’t this shop featured in one of the woodworking magazines recently?

-- JP, Louisville, KY

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4158 days

#2 posted 11-22-2007 05:55 PM

a winner indeed.
The building itself is fascinating and then add all of his storage “tricks” .. and the lighting!! I love the sunlight

I really enjoyed the tour. Congrats on the pass

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 3954 days

#3 posted 11-22-2007 05:58 PM

Cool shop! I like the unique it pre formed concrete? Some sort of adobe?


View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6855 posts in 3977 days

#4 posted 11-22-2007 06:25 PM

Way cool shop!

where are the square corners?


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 3987 days

#5 posted 11-22-2007 06:49 PM

Nice shop Ray!

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Grumpy's profile


23916 posts in 3848 days

#6 posted 11-22-2007 09:44 PM

You are obviously one serious woodworker Ray.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4398 days

#7 posted 11-23-2007 12:56 AM

Unique setup Ray. A very nice shop.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4324 days

#8 posted 11-23-2007 06:04 AM

great shop – and nothing can get lost in the corner!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Ray's profile


86 posts in 4268 days

#9 posted 12-07-2007 06:48 PM

JP – Yes my shop was featured in the American Woodworking #132 November 2007.
They featured my workshop on page 80 as well as my blast gate invention on page 53.

David – The structure is thin shell concrete covered with a foam insulation so it has an R value equivalent to an R65 or better and it goes from below grade covering the entire structure without a break. Being a curved dome shape it is one of the strongest structures available. Interestingly we built it all from the inside.
They resist hurricanes, tornados and even earth quakes. Add Fire and termite proof and it’s pretty indestructible! Even bullets can’t penetrate it. If anyone is interested they can pursue our web site on how we build it etc at

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