Crazy Stuff Stumpy Thinks About #15: How often do you rearrange your shop?

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Blog entry by StumpyNubs posted 03-23-2012 03:52 PM 2279 reads 0 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 14: Tommy MacDonald and the Incredible Hulk. Part 15 of Crazy Stuff Stumpy Thinks About series Part 16: Don't lie... YOU HAVE TOO MUCH WOOD! »

If your shop doesn’t have a comfortable corner with a chair and a place to sit and look upon your woodworking domain, you should find a new hobby. There is one thing that I like to do more than make sawdust, and that’s sit back in my chair and look at all the tools and benches and piles of wood. I feel like the king of a wooden kingdom where I can choose which piece of oak lives, and which one gets brutally cut in half. I am all powerful and I have an army of machines to protect my rightful place as ruler for life.

But as I sit I remember that the danger is not reserved only for whatever unlucky piece of wood catches my eye. I, myself am in mortal danger as well. Because I am bound to see some way to upset the carefully balanced ecosystem that is my workshop. My gaze will, more often than not, fall upon some bench or machine that I think may be better located on the other side of the shop. And that always leads to moving every bench, tool and fixture in the whole kingdom.

My wife and I couldn’t be further apart on this issue. She likes things to stay as they are in the house. I think she’s obsessed with it. While I like to move things around every other day, she wants them to stay where they are. The dog hasn’t been allowed to move in months. It’s getting out of hand.

She sees it differently. To her, I’m the nut-job. Yesterday she caught me moving the drill press for the fourth time this week and just shook her head with disgust. She pointed out that the sharpening bench, both band saws, the jointer, the planer, the lathe, the mortising machine, the sanding machines, the tool cabinet and the big scroll saw have all been moved at least twice in the last month. I tried to tell her that I got some new hand planes and I needed to make them fit into the layout of the shop. But she clearly doesn’t understand.

A workshop is a living, breathing environment. When a new tool is introduced, no matter how small, a place has to be made for it. It’s not as simple as making a spot on a shelf. Other tools may be uncomfortable with the newcomer. You have to take rivalries into consideration, cultural issues, it’s very complex. A set of antique molding planes can’t be placed next to a router! But if you move the router, what about the mortising machine? It’s already upset that the router is used to cut mortises, which used to be its exclusive job. Now it sees me giving special consideration to it’s arch enemy and it wants to move too. The implications are endless.

So today I am sitting in my chair with a terrible back ache from carrying a bunch of cast iron machines from one end of the shop to the other and back again. I think I have it all the way I want it now. But then again… I thought the same thing a few days ago. And I have been thinking of buying another router…

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

24 comments so far

View Tokolosi's profile


678 posts in 2378 days

#1 posted 03-23-2012 04:20 PM

Lol. I have been described as OCD since I constantly clean and arrange my stuff. Everything has its spot and if its not there I kinda go loony. I could probably finish projects a lot faster if I just leave things lying untill Im done. But no, I use a drill bit then it has to go back in the case, back in the drawer and properly oriented mind you. Even if I know I will take it out again in 5 minutes.

I cant really rearrange my shop since the space is so small. But I understand. And I also understand about that comfy spot.

-- “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ JRR Tolkien

View geoscann's profile


258 posts in 2303 days

#2 posted 03-23-2012 04:53 PM

Stumpy talk about hitting the nail on the head. WOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- BIG geo ---Occam,s razor The simplist answer is often correct

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2804 days

#3 posted 03-23-2012 05:12 PM

With you all the way Stumpy, I’ve been twitching for a month with the workmate blocking in my bandsaw as it holds my son’s DVD case project.
It needs to go back in it’s corner, but not until it’s clean again, or maybe over behind the storage rack..hmm, there’s a round of my mother in law’s Butternut tree there, it was to be a table.
Oh what the heck, it waited over a hundred years to be cut down, it can soak up some more dust waiting..
But the plane parts everywhere..sigh…

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View MoshupTrail's profile


304 posts in 2504 days

#4 posted 03-23-2012 05:20 PM

I think you are wayyyyy over-thinking the whole shop arrangement problem. Do you have a small fridge with beer in the shop? (Oh crap, now you’ll have to move something to make room for it) You deserve a cold one. Use that chair!

I pretty much move things around for every project.

-- Some problems are best solved with an optimistic approach. Optimism shines a light on alternatives that are otherwise not visible.

View GrandpaLen's profile


1650 posts in 2296 days

#5 posted 03-23-2012 05:25 PM

Stumpy, I feel your pain.
That magic “Golden Triangle” of convenience and production, so coveted yet so elusive.
Don’t ever quit your “endeavor to persevere”. lol

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View StumpyNubs's profile


7598 posts in 2824 days

#6 posted 03-23-2012 05:33 PM

Moshup- Yes I do! It’s actually just through the door in the house. There’s a mini fridge in the utility room. It’s only two steps from my drill press, so I’m good…

Tokolosi- I am actually have full blown, three pill a day, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). It is tough to live with, especially in the shop. But if I were to tell the whole story about it, I think everyone would stop watching my show because I am a nut case!

Geo- WOOD!!!!!!!!

racerglen- You know you got it bad when you start twitching!

Grandpa- Don’t even get me started on “the golden triangle”!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View DS's profile


2924 posts in 2444 days

#7 posted 03-23-2012 05:44 PM

For me, it’s not so much about re-arranging as it is about “digging out” after I complete a big project.

The last few weeks I’ve been focused on my back yard, getting the garden ready, getting the pool ready, etc. I DID just finish the Ebony Bar project and its remnants are spread all over the place in the garage. ( I KNOW I have a relatively new table saw in there somewhere. )

But the table saw, my work bench, my assembly bench and bandsaw table are covered with junk that needs to be sorted and put away.

I know I’ll get around to it just before I need to start a new project. (Right after I finally take that class on avoiding procrastination)

Isn’t that just how it goes?

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3327 days

#8 posted 03-23-2012 06:21 PM

does the term obsessive compulsive mean anything ……..ive had my shop arranged since the day i moved my wood working machines in there…the only thing that gets moved is the wood that comes in and goes out…ive got a shop full of wood, and have gotten to the point of now some of it will go for firewood…..those are hard choices…but as for the machines…nope… reminds me of a squirrl who cant find enough places for his nuts…he scurries around from place to place digging them up…i wonder how they remember where all the nuts are….....there could be some in michigian….....i know there is one in alabama…...and the only reason i dont have the chair, is it hurts my back to sit…so im forced to stand and survey my kingdom…..grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View StumpyNubs's profile


7598 posts in 2824 days

#9 posted 03-23-2012 06:25 PM

Grizz- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is something everybody jokes about. They all say “I have that” because they like to keep things well arranged, or neat. But when you really have it, it’s no joke. It totally controls your life.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3357 days

#10 posted 03-23-2012 06:34 PM

Hi stumpy, I wish I had enough space for an easy chair or a ‘cozy corner’, but I can just about walk around in my shop by moving sideways most of the time. I do rearrange sometimes, and I just made a move that gives me more freedom of use with my router table (longer pieces are easier now) and also frees up my long 30” scroll saw for much more comfortable use. Most people probably would get claustrophobia working in my shop. I am not planning to quit woodworking because of my workshop disadvantages,lol.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View StumpyNubs's profile


7598 posts in 2824 days

#11 posted 03-23-2012 06:36 PM

stefang- I thought my Giant scroll saw was big!How about a photo of the 30 incher?

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View Vincent Nocito's profile

Vincent Nocito

485 posts in 3387 days

#12 posted 03-23-2012 06:47 PM

My shop moves around constantly….sometimes it seems like it does it on its own. Since just about everything is on wheels, moving isn’t the issue. Finding a place for everything is. Right now, I have a LOT of lumber and sheet goods taking up a lot of real estate. My biggest problem is not throwing out all of the cutoffs. How small is too small….maybe I will find a use for that bit of wood left over from that 1985 project…my isn’t that an interesting knot or grain ripple.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3357 days

#13 posted 03-23-2012 07:47 PM

Here it is Stumpy. You can’t see all of it, but it is long. It is a wonderful machine. The rest of my shop is on my home page.


-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2794 posts in 3461 days

#14 posted 03-23-2012 07:49 PM

Sometimes you think. If I rearrange stuff I’ll have more room around the bench to work. Then you’ve to to have tuff in a place that they work properly. I use the planer a lot. It needs to be on wheels so I can pull it out and put some long stuff through it. I think the best thing is to keep stuff against the wall but have good casters on each tool. I’ve found 4” or better will roll over electrical cords and sawdust and chips pretty good. Smaller wheels than 4” and a wood chip is a wheel chock. My shop is 25×25, big buy some standards but it’s getting smaller all the time.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 2562 days

#15 posted 03-23-2012 08:31 PM

Stumpy, I arrange keys, pens, paperclips…everything should have a clean 9/64th (3.57 mm) gap around it. I spend a lot of time organizing the organization around me.

-- I never finish anyth

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