Tennwood's Workshop

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Workshop by Tennwood posted 10-08-2009 05:08 PM 2101 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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112 posts in 3151 days

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My father started buying me my first hand tools when I was in middle school. I think to keep me out of his tools, plus we never had a weekend where we were not fixing something around the house. Every birthday and Christmas new tools were always on the wish list. Most of these tools I still have today. I still put tools on the wish list but my wife does not have the same appreciation for them as my father did, or maybe because the wish items are a “little” more expensive. (Ok, a lot more)

My shop is an 18-foot by 15-foot space in the basement. We built our house a couple of years ago and I designated this space for a shop. I wish I had allotted a larger area, but after years of sharing a corner of the garage in our old home, this is a luxury. I had originally designed the shop to fit the 30-foot space in this part of the basement, but I needed a spot to put an office, so the office takes up the other 11 feet plus walls. Having an office next to the shop has its issues, mostly with dust, but if I remember to tightly close the double doors (with weather stripping), I can keep it to a minimum. One smart thing I did was design an outside access door before the construction of the house, to carry tools and wood in and out without traipsing through the house and banging the walls. The house is on level ground so I had an exterior cellar Bilco style door installed. This was humorous ordeal during construction, as they apparently have never heard of cellar doors south of the Macon-Dixon line. The largest manufacture of cellar doors, Bilco, would not even sell them south of Kentucky. After some hunting, and arm-twisting my contractor, we found a different manufacturer that would ship from Pennsylvania. The space is sufficient for what I have now, but if my war chest grows, I will be in trouble. “Someday”, I hope to get a real table saw and a jointer, and I will have to reconfigure the space.

I will start with the workbenches. A regional department store chain went out of business so I picked up a display table that works well. I still need to recess the bolt heads that secure the legs, but otherwise it is a solid bench. “Someday”, I also plan to build attached shelves and cabinets for storage. As it is light, I can easily slide it around shop to make room for projects. I also got the two short display tables along with the large one ($100 for all three, not bad) which is just storage for now. The metal Craftsman bench was my first bench I got 15 years ago.

Now the fun stuff:

The table saw is a Dewalt DW744 portable contractor saw I got 10 years ago. It is functional and reliable, but I am finding out, it is too small for many projects. I am saving my nickels for the Unisaw or Powermatic. The miter saw is a Makita sliding compound saw with laser, which I love. The saw is on cheap sawhorses and plywood as “someday” I plan to build a cabinet for it. The band saw is a Jet 12”. My only regret with it is that I did not buy the 14”, but garage space was at a premium at the time. I also have a Craftsman skill saw and saber saw I have had since high school.

I recently built the router bench from a plan out of Wood magazine. “Someday”, I need to finish building drawers and doors, but it functional for now. On it is a Rockler table, plate, and fence. In it is a Freud plunging router I recently purchased and I also have a Dewalt DW610 router that I have had for years. The drill press is a 10 inch bench top Craftsman, again several years old but works well.

My nailer is a Porter Cable mushroom tank and nail guns. My hammers are on the pegboard rusting away from their tears. The planner is a Dewalt 13” that I have been very happy with. I have a collection of other power hand tools including sanders, saws, drills, shop vac and such along with a various sundry of jigs, hand tools, guides, and other have to have things.

I got the dust collector (Penn State DC2V3X) as dust was scattering throughout the entire basement otherwise. This was necessary purchase in hindsight. I just finished installing the PVC piping and connections which was an ordeal I will put up as a separate blog. I am still in the test phase to see it will all work. I made a vent hood over the workbench for sanding. This works fine for small stuff, but I will continue to do my major sanding outside just to keep the dust out.

-- Jim, SE Tennessee, "Don't spare the kindling Dear, we have plenty"

9 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3547 days

#1 posted 10-08-2009 05:21 PM

Looks like a great shop good tools and dust collection.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View TheDane's profile


5405 posts in 3632 days

#2 posted 10-08-2009 05:47 PM

Your Dad was a wise man! I like the way you did the dust collection system … looks like every major tool has a connection.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3791 days

#3 posted 10-08-2009 06:40 PM

Jim, I have to agree that your father knew what he was doing. Mine did the same for me until I was an adult and I, in turn, have done the same thing for my two sons. They both have a complete set of hand tools and portable power tools but neither seem to have caught the woodworking bug so the tool gifts have tapered off in the last few years.

I do like your shop. It is well organized and it looks like you are using the space pretty effectively. I assume that the temperature stays fairly constant in there since it is a basement shop. It is also nice to have a window in there. It is fairly small but it does admit some natural light.

It looks like you have a nice set of tools to work with as well. And you did a good job on the design and placement of your dust collection.

Jim, you have a nice shop and thanks for sharing pictures of it. I enjoyed the tour.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 3282 days

#4 posted 10-09-2009 01:07 PM

Jim, Nice set up and looks like you do have some room to reconfigure as your tool list grows. Good job on the DC system and appreciate your info on the DC you sent me.

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3528 days

#5 posted 10-09-2009 02:33 PM

Nice shop and layout.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View Splinterman's profile


23074 posts in 3331 days

#6 posted 10-11-2009 04:01 AM

Hey Jim,
Sweet shop with some great toy’s to play with…..good job.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4170 posts in 3134 days

#7 posted 10-11-2009 04:26 AM

Make a downdraft table for sanding. I have one I cut out, but haven’t put together. After I get my TS tuned it is my next project, probably in the next week or so. Very simple. I’ll try to give you a heads up when I am done and have tested it. I use a Delta 50-760 dust collector, wish I could have run PVC like you, but my ceiling is a rats nest of lights, plumbing, storage etc. Had to go with flexible stuff.

There is a lot on the internet about static electricity in dust systems, but after really reading everything, apparently it is bogus for people like us. Nobody has ever reported a fire or explosion in the home from static electricity in dust collecting systems. Commericial equipment with huge air flows and dust production are the only ones in danger. So…..PVC is the way to go if you can make it fit….I couldn’t. But I sure didn’t ground anything on my flexible tubing.

I have been making do with benches and things for years, in a multipurpose workshop. Turning it into a woodworkers shop, but it will be slow. I am new to woodworking as a hobby, mostly carpentry and utilitarian stuff up till now.

Great space and dust collecting, bet you can hardly wait till you get some more equipment…............

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3642 days

#8 posted 12-02-2009 04:17 AM

Nice shop!

View grub32's profile


215 posts in 3018 days

#9 posted 03-15-2010 12:35 AM

I figured I would stop on in and check out your shop to see what you got in there…Nice looking work space.


-- Educator by Day, Wood Butcher by Night!!

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