Da Workshop #1: The Plan

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Blog entry by Tomcat1066 posted 12-20-2008 05:32 PM 1358 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Da Workshop series Part 2: And So It Begins »

Yes, at some point, I hope to have a workshop for real. In the mean time, I’m stuck using my back porch. So, as such, I figured I needed to have a plan. Since my fellow LumberJocks have always been so great at offering tweaks and suggestions, I figured I would get some no BS critiques here that will help me refine my plan.

As stated in a previous blog, I’ve decided to skip the table saw and go with a bandsaw. I just didn’t see any way around the bandsaw, but found alternate ways to do just about everything the table saw would do (to some extent). Now, this will make the bandsaw the “central” tool in my workshop. After a good bit of reading, I’m now leaning a little bit more toward either the Rigid 14” from HD or the Delta 14” from Lowe’s. The Delta has the inside track, mostly because of the staff at Lowe’s. It’ll need to be on a movable base so I can put it into the locked storage room.

Now, for the rest!

First and foremost is my workbench. See Chris Scwarz’s Roubo design. I’m going to build it with a leg vise and a twin screw vise on the end. I had thought about using one of Veritas’ connected twin screws, but have decided against it. Not just because it’s much more expensive, but because I want the twin screw to handle irregular pieces.

Next is tool storage. I figured first I’ll bang together a joiner’s chest. Some here has a very cool one that I plan to rip off…err…emulate ;). I’ve got a crate that is currently housing my hand tools that can store power tools just fine (the ones I don’t have cases for anyways). These should all lock and be heavy as hell hopefully. That way they stay my tools (the good sized and aggressive dog should help as well ;) ).

Now, this is the interesting part. I came across a plane for a cabinet with removable shelves that is designed to house bench top tools like planers, miter saws, etc. So, I figure that’s what I’ll do as well. I can build stands that accept these “shelves” as table tops and just switch them out as needed. I know I’ll need one for my miter saw, and one for a planer (that I don’t have at this point) and probably a drill press (depending on the weight). Possibly a top for a router table, or even a bench top router table. As for what else, I’m not sure. Maybe a oscillating spindle sander at some point, but not right now. Again, this cabinet will be locked.

In time, I also plan on building my dream tool chest (while typing this, I started to type “cool” chest…which would be appropriate too I guess ;) ). This will be a tall chest that can house hand tools and handheld power tools just fine. Again, this will lock, but it will also look like fine furniture.

All of this will be somewhat protected from the elements by one of those pop-up gazebo things until I can get a shop built (and the shop may well be built before the dream tool chest is built). While less than ideal, this is what I’ve got. However, the only real henderance to really good work is the moisture levels here in GA. We don’t exactly have a “dry” season, but I need to check the variance from indoors to outdoors to see how big of an issue I’m facing. It could make things interesting.

So, now that I’ve laid it out for you, what do you think? Any suggestions will be considered, obviously ;)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

8 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3245 days

#1 posted 12-20-2008 06:35 PM

It sounds like you have already formulated a good working plan- and getting mentally prepared is the first step in completing any project.

As far as the humidity goes you really don’t have any control over it so I really wouldn’t worry about it too much. Wood, that is freshly kiln dried to 6-8 % moisture will rapidly acclimate to the ambient humidity, which I am sure that yours is pretty much the same as here- in the 11-13% range. So unless you have access to a kiln to store your wood and use it almost immediately upon removing it the moisture content of the wood is simply an issue over which you have little control.

But it does sound as if you are starting to have fun. Glad to see it.

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

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3219 days

#2 posted 12-20-2008 06:47 PM

I just had some concerns with the humidity since 80% is actually dry for our neck of the woods. 100% isn’t that unusual though the 90’s seems to be about the norm. I was worried about that much humidity having to adverse an effect on the wood. If it’s not something to worry about, then I won’t worry about it. Not enough time in the day to worry unnecessarily anyways ;)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3522 days

#3 posted 12-21-2008 08:57 PM

It would kill me not to have a tablesaw, but not everyone is in a position to have one.

If I had to survive on my workflow being centered on a bandsaw I would get a different one than you have been looking at.

I had a Jet 14” with riser blocks and Carter bandsaw guides. The Carter guides make a big difference in the cut and tracking, especially if you get into a nicer blade. It seems that there is no single answer to getting good results with bandsaw but it is a combination of things, which includes operator skill.

I also had to replace the motor because I burnt it out while resawing some veneer. I replaced it with a 1-1/2hp G.E. motor with overload protection and it barely fit in the cabinet! It did offer a noticeable increase in power.

In my travels to Ohio, the bandsaw was one of the tools that got left in my brother’s shop when he purchased some of the bigger items that I was dragging back and forth between the Buckeye state and the Big Sky state. I upgraded to the Grizzly 17inch G0513.

This saw is a much better machine with NO upgrades. It has substantially more power, runs and cuts smoother, and has a 12” depth of cut. The table seems to be at a more comfortable height and is larger, which makes it a real pleasure to use in comparison.

It comes with a tension release lever – which the others do not. It has 4” dust collection ports that allow for real dust collection and the table tilt is nicer.

The cost is just under $850 delivered and in my opinion is a much better deal than the 14” models. They do not come close to the way that this thing operates “out of the box.” One thing though, it does require 220v.

By the time you purchase one of the other bandsaws and add Carter guides, riser blocks, and consider a tension release system, you might consider the Grizzly.

I ordered the resaw fence at the same time that I purchased this bandsaw, but in my mind it was a waste of money. I can very easily freehand my resaw cuts because of the way that this tracks and so I never even use the tall fence.

Here you can see how much bigger the table is. I find it much more enjoyable to work on than the 14” models and the overall footprint is not that much larger, it is just a more massive machine vertically.


-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3219 days

#4 posted 12-21-2008 11:15 PM

Thanks Todd! The only real hurdle to saving up to get that beast (and oh how I want one ;)), is that I’m only wired for 110. Granted, I see on Grizzly’s site that that particular model shows it can take 110, but is wired for 220. So…I might have to learn how to do that. Any chance you can look in the manual and let me know if instructions on doing so are in there?

You’re right about the table saw. They’re great tools and very versatile, but it just came down to which would be the best for my position, and the band saw won out. If I’m able to, I’ll add a table saw at a future date. There’s just to many things they do well IMHO :D

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3522 days

#5 posted 12-21-2008 11:18 PM

This is the G0513 pdf manual link.

It can be accessed from the product display page on the Grizzly site.

I sent it to you before I read it myself.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3522 days

#6 posted 12-21-2008 11:21 PM

Page 7 of the manual states that this model can be wired for 110v on a 20 amp breaker.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3219 days

#7 posted 12-22-2008 08:15 AM

Sweet! Thanks Todd. Yet another thing to add to the mix…just ducky :/ ;)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2077 days

#8 posted 03-05-2011 04:56 PM

Laguna makes a good beefy Band-saw wired for 110.

Make your tool storage simple and cheap as possible early on that way you can expand without regret (or with only small modifications. Sounds like you will need to move your tools in and out a lot so rollers or smaller chests broken up by category (i.e. saw chest, plane chest) might be a good investment against back strain.

If this is your first bench, might I lend a piece of advice build a simple quick and sturdy bench (bob and daves good fast and cheap bench comes to mind…see mine) and get to work, you are only going to figure out what you really want by working on a good bench for a awhile. You will put together a good list of things that you want on your dream bench, and you will have a good bench to build it on when you get there. When you are done with the first one you can either turn it into a secondary work area or donate it to someone just getting started (guaranteed friend for life). If you do decide to do the Roubo more power to you, that’s a great design and will serve you very well.

Oh, and skip the tool well, but that’s just my opinion.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

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