First post—be gentle folks?
I’ve been building furniture and audio projects for years, and in the past few moves have managed to expand my shop quite a bit thanks to the support of my partner/girlfriend in home renovations. Current shop is in the basement of a 1950s ranchburger a few blocks from the NCSU campus. Sometime in the early 1980s a previous owner added on two room additions, including a nice 2-car garage on the back of the basement level, so I have daylight rolling access to the backyard and plenty of room to store wood… at least, until we want to actually park a car in there!
The basement was a dark place when we bought the house, with only 2 outlets and 3 light bulbs; so the first order of business was wiring up lighting and power circuits to the new breaker box we had installed. Instead of trying to predict everywhere I would want light I added recessed can fixtures around the perimeter of the rooms (ceiling is 8.5 feet, yahoo! so cans between overhead joists save clearance) with a separate circuit for overhead outlets in the center of the work areas for clamp lights. Unpainted dark cinder block walls were sealed with heavy coats of Drylock and topcoated with semi-gloss white paint for cleanup. Concrete floor was covered with interlocking foam matting from Pep Boys.
So, decent light, great location, easy roll-in/roll-out access for materials, lots of room. I’m a very lucky woodworker.
No, we’re not moving, ever, again…
Enough shop intro, what’s my favorite tool?
Right now, I have to go with the ECE 649P Primus wood block handplane – just a great little blockplane with a lignum vitae sole. I use it all the time.
Favorite Local Wood Stores in Raleigh
Capitol City Lumber, Beryl Street
1/2 mile from the house – great hardwood shed and they let you pull out all the boards while you are pondering. Plenty of exotic woods too, but I’m generally buying maple, cherry, or walnut. They also have a good supply of maple, cherry, and birch plywood on-hand, and a showroom with tools and finishes, plus a great selection of fasteners and bulk deck screws. More expensive than Home Depot or Lowes, but you get better quality. Nice folks, old established local business.
The Scrap Exchange, Durham NC
Need something weird? plastic or metal? odd fittings? Yar, try this non-profit near downtown Durham.
Woodworkers Supply, Glenwood Avenue
Clean store… maybe too clean, but they have everything. Small wood supply area, but they do have regular classes.
Klingspor Woodworking, Capital Blvd
Good supply of sandpapers, nice exotic wood selection. Also has a great section of restored vintage tools for reasonable prices!
... and a shout out to my previous favorite store in Charlotte, now owned by Wurth
Used to be Queen City Lumber – multiple grades of veneer plywood on-hand, a huge place. Good prices on maple, but you had to be on the spot when a new shipment arrived to beat the employees to the figured pieces!
Happy New Year!