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Revamping and Updating my Old Shop #2: Situational Awareness - it's about Space and Time

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Blog entry by Jim Bertelson posted 1787 days ago 1168 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Lumberjocks - will I fit in? Part 2 of Revamping and Updating my Old Shop series Part 3: My SPACE in depth: Pictures and Ecology of the Man Cave »

I might be writing this to explain my choices while demonstrating my impeccable organizational skills and foresight. But in reality, I know, that at best, I have a hazy gestalt of what I am doing and why in this hobby, and forge ahead, in an adventurous mode, and am totally amazed at my situation when reflecting at any point in time. Kind of like a two year old rummaging through the kitchen cabinets, chewing off the can labels and scattering the contents of the boxes, sitting there on the floor in the middle of the mess, with a big grin gazing up at mom, totally self satisfied with his discoveries, and proud of the great things he did with them.

My day job demands precision and total alertness at all times. It dominates my life… it defines and limits me. My hobbies are my escape from that domination and limits. I need to create, feel the freedom of an imagination run wild, without limits and care……you know, make a real mess. Thank God for sawdust.

(My intention is to outline my current situation in this #2 entry, provide pictures in #3 , and then solicit suggestions for storage, tool mounting, lighting, etc., along with my thoughts in #4)

Here’s the SPACE:

I have lived in this house since 1985. I will probably die in this house. For multiple reasons, it is what I have to deal with now and forever. I used to have the back end of a double car garage, double deep. Meaning I basically had an unshared double car garage attached to the house for my shop. This shop served as carpentry, electrical, electronics and ham radio, plumbing, and miscellaneous mechanical work space. But this old house needed upgrading, and two furnaces and the hot water heater ended up in my space. Also, a walkway must be maintained to the back of the space leading to another storage area and the door to the back yard. No, I cannot expand this space because covenants prohibit us from building anything more on the lot, we are already slightly over the limit. The SPACE is warm and dry. I cannot work before 0600 hrs or after 2200 hrs due to the proximity of bedroom, directly overhead.

My wife intrudes a little into this space…storing muddy garden gloves and fertilizer on the contractor saw table top, using chisels for screw drivers, using tiny wire nips as bolt cutters, and in total unskilled innocence once fired up the radial arm saw and cut off a piece of plastic drainage pipe (not her hand thankfully, but it got her a lecture and chastisement) …you know, the usual charming and amusing feminine intrusions. She also uses one shelf for some strategic storage, otherwise the space is mine.

It has gained miles of heating pipe and electrical cables in a maze in the rafters and on the walls. I hope to clean up the electrical over time, but the heating system pipes are here to stay.

Now the TIME:

Since I still work, and get tired, and because I am not young, there are limits on my energy. I have limited time for hobbies. Considering time and energy restraints, it would probably take me a couple of years to totally revamp this space including the cabinets, workstations, and tools. Therefore I feel I must keep the shop functional while it is upgraded, so that I can do things now. So I will nibble at it and buy tools that fit for now, knowing I may replace them later, as the space gets more used more efficiently. It is a new hobby (meaning the shop was essentially multipurpose and totally utilitarian till now) and I don’t want to get carried away, and find I have or gain some impediment to enjoying it. And I do like fixing up the old friends I have worked with for years, my radial arm saw, and the contractors saw.

INVENTORY: (all these tools were purchased new)

Craftsman Radial Arm Saw – 1971 New table in place
Delta Contractors Saw – 1987 New Vega fence and Wixey digital readout
Skil Router Model 295 – 1978
Makita Miter Saw –1984 in disuse
Delta 12” Drill Press – 1990 Would like to upgrade.
Delta 4” Belt/Disc Sander – 1991 Would like a more robust machine.
Delta 10” Band Saw – 1992 Will upgrade in the near future.
Delta 1.5 HP Sawdust Collector – 2009 4” hose running to all current workstations, blast deflectors at each station, remote control on/off
Delta ShopMaster TP 305 small Planer – 2009 In the box still
Delta ShopMaster JT 160 small Joiner – 2009 In the box still
Hitachi Scroll Saw CW 40 – 2009 In the box still
Multiple corded and cordless drills, saws, sanders, etc. Mostly old, but in good shape.

So there is the situation…
And pictures…coming soon!! (probably next weekend)

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska



5 comments so far

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1799 days


#1 posted 1787 days ago

I thoroughly enjoy your writing style!

-- -- Neil

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5378 posts in 1857 days


#2 posted 1787 days ago

Hopefully I can address some of your stuff with the solutions I am either putting in place, or already have in place…

Craftsman Radial Arm Saw – 1971 New table in place
Not much to say about a RAS. I have never used one. My Dad had one and it pretty much collected dust. Always used circ saw and a cutting guide… I think Dad’s RAS might have been broke though…

Delta Contractors Saw – 1987 New Vega fence and Wixey digital readout
Skil Router Model 295 – 1978

Not familiar with that particular Skil router, but if you do not yet have a router table, I would STRONGLY suggest you add a router wing onto your Table Saw. Router wings are a HUGE space saver in a tight shop, and well worth the effort, or money to get them in place… If you are interested in upgrading though, I can HIGHLY recommend the Hitachi KM12VC. I have 2 of them and LOVE them…

Makita Miter Saw –1984 in disuse
Disuse? I am assuming you mean abused, or in disrepair… Might be time for an upgrade then? IF I had the bucks for it, I would take the Craftsman RAS, and that old Makita, sell them, and upgrade to a newer 12” dual bevel sliding compound miter saw. The Ridgid is getting really good reviews…

Delta 12” Drill Press – 1990 Would like to upgrade.
Why? What has the 12” lacked that you want to upgrade? Not trying to talk you out of spending money or anything, but just curious…

Delta 4” Belt/Disc Sander – 1991 Would like a more robust machine.
Not sure if this would fit your bill, but the Ridgid EB4424 belt / spindle oscillating sander is a great machine for the $$... I have a 12” plywood disc and a shop made table I use on the lathe for any disc sanding needs…

Delta 10” Band Saw – 1992 Will upgrade in the near future.
While they take up more floor space, a 14” with a riser block, like a Grizzly GO555, or even my cheapo Harbor Freight 32208 is really the winning combination if you want to do any resawing… Mount your new band saw on a mobile base, keeping things mobile is key to success in a small workshop.

Delta 1.5 HP Sawdust Collector – 2009 4” hose running to all current workstations, blast deflectors at each station, remote control on/off
Hoping that is the 50-760, a great machine! You might want to add a pre separator though to keep your filter / bag from clogging up too quickly… Take a look at my write up the Thien Cyclone separator.

Delta ShopMaster TP 305 small Planer – 2009 In the box still
Delta ShopMaster JT 160 small Joiner – 2009 In the box still
Hitachi Scroll Saw CW 40 – 2009 In the box still

If the planer isn’t too heavy or ackward for you to use, I would mount them on 18” x 24” 3/4” thick plywood mounting plates, and in turn hang them from shelf standards and brackets from the wall sort of stacked. You will save a TON of floor space, and can simply clamp the plywood down to your workbench when you are ready to work with any specific tool…

Multiple corded and cordless drills, saws, sanders, etc. Mostly old, but in good shape.
If it has a case of some sort, use it, if it doesn’t, get, or make them. I have all mine in either OE blow molded cases, and bags, or cheap tool bags from Lowes. No tangled cords, all the extra blades and wrenches stay with the tool etc… I simply use color coding in my bags. Orange for the rotary tool, red for the jig saw, black for the angle grinder and so forth… The stuff that came with blow molded cases stayed in them. All of it got shoved up on an 18” deep shelf mounted 6’6” from the floor. Since I am 6’ tall no head banging going on there…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3640 posts in 1789 days


#3 posted 1787 days ago

Thanks for the comments guys.

NBeener:

Geez, aw…shucks. Maybe I should publish. Seriously, thanks for the comment, you never know when you are just being, ........verbose, obtuse, boring…you know.

dbhost:

Can’t part with the radial arm saw yet, nostalgia, and it cuts perfectly. I use a rule on the fence so that I don’t have to measure for the crosscuts. Granted, it is a big machine and I have limited its use at this time. We’ll see. You make a good point though, and I don’t have a good counter argument. I’ll see how it goes with the next couple of utilitarian projects, jigs, etc that I have planned.

The more I think about a router wing the better I like it. I need to support the fence bar out there, and planned to build a cabinet. No reason not to put a router wing there. A no brainer. Thanks, I had almost discarded that idea, now I think I will do it.

Re the drill press, that upgrade is certainly not critical, but I find limitations with the throat now and then. It would be the last thing to upgrade, because it seems robust and mechanically sound.

Re the sander, I don’t have a lathe yet. Was taught the rudiments of the craft in junior high school. Don’t think they do that anymore. So the disc sander comes in handy since no lathe. Your suggestion is appreciated. You know right now I could stick a disc off the end of the radial arm and make a work rest for it to attach to the fence. Hmmm. Your idea is sounding better. But I still like just walking over to that disc and rounding or smoothing a jig piece or such.

The Miter saw was purchased to do some refurbishing, trim and such, when I moved into this house in 1985. I did the initial woodwork myself, since didn’t have any money then. It is basic, and limited. Still works though.

I have read the the value point on the Grizzly band saws is good. I know I will need something bigger than I have right now, but the 10” band saw certainly fits my needs so far. Once you get into furniture and resawing, well, it won’t cut it (intended). Actually, I have read a lot about the Grizzly machines, pro and con. But just like Delta, they have their merits, especially value. Save the big bucks for the…....er…....mmmmmmm…wife’s Christmas present. Did I say that right, dear?

My dust collector is the 50-760. Like you, the 4” is adequate for my shop at this time. I read your review and the Thiel orignal. Right now I don’t generate much sawdust, but with a planer and jointer, more time in the hobby, etc—that is sure to change. Looks like a simple solution to filter and bag use. Thanks. Think I’ll do that one, too.

Re the planer and jointer, I conceived of them as portable, and attaching to plywood and hanging them seems like a good idea.

My lesser used portable tools are in crude drawers underneath my workbench, built in 1971, from 4×4 legs, 2×10’s overlayed with 3/4” ply for the top, and 2×4 framing. Bolted together. Wisconsin to Kentucky to Fairbanks to Anchorage Alaska. Its travelled and it survived. But I was hoping to use the under bench space for other tools. Will think about your idea.

Great responses….....Kermit my bird, sitting on my shoulder says: “Whatcha doin’ huh”. I know, may not be pertinent, but you know, sensitivity is in these days, everyone and everything is important….................but I wonder if there are any “tree huggers” here?!

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5378 posts in 1857 days


#4 posted 1786 days ago

There might be. One thing I think most of us here can agree on is making the best use out of the resources that are available… I hate having to cut a tree down where there is one that was taken down by a storm that is perfectly usable… But that’s just me being frugal is all…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3640 posts in 1789 days


#5 posted 1786 days ago

dbhost: I wrote that only half in jest. Actually, I am pretty impressed with woodworkers in general, and even people who sell wood products, some of which maintain a renewable forest patch. As you point out, and I am one of them, I save every scrap until I have whittled it down to a point of uselessness. So although there is certain to be a whole spectrum of views on resources in this large group of forum memebers, I’ll bet most recycle, reclaim, and respect the resources they use, especially the trees.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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