Shop Upgrade - 2014 #1: Extreme Makeover - Shop Edition

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by scoobydooo9r posted 06-12-2014 07:24 AM 1705 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Shop Upgrade - 2014 series no next part

Well, just about a week or two after I finally got around to shooting a shop tour video, I decided to finally purchase a drum sander which forced me to rearrange the shop. Of course, since I knew that changes were coming, I also decided it was as good a time as any to really take a look at the shop and fix the nagging problems that I encounter here and there.

So, here’s a short list of things that will be upgraded:

1. Dust Collection

2. Shop Layout

3. Lighting

4. Tool Storage

5. Organization

Dust Collection

Because I was getting yet another dust creating monster, I finally decided it was time to upgrade the dust collection. I have one 1HP dust collector, and it’s just not powerful enough for the amount of dust I create. I have had that dust collector ever since I began my woodworking journey, and it’s the only one I’ve ever owned (aside from my Festool Vac). I have wanted to upgrade for years, but I’ve been holding out for a cyclone unit with full ductwork. Well, I finally gave in and admitted that I’m probably never going to scrounge up the money for that, and even if I did there are better things to spend the money on!

So, I opted to give good ‘ol Grizzly a try since the price is right. I ordered a 3HP double stack unit from them, and what I’ve learned so far is that I should have done it years ago! It is a massive improvement over the 1HP collector, and my lungs will be much better off now.

To go along with the collector, I am finally going to install a semi-permanent duct system. Because I already had to rearrange the shop, I decided to slap the collector in the middle and place all the 4” dust hogs around it in what I like to call the “Woodworking Battle Island.” I actually managed to get all the machines placed around it, and it will even improve my workflow on processing stock. The hard line will be approximately 8 feet long, and I will have branches running to each machine.

Shop Layout

As mentioned already, I got the machinery into an island configuration, but that didn’t stop me from rearranging pretty much everything. First off, I added a large bench/table into the shop which I will use to break down sheet goods as well as rough stock. I used to use my table saw/outfeed table to break down sheets on (with some insulation foam under the wood so I don’t cut into the table), but I would have to clear the whole area off before doing it. Now I have a dedicated station for breaking everything down to smaller parts.

The jointer and bandsaw are the closest machines to the new table which works perfect, and I even moved my Festool MFT closer to the table as well. This way, I can just wheel the Festool Dust collector over and bring the track saw or jig saw with it to break down materials quick, easy, and painlessly. The sheet good rack and lumber rack are also right next to the table as well. I’m a lean, mean breakin’ down machine now!

I also decided to fix the lumber rack problem in the shop, mainly the fact that all the big rough lumber boards required me to climb a ladder to get at. Even worse, the heaviest boards were on the top! I decided I was no longer going to store the wood horizontally, but instead I would go vertical with it. Not only does this let me sort through and pick out boards much easier, but it also utilizes the 16 foot ceilings better. Win-win!

In addition to rearranging, I am also taking the time to build a couple pieces of shop furniture that have been on my list for a long time, a joinery bench and a sharpening station. The best part is the sharpening station will nest under the joinery bench allowing me to add two things while only taking up one footprint.

There are a couple other moves that I made, but I won’t go into each one. What’s important is I now have, for the most part, dedicated spaces for just about all the tasks that I do.


When I moved into my current shop, I really only added sufficient lighting to half the shop, the side with all the machines, and it worked out reasonably well for quite some time. Now I utilize both sides of the shop, and I basically need to double the lighting. I have put this off for quite some time now since it was going to require an electrician. Well, after upgrading my dust collector, I am forced to run another 240V circuit, so while the electrician is up there, he will be adding more lights for me.

Tool Storage

Up till now, I have been storing all my hand tools in a tool chest that I built to haul my hand tools during my last move. It worked great for moving, and it has been decent to work out of; however, what I really want to use for hand tool storage is a wall cabinet. I never got around to adding one previously because there were no walls near my bench. Well, during the rearranging process, I moved the bench next to a wall, so I will be building a tool cabinet soon. As I mentioned before, I also plan to build a sharpening station and joinery bench as well, which will likely hold some tools as well.


One thing that is definitely in short supply are cabinets to hold all of my hardware, tools, and random junk. So, I have added some cabinet shelves and drawers to clean things up a bit. I also repurposed the shelves I used to use for a lumber rack to create some extra long-term storage. It’s amazing how many things you can get off the floor if you have the storage space. I mounted the shelf pretty high since it was to hold things that I don’t need to get to very often such as supplies, cases, and other random items.

I still have to build a couple shop accessories including a drawer under my mini lathe stand for turning tools and supplies, a drill press accessory storage cabinet, and a couple others. The main thing is the extra storage is key to keeping the shop as tidy as possible.


So, all in all I have my work cut out for me. There is quite a bit still left to do, but the end is nearing. In addition to the upgrades, I also decided to put up some wood paneling over the concrete blocks along half the length of one of the walls in the shop. This will add a nice backdrop for the videos I shoot, and it decreases the ugly factor in the shop as well.

Once I am completed with the project, I will shoot another shop tour of the progress. One good thing about recently shooting a shop video is to compare the two spaces. I’ll let you know when I get the new video posted.

-- I don't make mistakes, I make design challenges!

3 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30070 posts in 2543 days

#1 posted 06-12-2014 07:56 AM

Always good to see someone making progress. I hope to start the journey soon. Good luck sir.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View skeys's profile


14 posts in 1734 days

#2 posted 06-12-2014 09:44 AM

Good luck. If you’re like me, it takes a while for me to start on organization projects, but once I do, I really enjoy it, especially working with it afterwards. Look forward to seeing how it goes.

-- Scott K., Virginia

View scoobydooo9r's profile


187 posts in 3981 days

#3 posted 06-13-2014 05:44 AM

Thanks guys, I am really trying to get this done as soon as possible, but I keep running into roadblocks. Little by little things are going together. Once the electrician finally gets out and fixes me up, I’ll be on the home stretch.

-- I don't make mistakes, I make design challenges!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics