The shop #2: making good on resolutions

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Blog entry by scottb posted 02-14-2008 02:49 AM 1142 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: New Year, "new" shop Part 2 of The shop series Part 3: strip tease »

One of the things that was delaying my (failed) 2x4 project was a promise to myself that I would get the shop clean and in working order (or at least organized) before I started any new projects.

Since I work out of two toolboxes I tend to at least know where most of my tools are (up in the car), for the house/shop tools are usually much harder to find. The problem, apart from the entire basement looking much like this table:

Lots of random things without a home, but even more so – piles and piles of offcuts and assorted scrap. 2x, 1x, ply and rough hardwoods. (some of the S4S Cherry, Ipe, etc is under my bed.)

A few gung-ho days during Christmas “vacation” found me having a shop floor! Space I can actually walk on! (as opposed to stepping from clear spot to semi-clear spot, in a death-defying game of twister/hopscotch) One upshot was several bags of kindling.

Another upshot was using the larger pieces of scrap – and remains of my 1st workbench as a
“good” lumber rack:

Now I have a home for my (from the top down) Oak, oak, and maple. The rack is 2×4’s, with approximately 12” 2×4’s for the brackets, attached with scrap pieces of ply. I also added a ply shelf under each bracket to hold smaller offcuts. – bits of oak, and the bottoms scraps of hardwood spindles I acquire. Could be poplar, could be maple or birch. no discernible grain (like the hardwood craft wood at the arts/crafts store) Good for practice turning… but I digress. There is also a raised space (cinder blocks) for plywood, furniture grade and better utility grade below.

To the right of the new rack I have more room for other lumber storage, longer pieces and things of lesser quantities. A little walnut, cedar, mahogany, cherry, and the rest of the door turned Thorsen Table.

Other January projects included chopping down my table saw cart. It could (barely) fit under the “counter” that runs along one wall. I decided it was to tall (followed plans to the letter in a magazine article). Now I can easily stow it with the fence, or a sacrificial top attached (which is it’s usual state. – until I build a sled).

My other Jan projects included turning the last bits of my old workbench into a lathe stand. – with Lumberjock supplied stock beneath (top shelf, ebony, osage orange, mesquite, Eucalyptus – all from Texas…) Bottom shelf is rescued oak, ash, maple and cherry from the firewood pile.

Building or modifying projects aside, I also got the shop wired for lights, and electricity! I can see! I can turn on the miter saw, table saw and drill press at the same time – without swapping plugs, tripping over extension cords or moving around clip lights. What a difference!

Another aspect of making space, is getting to those projects that have been semi-in the way for years.
I started stripping this door almost 5 years ago but somehow it ended up behind a large stack of lumber, and fell off my radar. Some of the hardest things to see are the ones that are right there.

One last feature of my shop. A natural soothing feature. A water feature. It trickles down the stair wall, and eventually forms a river, draining where the oil tank, or something used to be. not quite 1/4 of the way into the basement. It looks bad from this angle, but this is the extent of it (during a hard rain, or spring thaw). I’m keeping everything off the floor more for cleaning (and no places for the mice to hide) more than the floor wetness.

Hey look – the tables cleaned off! Progress is being made!
At this rate, I’ll be ready for my shop inspection... before the summer contest ;)

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

11 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4397 days

#1 posted 02-14-2008 02:54 AM

I don’t know if I would take that bet Scott.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4323 days

#2 posted 02-14-2008 03:31 AM

Nobody should take that bet, least of all me… but I’m really anxious to have a space to work and move in. not a space to have to clear space to use each time. Of course, I’ll then have to develop some good habits about putting things back where they belong, and not just letting them pile up, or push them to the side.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3818 days

#3 posted 02-14-2008 03:59 AM

Hi Scott,

It is difficult to develop habits like this. But it appears as if you are making progress and I am sure that Debbie is ready to pencil you into her calendar.

By the way if you are concerned about the water here is a reference for you:

I used this system on a house I used to own. It basically consists of hollow plastic baseboard which has holes on the back side that you epoxy to the floor along the wall and to each other (I believe they come in 8’ lengths). They simply collect the water and channel it to a drainage point. I really don’t remember the cost (besides it been a few years) but they weren’t very expensive (translate that to mean I am cheap) but dealing with the epoxy is somewhat messy. It is a two part epoxy and has the consistency of roofing tar when mixed. Somewhat messy to spread over the baseboard but it held up for over 15 years until I sold the house.

Just a thought. It would help you gain some floor space.

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

View gizmodyne's profile


1779 posts in 4086 days

#4 posted 02-14-2008 04:02 AM

Looking good. You gotta tame that river.

I got a lot of organizng done with a cheezy book on tape playing. I recommend it.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Jimthecarver's profile


1124 posts in 3782 days

#5 posted 02-14-2008 05:01 AM

Hey Scott, A clean shop is an unused shop. The river has to go though….that could make for an ugly slip hazard. Thanks for the post, fun reading.

-- Can't never could do anything, to try is to advance.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3985 days

#6 posted 02-14-2008 05:06 AM

That’s one mighty fine mess you started out with!

Good to see you’re making progress.

I’m looking forward to that shop inspection!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4323 days

#7 posted 02-14-2008 06:22 AM

If a clean shop is unused, then mine is very USED.

There already is a channel – I’ll have to film it from the other side to show it, it basically follows the walkway – and fortunately reminds me to keep the space into the shop clear. It’s all the dripping off the roof, and the snow piling up on the side of house (driveway). If we stay put, I’m redoing the driveway to slope away just enough, and putting up a gutter.

Fear not for a slip hazard, the floor is about as smooth as old pavement. I’d love to epoxy the floor to make it easier to sweep up, that would be a slip hazard waiting to happen… but still. I might look into some sort of drainage. Thanks for the suggestion, having a stone foundation I sort of automatically don’t consider solutions aimed at concrete walls, but I should.

I’ve gotta get more books on tape, I’ve nearly caught up on my podcasts – and it looks like I’ve got a couple more “free” days this week. My family might see their daddy this weekend afterall!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View clieb91's profile


3520 posts in 3931 days

#8 posted 02-14-2008 06:31 AM

Scott, The progress is looking good. Sure we will see more pictures of how good it looks in the coming months.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4060 days

#9 posted 02-14-2008 07:30 AM

Deb and I will fire up the tour bus whenever you say the word. I’m only doing one a month now, but your shop would certainly be a special issue. Maybe after seeing your transformation I can get a remediation review of my own sad chapter of the MsDebbieP Shop Tour and Inspection. ;^D

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4157 days

#10 posted 02-14-2008 12:26 PM

I’m ready!
I’m very impressed with the work you’ve done!! Wow.. inspiring.

(Hey, Karson.. I see that you will be passing me soon with comment numbers.)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 4303 days

#11 posted 02-14-2008 06:26 PM

Water feature! Cool or rather cold I bet at this time of year. Keep on going, I’m always pleasantly surprised what a good cleaning/re-org can do for the shop.

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

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