One of my greatest challenges in woodworking is not working wood. That isn’t meant to imply I have all the skills and knowledge, that I am an expert in woodworking. What I mean is that being one who works best when organized, being so disorganized and without working space handicaps me like you wouldn’t believe. While it would seem easy enough to just start putting things away and moving things here or there, the reality is that I don’t have enough places to store what I need, and consequently I spend the majority of my time looking for tools, equipment and supplies. The dungeon isn’t the only place I have these things. They are scattered between three floors. This has to stop, of course. This is what I have been focusing on between small projects over the course of the past several months.
I should have taken ‘before’ pictures of the mess. It was such a dangerous environment before these new pictures were taken that I was sure to receive a lot of admonishment from my peers. I was literally stepping over loose lumber and narrowly moving between benches and stands to get from one spot to another. What you see here is still a dangerous mess, but now I have room to move around and that means more and safer progress.
If the weather was more cooperative, I could get the lumber on the floor out to the trailer, cover it with a tarp, and extract what I needed until I had the shop laid out. Unfortunately, the humidity level is much higher outside because of the amount of rain we have been having this summer. It will be months before I can create any more lumber racks. I know: everything in its own time. Patience was never a virtue of mine.
Recently I put up a studded wall along side of the old oil tank. I used new and reclaimed OSB, which I found out during construction was of two different thickness. Before I knew this I had measured out panel widths and you can see I missed the proper measurement on the top right panel. Fortunately, looks is far less important in this environment than usability.
Because of the high humidity and mold/mildew in this environment, I decided to prime the front side of wall with bin primer before painting. One thick coat was applied, enough to ensure that I got the majority of the crevices filled.
I applied one coat of white latex ceiling paint. I went back and forth many times on which bench to put in this space. The HF Windsor bench (seen on the left) would allow placing it away from the wall and walking around all four sides. The problem is in the uneven floor, especially at the drain hole on the far right. The bench lacks the weight to keep itself stable on floor shims. I also needed the deeper converted desk-to-bench placed where it would do the most good. It won’t fit anywhere else. Once dry, the bench was moved into place. As you can see, finding a place for things is what holds back construction. Can’t work on the bench if it is filled with expectant tools and equipment.
I whipped up a small clamps rack for the right side of the bench. These are the plastic-ended squeeze-grip clamps I have. I have to build a larger rack for my screw grip clamps in the space left open around the tank. Something for a later time.
More clutter. The stone wall on the right has to be reclaimed. Minimally, I need to take the pegboard on the wall and rotate its length and hang it to run widthwise along the wall. What I would like to do eventually is to stud the wall as I did around the oil tank. This makes it easier to rid myself of the ever present intrusion of arachnids in my dungeon domain. It would also keep the moisture off whatever I put near the wall.
You can see how much the floor slopes from the far right corner to the left when you look at the wheeled sliding compound saw bench compared to the Windsor work bench. I kid you not, that is about a two inch slope. Another reason for adding the studded wall is to create wall-mounted benches that ‘would be’ level. That would take care of this problem.
The lumber, as mentioned before, is a problem here: no place to put it. The steel shelves in the background are coming out. They are lined with bike shop stuff. Most of that will be given away to a friend who works on bikes to supplement his Social Security. But since I still have several bikes to care for and some still to be built-up, there will be a repair shop somewhere.
There is a tiny closet-like room behind all the bench (white door) that hasn’t been opened in over twenty years. I am curious to see if it can be used for finishing or storage.
Note the DeWALT thickness planer on the left. It’s ‘stuck’ there.
So what do I mean by the planer being ‘stuck’ there?
In trying to gain some access to this part of the dungeon, I needed to find a place to put the thickness planer where it would be temporarily out of the way. As you know, these are close to 200 pounds in weight. Like the old-man-who-thought-he-was-still-a-young-fool, I horsed it up onto two tall sawhorses. That caused a massive spasm across my back, a reoccurrence of an injury sustained in my computer shop back in the late ‘90s. Thinking that I could work this one out, I kept on going. It looked like it was going to work. Then I tried to carry my relatively light Contractor saw out to the back yard. It was on the stone steps leading outdoors that it came on full force, locked me up so I couldn’t move, and here I was pinned on the steps, wedged between it and the stone wall. At any rate, I was incapacitated for well over a week and that was months ago. Eventually, I have to get this down and placed on wheels or I will never be able to used it. I sure wish one of you guys lived close by to give a hand. ;) My young stud neighbor has promised to help me move it this Friday. I just have to get a low base on wheels together before then.
Also notice the table saw has a base. That’s a new accomplishment, one I started well over a year ago. It turned out to be sturdy and appropriately heavy, with two wheel on one end and a wooden foot on the other. All four corners have levelers. The only failure in this base has been dust collection. I needed to make the bottom tray sloped downward into the collection port. Too much saw dust ejects out the front blade angle port, for one, and secondly, the rest still piles up around the edge of the shallow trough. Live and learn.
Behind and to the left of the left steel shelf unit is a room extension. This space is filled with bicycling stuff in boxes and some extra plastic garbage cans no longer used. Once they are out and electricity/lighting installed, this could be used for the bike repair shop. Maybe.
Around the adjustable steel joist jacks I made a pallet wood wall. This is going to provide a usable wall to hang tools on and to partition workspace from the lumber rack behind it. I just finished relocating the bench drill press here, which is now securely bolt to the cabinet top. The top drawers were peculiar in that the hand holds to open them leaves a large gap that allows sawdust and crud to fall into the drawers. The thick board you see resting on the drawer tops will be cut to match the width of the table top and then two hinges will be mounted on top so that it can hinged upward and out of the way to get at the drawers.
The router stand is a Catch-22 for me, because I hope to do jointing with it (I don’t have a jointer and probably won’t while in this shop space). I know I will need to get long boards through there and obviously where it is that can’t happen. When the need arises I will have to move the base out enough to clear the drill press, moving it back against the wall when done. I may find myself putting wheels on the base will make this easier to do.
The space to the right of the band saw is where the drill press used to be. I would really like to free the bureau top up for a computer monitor and place a computer tower in the opened up left side bay. Maybe once the bike shop area is cleaned out there will be room there.
Much of what is on the wall there will be relocated to the other walls, as it pertains to the equipment and use at location. I plan on painting the wall white: I need more light reflection on the work areas.
The old Delta scroll saw on the left needs to be refurbished. Another project on my bucket list.
And that back room needs to be cleaned out. inside, and around to the right, I have to put in at least one adjustable joist jack to prop up the kitchen/bathroom floor where it is sagging before I can remodel either. More bucket list fodder. Right now, I have rough shelving in there that houses all of my bottles and canned solvents, paints, oils, etc.
The chest freezer couldn’t be in a worse place as far as the shop is concerned. Every time the wife wants to take something out of the it I have to move whatever is on top of it—usually completely covered with whatever—and it’s a real pain. But there isn’t any better place for it as I don’t want my wife walking ‘through’ the workshop.
I wish pictures conveyed depth, as our eyes see it. The rough patches of concrete flooring on the bottom left of the picture vary in depth, some places as deep as a couple of inches. The heavy miter saw bench in the back gets stuck here, and that has wheels nearly three inches tall. Resurfacing isn’t an option. I am hoping to lay down rubber mats in the future.
You can see the lumber piles that are in the way. They will be moved today, because I need to get the table saw located to just camera-side of the shop vac, and the Windsor bench will be its outfeed table. Then it will be time to don the respirator and ear mugs before vacuuming webs and spiders to get access to the bike shelves. You have no idea how buried that area is in webs. :)
I hope you found this progress report and tour of my dungeon workshop interesting.
ADDENDUM – July 16th
I’ve spent some time in the dungeon since I posted this blog. I’ve been able to get some stuff put away (like powered hand tools underneath the large desk-turned-bench) and of course the relocation of the table saw and Windsor bench at center floor. I did some spider web cleaning out in the far right corner and was able to clear off most of what was hanging on the pegboard. The board will be removed, cleaned up and then mounted long ways across the wall so that I can have full use of it. The sliding miter saw, as we all knows, needs a lot of space behind it, so for now its present location works and give me some access to the bike stuff I have to remove/relocate.
-- -- Paul Bucalo, Upstate NY USA