|Workshop by thiel||posted 05-22-2009 03:58 AM||2747 reads||1 time favorited||23 comments|
Shop Update January 8 2012
Some of you might know that my shop flooded in Irene. The flood was about 7.5 feet high in my shop, and since it was a flash flood, it carried a lot of silt. A couple photos might help:
Here’s the water line imposed on one of my old workshop photos.
And here’s what was left behind.
The mud you see in that photo hardened into a cement like substance. It was a superfine, superdense coating on everything—inside every box, on every drawer, on every tool. The only way I found to clean it off was to vacuum it off while using a brush, and even at that I needed to use HEPA lest I redistribute it.
Many people were not as lucky as I. I was insured and I had a lot of help and a lot of resources available to set things right. And set about it, I did.
My goal was to have my shop “operational” by Thanksgiving, and to be back at projects by Christmas. Though I’ve got a couple things outstanding, I met those deadlines and am more or less back in the running. So… here’s a new shop tour.
It’s a nice process to buy a shop all at once (using someone else’s money!) and my wife told me that after we bought the washer and dryer I could spend the rest of the settlement on tools. I should marry that woman again.
Long story short: I went SawStop and Festool. The Sawstop is nice, though not any more functional than my Grizzly 1023sl was. I’ve already blown a break and blade on the sawstop, so while I’m a fan, I’m not really a fanboy. The dust collection is amazing though, and the fit and finish is second to none.
I’d had a shop made router table and (like EVERYTHING having to do with flood recovery) I knew I could build a new one, but when you have a hundred “could build that myself” items between you and recovery, you end up buying a lot. Bought the router table (Bench Dog). Bought a panel sled (Incra) and a taper jig (rockler). Since everything was already torn down, I did dust collection upgrades throughout (after rebuilding my DC).
More heavy iron. I restored my Grizzly bandsaw (still waiting on a part, actually) but replaced my jointer and planer with a combo unit. This JET unit is a helluva machine. Ridiculous. I love the space savings, the quality is great, and the changeover takes seconds. If it wasn’t so expensive, I’d actually recommend it to people…. but it’s priced crazy.
I picked up the 18inch Delta Drill press, which is both extraordinary and well priced (recommended!). The toolbox was actually the very first acquisition when I started cleanup because I needed someplace just to store the tools I’d derusted… now, I use it for ALL my handtools—including saws and chisels—and I really like it. This one is from Harbor Freight, and their quality on this item is FANTASTIC. A real gem and of course priced for HF it can’t be beat.
Oddly enough, I kept my store-bought Veritas bench. It pringled just a little with the flood but it works. Truth be told, I’ve always felt guilty about buying a bench, so I thought I’d keep this one and then build my own some day as a replacement. In the meantime, I occasionally expend some calories flattening it by hand and it will eventually get there.
I started replacing hand power tools and went all festool. I already had sipped the koolaid with a vac and sander. I can say that the “system” has increasing returns as you add tools. Switching between things is ridiculously simple (especially with the boom arm). Had to help a buddy and had all my tools in the truck in under five minutes. Astonishing. Ended up with the track saw, two sanders, the mid size router, the jig saw (super), and the domino.
I also invested in Sortainers, which are Festool’s fancy drawer units for screws and such. They are expensive, but again one of those things that seems to add to the value of the system. Since the Sortainers can be directly attached to other toolboxes, it means you can grab a tool “and associated stuff” and have it in a single kit. The build quality is excellent and you can pack a TON into the drawers, making them a very efficient use of space. Not sure I would justify them if I was using my own money though, unless I was a contractor working in other peoples houses.
I still have some work to do. Need an assembly table of some sort. Need to restore my lathe. Need a sharpening station. One thing I did was build a french cleat system which has been super. Really helps to speed the work with having clamps on the wall instead of shoved in the ceiling joists. The little things are adding up.
Anyway, that’s it for now. More to come, but at least now I’m more or less back to project work.
-- Laziness minus Apathy equals Efficiency