thiel's Workshop

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Workshop by thiel posted 05-22-2009 03:58 AM 3008 reads 1 time favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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View thiel's profile


387 posts in 3316 days

, MA
United States

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

23 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3846 days

#1 posted 05-22-2009 04:26 AM

David, your shop sounds interesting. How about posting some pictures of it when you get the opportunity?

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

View thiel's profile


387 posts in 3316 days

#2 posted 05-22-2009 05:14 AM

Just added some. I just moved here, so still figuring the layout before I really put things where they’ll live. The big red cart is an industrial cart and I use it as my bench. The plywood top has laminate on the other side—I flip it over for glue ups. Also, the cart is at the same height as the tablesaw, so it makes a huge feed table.

-- Laziness minus Apathy equals Efficiency

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3601 days

#3 posted 05-22-2009 07:02 AM

Good Shop David looks great

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3846 days

#4 posted 05-23-2009 01:10 AM

David, you have a nice shop in which to work. It looks like you have it well organized and you have some nice tools to play with as well. I really like the cart that you use for a work table. It is nice to see that you can use it as an outfeed table as well.

Thanks for the pictures. I enjoyed visiting your shop.

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

View thiel's profile


387 posts in 3316 days

#5 posted 07-04-2009 02:31 AM

Updated photo with some cabinets I threw together…

-- Laziness minus Apathy equals Efficiency

View helluvawreck's profile


31378 posts in 2891 days

#6 posted 08-13-2010 05:21 PM

David, that’s a real nice shop. You’ve got some nice equipment and tools and you keep it very neat.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3697 days

#7 posted 04-22-2011 02:24 AM

Nice shop.

View thiel's profile


387 posts in 3316 days

#8 posted 10-20-2011 06:02 AM

I think I’m about a week away from posting “new shop” photos. Same room, but post-flood.

-- Laziness minus Apathy equals Efficiency

View thiel's profile


387 posts in 3316 days

#9 posted 01-09-2012 05:44 AM

So… I guess I warned people about new photos (posted today) about 80 days ago!

-- Laziness minus Apathy equals Efficiency

View Ben's profile


302 posts in 2355 days

#10 posted 01-09-2012 05:56 AM

A flood like that is quite an ordeal, but you seem to have gained some great stuff you wouldn’t have otherwise. Blessings come in strange forms sometimes I suppose. Glad you are back to your shop and working.

-- Welcome to downtown Coolsville, Population: US! --Hogarth Hughes

View RibsBrisket4me's profile


1554 posts in 2530 days

#11 posted 01-09-2012 06:42 AM

Thanks so much for the pics! Glad to see you get right back on the horse!

View rmoore's profile


325 posts in 2659 days

#12 posted 01-09-2012 06:49 AM

Nice shop but sorry to hear about the way it came to be.

-- The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know. Ron, Crossville Tn

View Woodwrecker's profile


4153 posts in 3600 days

#13 posted 01-09-2012 05:06 PM

That must have been one helluva insurance settlement.
I’d say you are set.

-- Eric, central Florida / Utor praemia operibus duris

View Jacob Lucas's profile

Jacob Lucas

100 posts in 2456 days

#14 posted 01-09-2012 05:15 PM

I’m so sorry about the flood and the damages to not only your tools but also your morale (Atleast my morale would be squished). I hope you, your family and neighbors overcome that awful disaster with great pride. It’s really admirable to see for a person like myself.

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2717 days

#15 posted 01-09-2012 05:16 PM

That must have been quite an experience. With the exception of the SawStop, I would have done the exact same thing. Just cry once and buy Festool. You know they’re going to work and work together. Nice save on a nice shop.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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