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Forum topic by BlankMan posted 03-04-2012 08:01 PM 3453 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3346 days

03-04-2012 08:01 PM

Cleaning up and re-arranging my workshop. Well my three workshops which overlap each other. My woodworking shop, my metal working shop, and my electronics shop. So I’m replacing shelving units with taller and sometimes deeper units, sometimes shallower units because with what’s stored on the deep ones make it a pain to get something in the back.

And of course being the pack rat that I am there’s a lot “stuff” that “I may need that someday…” but I’m not about to address all of that now, I’d never finish.

But jigs and templates and such are the question? Some are pretty big, like the router sled I made to lower a section of a workbench to accommodate my new (old) RAS. I’m coming across a lot of them, ya never know, may need that again… Well with the limited space I have and the fact that a lot of these items are years old and haven’t used them again yet, they’re starting to look like firewood to me. And since I have my wood stove going to heat up the shop today… Not that I have a shortage of fire wood, just an excess of jigs and templates.

So I’m wondering how long do others keep these things around? I tend to build one-offs so I’m really starting to question keeping these things at all. But if I ever do… And the pack rat in me makes it really really hard to let go… Round and round I go…

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

12 replies so far

View Lilskip's profile


20 posts in 2271 days

#1 posted 03-04-2012 08:07 PM

I have a bad habit of keeping jigs and such for quite I while. most of the time I go by the 5 year rule which is If I come across it and I haven’t used it in the last 5 years I normaly toss it. But there is always a few exceptions. haha


View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4926 posts in 3953 days

#2 posted 03-04-2012 08:15 PM

Date your fixtures and jigs. Kinda helps keep track of use (or not).
I’ve had to learn to become brutal about storage.


View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 3428 days

#3 posted 03-04-2012 08:37 PM

The one thing I have found that helps is to have everything mounted on wheels, then you can rearrange your shop(s) as you needs for any projects ….... this includes stock, jigs, tools …..etc. Of course you cannot have wheels on everything – well you can but there are some things like heavy machine tools, and tools that are hard wired in, but most things can be made mobile.
Checkout what I use for lumber storage
Also take a look at my way of having movable benches containing tools for specific tasks, like a sanding bench, cutting bench etc.

It works for me, it may work for others.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View HarleySoftailDeuce's profile


320 posts in 3412 days

#4 posted 03-04-2012 09:39 PM

I too have been cleaning and trying to organize my shop….but I’m always not “putting things back”....
and always looking for my tools!

-- Paul, Bristol,Rhode Island

View Danpaddles's profile


573 posts in 2305 days

#5 posted 03-04-2012 09:42 PM

Jigs and templates- if I built them from mostly scrap, hey, I built them once, I can build them again one day if I need them.

Possible exception- I have a couple of pattern pieces, in one case I had an artist involved in getting the shapes just right. I’ll keep those.

simple little hinge mortise jigs, to route in a mortise, I should toss ALL of them. Should.

Do as I say, not as I do.

oh well.

-- Dan V. in Indy

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3346 days

#6 posted 03-04-2012 11:37 PM

Hey thanks, some really good ideas.

I like the dating, and the 5 year rule, I’m now thinking 2-3 years. I kept them so I wouldn’t have to re-make them but heck yeah, I can re-make them just didn’t want to have to. But looking at the majority of them I never reused them so at that rate doesn’t look like I’ll be remaking them.

Nice wood cart Rex, that I’ve got pretty much under control here. And wheeled machines that aren’t used everyday here and here including the bandsaw which I don’t have a picture of. And my main machine bench has the planer pushed back and the mortiser and spindle sander pushed back also so as to have more bench space for cutting.

What I haven’t got a good spot for yet is plywood like verneers and 5’x5’ sheets of baltic birch in the workshop, those are leaning up against what ever and eventually get in the way of something. I’ve got two of these in the garage where I store full 4’x8’ sheets but once cut I usually keep the rest in the workshop and I really could use some place to store it that doesn’t get in the way.

It’s all the ancillary stuff that is becoming the problem. My 12” Delta Disc Sander, (2) 8” 1HP grinders one for grinding and one with wire wheels, 3 other grinders, Hand Tapper, arbor press, and another belt sander, and this dovetail jig with all it’s accessories takes up a huge amount of space, etc. Oh geeze, now I’m starting to wonder how I’m ever going to organize things.

But now I’m thinking a wheeled bench for the Enco and Delta sanders, thanks! Maybe one for the grinders too…

Yeah I think the templates and jigs gotta go and maybe other stuff that I really will never need.

Again thanks for the ideas, keep ‘em comin’.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3346 days

#7 posted 03-05-2012 02:42 PM

I’ve pretty much convinced myself to build a wheeled cabinet for 3 of my grinders I use for sharpening and the one with the wire wheels and also putting my granite slab on it and another wheeled cabinet for my Delta and Enco sanders.

This thread got me to thinking, thanks!

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View DamnYankee's profile


3301 posts in 2555 days

#8 posted 03-05-2012 02:50 PM

Jig – I generally make mine from scrap for the project at hand. It will sit on the shelf until I do a clean out or two. If I haven’t worn it out and made a more “permanent” one out of better material I break it apart and recycle through scrap bin. My scrap bin gets used to varying degrees to fuel our backyard fire pit which helps keep scrap levels down.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View HorizontalMike's profile


7754 posts in 2907 days

#9 posted 03-05-2012 03:56 PM

I am relatively new to the “jig” thing, though I have made a couple. Mine are a Super Sled for the TS and a Horizontal Mortising Machine. I guess my thoughts on keeping jigs at this point in time, might be most dependent upon which of the two criteria it/they fall under:

1. Is the jig project specific?

2. Is the jig process specific? Especially if they are multi-process capable.

IMO, the “process” specific jigs are the keepers and all others can go away at the end of their specific project/task. BTW, I speak as a hobbiest and not a production WW’r. Just my 2-cents

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2990 days

#10 posted 03-05-2012 04:37 PM

Jigs and Template.
They might be used again, store them up high, outta the way. The minute you throw them away your “Inner Mind” is going to think of things that you could have done with them and you no longer have them. STORE THEM.
I DO NOT believe in the 1 year rule !
The reality show on TV where this “Fool” goes in and tries to re-organize some one else’ LIFE is BULL. The people that have no problem throwing other people stuff away generally have NOTHING themselves..
I would like to “GOBB SMACK” that CLOWN wearing the blue glasses!
As for bigger tools….WHEELS…..put things on wheels.
Keep the welding & mechanical SEPERATE from woodworking (You already know that—-grease—-welding smoke and wood do not mix)

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View helluvawreck's profile (online now)


31013 posts in 2859 days

#11 posted 03-05-2012 05:01 PM

You sound like me. I’ve been working on my shop for at least 6 weeks and it’s getting old. I want to get back to woodworking projects. My shop has never been in this good of shape, however, so I suppose my effort will return to me in dividends. My shop is small and I have a lot of stuff and my machines are bigger than most people put into a small shop so it can seem cramped at times. I don’t have room to keep anything but general purpose jigs that will be used often. Very specialized jigs have to go unless I know that I will be using them very soon again. A good solution to jig storage for a small shop is a storage shed near the shop which is what I plan to do as soon as I’m able. I will also be able to store all of my lumber and ply wood in it instead of the shop.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View MrRon's profile


4757 posts in 3236 days

#12 posted 03-07-2012 06:58 PM

It’s nice to have a clean, well organized shop, but I feel some are obsessive with organization and cleanliness. If I were to keep my shop clean and organized, I would never get any projects done. I bought a DC 2 years ago and have never used it yet. I’m still trying to get it set up, but don’t have the time.

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