Describe your Ideal/Dream hand-tool predominant Shop

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Forum topic by Texchappy posted 05-20-2012 05:01 PM 1073 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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252 posts in 1639 days

05-20-2012 05:01 PM

As I ease into woodworking and prepare to leave Army housing, I begin to imagine where I’d like to work. I’m getting ideas from everybody’s shops and folding them into my dream shop.

So to help me out, describe your ideal shop space.

-- Wood is not velveeta

3 replies so far

View ITnerd's profile


262 posts in 2018 days

#1 posted 05-20-2012 06:41 PM

Whoo-whee, I am packing up my little shop and will be without for a while. So I’ve been thinking about what my shop of the future will look like. I am too lazy to go all Hand Tools – they can have my Table & Bandsaw when they pry it from my cold, dead hands. But I am definitely going to design the next space to better support thier use. Here’s my notes.

1. Huge bench that can hold work – use Christopher Schwarz' test – will it allow you to work on all sides of a door-sized piece? I do not have the experience to debate the finer nuances of every bench out there, but if you get close to this you’re on the way, and you can refine your perfect bench as you go.

2. Organized Wall/Cabinets/Containers that can display and hold tools – you bring the tools to the work with most of hand tools. I like the principles of Lean 5S –, borrowed from Lean Manufacturing, but whatever system works for you. Keep them close, if you notice in most old shop photos everything is within arms reach, or a few steps at most.

Note – If you are near the sea, in an old outbuilding, or otherwise susceptible to weather and Acts of God, I recommend chests/cabinets that can close, as it will be easier to protect your hand tools. These will also serve as places to hide your latest acquisition from the Eye of SWMBO. I promise you – this will be critical as you slide down the slope with us.

3. Good Natural & Artificial lighting – Raking light, from an open bay or strategically placed lamp does wonders for checking out a surface, using winding sticks, checking square etc. I have two french doors to the right of my Bench, this has been helpful – as long as I plan my eyeballing to happen during the morning sun. I blame most of my handtool errors on overcast days. And single barrel Bourbon.

4. Huge Assembly area/table – since your bench is really a tool, you dont want to be using it for assembly.

5. A big damn lock – I am learning that children are drawn to shiny hand tools and bladed objects just like men are (no comments, ladies). Plan accordingly.

Congrats on the exit from Army Housing,


-- Chris @ Atlanta - JGM - Occam's razor tells us that when you hear hoofs, think horses not zebras.

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Don W

17872 posts in 1986 days

#2 posted 05-20-2012 07:10 PM

I think I have my shop pretty close. Sure it could be bigger, but there are problems with that as well.

and here is my thoughts on bench planes.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View ITnerd's profile


262 posts in 2018 days

#3 posted 05-20-2012 07:27 PM

Sweet Mercy, Don – just looked at your shop pics; I will be PM’ing you adoption papers shortly. I’ve been a fan of your website, and wish I had found your planes for sale section before getting most of my bench planes.

Regarding your shop – in no particular order:

1. Like the ‘Hammer Doors’ & plane cabinet.
2. Covet the 3-station Grinding center/Bomb Shelter. I would crawl under that thing if China gets uppity.
3. I think my whole shop has the footprint of your circular saw and outfeed tables.
4. The transition planes and smoothers shelf (up high) are deserving of thier own post :)
5. The kickass benches/stools.

Thanks for sharing,

-- Chris @ Atlanta - JGM - Occam's razor tells us that when you hear hoofs, think horses not zebras.

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