Rube Goldberg Workshop

  • Advertise with us

« back to Focus on the Workspace forum

Forum topic by Beeguy posted 11-03-2014 03:56 PM 1301 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Beeguy's profile


179 posts in 3604 days

11-03-2014 03:56 PM

Workshops vary from the top of the line TV show worthy to the space under the staircase. We all would like bigger/better shops but we work in what we have. Some folks are lucky enough to have a dedicated woodshop with all the space devoted to the hobby. For me I have a workshop that specializes in woodworking but has to handle all the duties from mechanical to plumbing. If Rube Goldberg was still alive I am sure he would be impressed. My goal was never to build a shop, rather it was to have a shop to build things in.

I would like to start this thread by listing things that make working in the shop a better experience. Tools, ideas and repurposed items, etc. that we can use. Sure you can design an make a project out of adding lights to the shop or you can use a shop light with an extension cord that has a built in switch when you need the extra light. Below are a few things I have found to be great additions that make it more fun to be in the shop. Some folks are happy designing and redesigning their shops and that becomes their major project. That’s great because it makes them happy and that is why we are there in the first place. But for me function will always win out over form and aesthetics.

Here are some of my favorites:

- Used furniture, cupboards and kitchen cabinets. Great for storage. Old desks make great tool stands and sit down work areas.

- Air conditioner. I don’t enjoy working in a 90 degree room and if you put a furnace filter in front of the intake it helps remove dust.

- Air compressor. Not the first tool you think of for woodworking but I have found this to be one of the most used tools in the shop.

- Small shop vac tucked under the workbench for quick clean ups or to be attached to a sander or biscuit joiner. On/off controlled by a switch on the bench.

- Work bench set up as outfeed for table saw. Sometimes this is a problem but it forces me to keep a lot of clutter off the bench.

- Small stool for working on low areas. Not everything can be put up on the bench.

- Box fan with a furnace filter is a portable air cleaner.

- Shop lights – cheap enough to have everywhere.

Although my shop is a mix match of many things, it works for me. Some would be envious and others would cringe if they had a look at it. But I am pretty sure Mr. Goldberg would be pleased.

So what are some of the tricks or items you use to make your shop more enjoyable?

-- Ron, Kutztown, PA "The reward is in the journey."

8 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3544 days

#1 posted 11-03-2014 04:06 PM

Lots of good points Ron,the bottom line is that it works for you.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View jmartel's profile


7808 posts in 2117 days

#2 posted 11-03-2014 04:12 PM

Those are all good ideas, but what does that have to do with Rube Goldberg?

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4954 posts in 2461 days

#3 posted 11-03-2014 05:12 PM

Because I found both of the benches (actually, one bench and one assembly table) to be too tall for a lot of stuff, rather than build a pair of short saw horses I built a pair of enclosed boxes, 22” x18” x 6”. This can be used to hold almost anything up, and I have 3 heights to choose from when I’m using them. They do need hand hold holes in them on a couple of sides, but otherwise it couldn’t be simpler to build (3/4” birch plywood) and fill a big void in my shop.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View MrRon's profile


4719 posts in 3211 days

#4 posted 11-03-2014 07:46 PM

Whatever works for you. I subscribe to the functional aspect of a shop over aesthetics or appearance. Some make benches that would be better in the living room than the shop; not me! Save the good wood for projects. All my benches are made from 2x common construction grade lumber.

View CharlesA's profile


3312 posts in 1765 days

#5 posted 11-03-2014 08:02 PM

Shop vac under workbench is genius!

For me, one of the best things I did was to remove some shelving, put OSB on most of one wall, and then use screws (nails if necessary) and magnet bars to put almost all my measuring tools, hand tools, and jigs on the wall so they each have a place, I can see them, and I have an easy way to put them away. it has transformed by workbench and my efficiency. I like it.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View muleskinner's profile


896 posts in 2404 days

#6 posted 11-03-2014 10:31 PM

When working on a project I used to throw my cut-offs over in a corner out of the way. When I was finished I’d go back and stick them all up for later use. Now I keep a RubberMaid tub by the table saw, the miter saw, and the work bench. When one gets full I pack it into the house and set it by the woodstove for later use.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View CharlesA's profile


3312 posts in 1765 days

#7 posted 11-03-2014 10:37 PM

I have a two part cut-off system. Pieces that look like they will some kind of future use, they go in a cut-off area that is pretty convenient. The pieces that are smaller, or shaped such that I doubt I’ll use them, go in one of those re-useable grocery bags hanging from a screw on the wall. When it fills up, I drop it over the fence in my neighbors yard (in a yard waste bag). He uses it for the wood stove in his hunting cabin.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View muleskinner's profile


896 posts in 2404 days

#8 posted 11-04-2014 01:59 AM

I feel what the OP is describing is more a shop that Rube Goldberg machines could be built in rather than a shop that Rube would have put together. That probably describes quite a few of our shops, at least it does mine. I only have one shop, and though it is mainly put over to woodworking it also has to facilitate plumbing, electrical work, auto and small engine care and repair, appliance and electronics repair, masonry and any other maintenance that the self reliant homeowner must deal with. (not to mention that bugaboo of all shops—crap the wife can’t bear to throw away)

Now if you really want to talk Rube Goldberg – I determined that even with the shop vac attached, my crappy Craftsman bandsaw was the culprit for more than it’s share of all the fine sawdust that coats every surface (vertical AND horizontal) in my man cave. Sliding it over to an open garage door greatly improved things. The down side is that next to fingernails on a chalkboard, the skittering, chittering, chattering of sliding one of those cheap ass Craftsman sheet metal tool stands across a concrete floor is most annoying. I got the thing for free and couldn’t see spending more than I paid for it on a mobile base. So in the best Rube Goldberg tradition I threw this together out of the cut-off bin.

There’s definitely room for design improvement. e.g. a pair of balloon tires and I wouldn’t have to sweep the floor nearly as often.

-- Visualize whirled peas

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics