Intro: The BALES Workshop
Every so often, I'll get a really nice compliment on my workshop ... the layout, the organization, the overall feel, etc.
Sometimes I even get questions about my workshop ... do I have more information on a shop made jig, a specific tool question, would I recommend a tool, why did I make a certain decision, etc.
I personally enjoy watching shop tour videos. See how different people solve common problems can be very insightful. How can a small space be maximized? How do people layout their shops to be efficient for the work they do? What tool choices have they made and which would they change? What specialized tools or jigs have they made? I really find it quite fascinating.
One question I see often is, what tools do I need to start/what tools should I buy first? I don't think this is a cut and dry answer ... I think it is different for every person and my advice is to ask yourself some questions.
1. What do you want to do and/or what is your goal? Is it metalworking? Is it home renovation? Is it small craft items for fun or to sell?
2. If you have a current project, what tools do you need to make it happen?
As a personal example ... in 2005, I was renting a basement apartment on the cheap in order to save as much money as possible to buy a house. At that time, my tool arsenal was a cordless drill and some very basic tools (hammer, hand saw, screwdrivers, pliers, socket set). After purchasing a house, my desire and goal was home repair/renovation and I would buy the tool(s) necessary for the task at hand. My first purchase was a miter saw ... my second was a table saw, circular saw, and an air compressor/brad nailer/finish nailer combo kit. With those tools, I was able to frame out walls, install crown molding, build floating shelves, and build a custom fireplace mantel.
Over the past decade, I've slowly built up my workshop, which is a process I rarely see explained ... so I've decided to document mine here. Let's take a look back at the different stages of my workshop as it evolved. I'll share what worked and what didn't, let you see my thought process ... maybe some of my ideas will work for you ... maybe they will help someone else get started.
Step 1: The House Utility Bench
The house came with this bench. The drawers were in sad shape, the backing board was thin plywood with random nails, there was a board across the top with random coat hooks, and then some awkwardly cobbled together shelf ... it was horrible. I came very close to smashing it to pieces, but decided to keep it until I had time to build a better one. After using it for awhile, I decided it was very sturdy and belonged to the house ... but the backing board and shelf were still junk.
My first upgrade was to replace the back with a larger panel of pegboard and get what I refer to as my "home repair" tools organized. There was an existing electrical outlet, which I integrated into this back panel. Second, I build new drawers out of plywood so I could store random parts (electrical, plumbing, stuff one rarely needs).
Most recently, the gas valve and meter were moved outside, so I built a storage shelf under the window using left over 2x4s.
This functions as my utility bench for home repairs and keeps all my non-workshop tools organized and in one place.
Next to the bench is a metal storage rack, which holds paint trays, rags, and my tools for cleaning my pellet stove. At the bottom of that rack is a metal cabinet (salvaged from a closing office), which is where I store spray paint, stains, and chemicals ... anything flammable basically.
Step 2: Demolition
In its original 1923 configuration, the section of the basement, which is now my workshop, was a single car garage and some kind of storage area accessible from the other side of the basement. At some point in the house's history; the garage door was removed, a wall was built, and a standard 36" door added. Another point in time was the installation of a forced air heating/cooling system and the duct work was run along the plaster ceiling.
When I took ownership of the house, the walls of this garage area were drywall, covered in plaster, and the bottom half covered in 1/4" plywood. Removing the plywood revealed years of water damage ... most of the vertical 2x4s were so rotten that they weren't even attached to the deteriorated bottom plate. Since the wall wasn't load bearing, I decided to just rip it all out and start over. Once I had the walls out, I decided I might as well tear down the ceiling so I could sink the duct work up between the floor joists.
Demolition always goes fast ... it's the clean up that takes forever. After I picked up my mess, I had at least a hundred nails to pull out of the ceiling ... talk about an arm workout!
Step 3: Building a Rehearsal Space
Being a new home owner and an active/working musician, my initial use for this space was of course a rehearsal area. I'd be able to keep a drum kit and small PA set up for practicing, load gear in to a secure space directly from the driveway after a late gig, stop paying rent for dirty and loud rehearsal rooms, and best yet ... the commute was fantastic.
Instead of getting myself into a large and expensive plumbing relocation job, I decided to frame a wall around the existing infrastructure (drains and water supplies). The furnace, hot water heater, plumbing, and main HVAC truck created a natural line of separation between the two halves of the basement. Using pressure treated lumber and OSB, I basically built a center nook for the washer, dryer, and a slop sink. It's very utilitarian, but it serves its purpose.
With the wall built, I turned my attention to the ceiling. With some minimal reworking of the register boots, I was able to recess the HVAC duct work up into the joist spaces and keep them in place with a few wooden braces. I replaced two old light fixtures with six recessed lights and then insulated the ceiling to help reduce/control sound bleed into the living space. Insulation isn't packed around the light fixtures and I'm running LED bulbs. I wanted to close in the ceiling, but I didn't want to use sheetrock for several reason ... it's heavy, I didn't want to mud/tape/sand, and I wanted to be able to have access in case I decided to run electrical or media cables in the future. My solution was to use 1/2" styrofoam 4' x 8' panels. They were cheap, easy to cut, lightweight, and could be attached with screws and fender washers.
I built a drum riser out of 2x4s and OSB on locking casters (just in case there were any water issues) and gave the walls a fresh coat of gray paint. Framed CDs from my original bands were hung on the wall and my table saw was tucked out of the way next to the furnace.
This is how the space stayed for several years. I'd pull the table saw and miter saw outside onto the driveway whenever I was working on a house project ... that is until the tools slowly started to multiply.
Step 4: Miter Station and Tool Wall
Time passed, bands came and went, rehearsals no longer took place at my house, and I moved my practice kit into my office space on the second floor. Most of the small home projects had been completed and I was becoming addicted to making things. I found myself getting burnt out on the house projects and had a desire to make smaller projects like picture frames, art, games and bandsaw boxes, as well as a bench for the yard ... this of course quickly led to my desire to build my own basement workshop.
The first workshop project was a miter saw station based off plans from Woodsmith Magazine. Up until this point, I'd been using modular metal shelving on casters as a mobile miter saw station. I wanted to upgrade to a dedicated station which had support for long pieces and stop blocks for repeatable cuts. I used the plans to make the top of the station, but instead of their wall mounted stand, I made my own version using 2x4s (my disassembled drum riser) and leftover OSB for the bottom shelf.
My second workshop project was variation of John Heisz's downdraft table. My version is just a shallow box with a vacuum port in the bottom .. then the top made with two Harbor Freight floor mats glued to plywood and rows of holes drilled through. It works surprisingly well and the padded top keeps your work piece from getting beat up while you sand.
The wall that once held all my framed CDs now slowly became a tool storage wall. You can see that version 1.0 was a 2x4 screwed across the top for clamp storage and then nails to hold my minimal amount of tools.
It was also during this time that I made my next bulk tool purchase. Ridgid was having a 20% off sale and I combined that with a 10% moving coupon for Home Depot. I used the opportunity to acquire a drill press, bandsaw, planer, and an oscillating spindle/belt sander.
Step 5: Low Tool and Storage Table
I needed a place to store the OSS and planer (sometimes a small router table) and since the 2x4 construction work well for the miter saw station, I used that same method to make a low table. As before, it was built from re-purposed drum riser lumber. The top is a salvaged desktop from an office cubicle and the lower storage shelf is more OSB left over from building the shop walls.
Since the basement floor isn't consistent, I wanted leveling feet. I decided to make them on the cheap with T-nuts and carriage bolts.
I drilled holes into the bottom of each leg, mixed up some epoxy, and hammered home a 5/16" T-nut. The feet are 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" pressure treated blocks, with a hole drilled through the middle, and a 4" carriage bolt epoxied in place. The head of the carriage bolt is recessed into the block so it doesn't interfere with the block sitting on the floor.
I actually used this idea on the miter saw station as well, but I didn't take any close pictures at that time.
Step 6: Building Walls
More tools and working indoors of course equated to more sawdust. I wanted to keep that dust at least contained to one dedicated space and away from the HVAC system.
The opening at the back of the shop was very straight forward, but of course the floor isn't perfectly square to the concrete wall, nor is it parallel to the ceiling. I attached the top plate to the floor joists, laid bottom plate in place, and then cut each vertical stud to fit.
The front wall followed the same process, but I only had to fill in the bottom half. I had left this open when building the rehearsal space, so that I'd have easy access to the water shut off, but it had also been a great place to tuck my table saw out of the way.
Both walls were built from pressure treated lumber and OSB. I used screws instead of nails and nothing is actually anchored to concrete. I did this so that if I ever sell and the new owners aren't in the market for a workshop, I can remove the walls quickly and easily. Also, I don't like drilling holes into the concrete floor and walls because it creates an easy entrance for water. Since all of the lumber was cut to fit, they all interlock snugly. That in combination with the OSB sheathing made the walls very solid ... they don't move if you push on them and they are not load bearing.
Step 7: Router Table: Router Lift, Table Top, and Overcomplicated Router Lift Track
The next stop project was a custom router table ... a really big router table. The reason I wanted a big router table was for the ability to cut bearing edges on large drums ... I'm talking 32" diameter concert bass drum large. A table that large in a small shop has to be multi-functional in order to be justified (at least in my mind), so it would also serve as my assembly table/workbench and out feed table for the table saw. It was not a small job ... in fact, I wanted to stab myself in the throat by the time I finally finished it.
The Router Lift
I started by building a router lift using John Heisz's plans. John's are clearly detailed, so it was very easy to build. It's constructed from plywood and standard hardware and uses an inclined plan for the lift mechanism. The only part I had to order online was the bearing and they are cheap on Amazon.
For the locking mechanisms (height adjustment for instance), I made handles from 2x4 cut offs. Cut into octagons on the table saw and then tapped using the oscillating belt sander. For the lift mechanism, I made a wheel out of two scraps of 3/4" laminated together, but on the bandsaw, and sanded round at the oscillating belt sander. It's a variation of the wheel in John's plans.
The Table Top
For the top, I decided to use melamine because I figured it would be cheaper and easier than dealing with laminate and contact cement. In hindsight, I wish I had gone with the plywood and laminate because the core of melamine is a form of chip board and the edges of the melamine break and chip off easily. That being said, I used 3/4" melamine and the sheet was 49" wide, so I cut the length to 49" as well. I started by framing out the sides [2 lengths of 49" and two of 46"]. Next, I found the center point and used the lift to determine placement of the interior framing.
To stiffen everything up, I added smaller boards as blocking ... similar to framing a deck I guess. Notice that I actually made "L" shapes for the blocking. This added more surface area on which the top sits, but also creates the ability to attach the top from underneath and not have to use 4" screws. Also, I built this table top upside down and was using clamps to ensure all of the framing was tight to the melamine during assembly. That was the best I could in an attempt to keep all of the 2x4s flush across the top ... and therefore end up with a level tabletop.
The Overcomplicated And Never Used Router Lift Track [Starts with picture #13 in this section]
If the time machine I'm building were finished, I'd go back in time and kick my own ass for this next idea. I decided it would be beneficial if the entire router lift rode in a track so that not only could I have my router plate towards the edge of the table, but then I could slide the lift to the middle of the table when I wanted to cut bearing edges on huge drums. In hindsight, the better idea would be to just put two routers and lifts into the table. The best idea is to just have the plate on the edge and cut the bearing edges of huge drums on the backside of the bit ... the table supports the entire drum and you can actually see what you are doing. But hey ... if I ever want to move the entire lift to the center of the table, I can ... so I guess I'm prepared.
So ... the lift fits perfectly between the two center 2x4s. I placed the lift in it's place, added a strip of 3/4" on each side, and screwed them into the 2x4. This placed them the plywood thickness below the melamine top and keeps the lift captive in this track. On the top side, I added a plywood stop block on each side, which would stop the lift in the middle of the table.
Problem #1: On the underside of the table, I noticed that one of the 2x4s blocked the location of the height adjustment lock ... so I had to cut out a large notch
Problem #2: The threaded rod for raising and lowering the lift was over 3' long ... so it wobbled a lot. Easy enough to make a bracket for that at the edge of the table ... except it has to slide with the lift ... dammit. I ended up over engineering a plywood extension which spanned to the edge of the table and rode in a second track. That alone wasn't enough to take the wobble out of the threaded rod when turning the wheel, so I add a length of EMT. At two points on the threaded rod, I locked a washer with the same ID as the EMT in place with nuts and lock tight. These keep the rod centered inside the EMT and actually do a great job of stabilizing the mechanism.
In the end, the idea works. It's unnecessary and I don't use it, but it was a great exercise for my brain in terms of design and problem solving.
Step 8: Router Table: Framing, Router Plate, Top Edging, and Switch
Framing The Table
The bottom deck was a duplicate of the top without having to worry about the internal spacing for the router lift. For the legs, I used the same construction as on the miter saw station and low table ... 2x4s with DIY leveling feet. This type of "2x4 lamination" construction makes assembly very easy ... especially when working alone. It like a bulkier version of a half-lap joint ... without all the cutting.
The Router Plate Cut Out
In order to cut out the opened for the router plate, I first made a template using hardboard (AKA high density fiberboard). I traced the router plate, drilled holes in each corner, made the straight cuts at the table saw (raising the blade and being careful), and then used the OSS to sand to the line until I had a perfect fit.
To determine the placement, I clamped the melamine to the table, used the router and an 1/4" straight bit, and used the lift to slowly raise the bit up through the tabletop. From the top of the table, I stuck a round over bit into this hole and set the router plate over it ... quick and easy center point finder. Then it was just a matter of using a large speed square from the front edge of the table to one side of the plate in order to have it sitting straight. The hardboard template was slipped around the plate and temporarily adhered to the melamine using double-sided tape.
A hole was drilled at each corner and then the bulk of the material was removed using a jigsaw. Next, a flush trim bit was used to cut the melamine flush with the hardboard template. I ordered leveling corners with the Kreg router plate, which usually just attach to the bottom the router table.
Problem #1: Sliding router lift design biting me in the ass again ... so I needed to recess the leveling corners. I traced the corners and removed the material freehand with a router.
Problem #2: The leveling corners were out of the way, but the leveling screws that went in them were still in the patch of the sliding router lift ... dammit.
Solution: I made my own corner supports out of hardboard using the bandsaw and oscillating belt sander. I attached them with epoxy and three screws each. Then did have to add some cardboard shims before setting them in place in order to make more space for the router place, so that it wasn't proud of the melamine on the top side. I was worried that they would sag or break in time, but they haven't.
As mentioned, the melamine top is secured from underneath with a lot of screws .. I was very mindful to not screw straight up through the top of my table. With the top attached, I wanted to cover up the exposed edges because they were ugly and I wanted to protect the melamine from chipping. I decided to use 3/4" plywood, so I cut strips at 4 1/2". I laid out mounting holes, drilled pilot holes, and then drilled countersinks. To ensure this edging was flush with the melamine top, I clamped lengths of overhanging plywood to the tabletop. Next, I clamped the edging tight against these plywood lengths. Lastly, I would screw the edging into the 2x4.
I didn't want to mess around with trying to miter the corners of the edging, so I used butt joints.
1. Attach the front with material overhanging on each side.
2. But the two sides up to the front and attach them.
3. Flush cut the front overhangs to the sides.
4.Flush cut the side overhangs to the back of the table.
5. Attach the back.
6. Flush cut the back overhangs to the sides.
The Kreg power switch I bought had no option for underside mounting ... and there was no way I was going to mortise out a cavity for it through 3/4" plywood and the backing 2x4. Instead, I made a trim plate/box out of plywood. That trim plate got screwed to the underside of the tabletop and holds the switch.
Step 9: Router Table: Landing Gear, Bottom Skirting, and Storage Drawer
The table is heavy and while I won't be doing it all the time, it will need to be moved (if I get water and have to clean, drop something under the table, if I wanted to rearrange the shop). It would've been nice to have a single lever which dropped all the wheels at the same time, but I didn't have the height clearance to make that happen, so I went with a pretty simple solution. First things first .. I had to change the direction of the internal 2x4 supports on the bottom - it was quick and easy.
For the landing gear, I cut two 48" lengths from a 2x8 and attached a 4" swivel caster at each end. These 2x8 boards get attached on each side of the table to the front and back legs using door hinges (I ended up swapping them out with barn hinges for more attachment points on the 2x8). The only trick is to mount them low enough so that when they are engaged, the wheels are lower than the table legs.
For the levers, I laminated to layers of 3/4" plywood to get a 1 1/2" blank. From that blank I cut two pieces 3 1/2" wide x 20" long. On one end, I rounded over both corners. On the opposite end, I I cut an arch across the width so that it acts as a cam. The handholds were hollowed out using a 1 1/2" forstner bit to drill a series of adjacent holes over a 5" span. Any extra material not removed by the forstner bit, was removed using the OSS. All of the edges were rounded over using the small router table.
To locate the levers, I added blocking under the leges until the landing gear was relatively level. Then I held the lever in it's vertical position about 1" in from the edge of the 2x8. This gave me not only the position of the hole in the lever (center of the width and 6 1/2" up from the bottom), but also the location of the hole in the router table framing. I drilled a 1/2" hole through the level locations. I drilled a 3/4" hole through the table framing ... because I found some 3/4" bushings with a 1/2" ID, which would keep the bolts from warbling out the pine 2x4 over time. The levers were attached with 1/2" hex head bolts, washers, and lock nuts.
When I added sheathing to the bottom deck with OSB, I made it so that the front strip was separate and attached with small hinges. It nicely conceals the landing gear levers
I thought about leaving the bottom open, but I decided to add skirting to make it look cleaner. As with the top, I used 3/4" plywood, but this time it was 12" widths. It was attached using the exact same process as the top edging.
I had space on the left underside of the table, so I decided to add a drawer for storage. It's made from 3/4" plywood and uses simple rabbet joints for the sides fit into the front and back. The bottom is 1/2" plywood and also sits in a rabbet.
The drawer has aluminum 90 degree angle stock attached to each side and slides on a hanging track, which is made from 3/4" plywood. The track is made form three layers of plywood in order to drop it below the table edging. The bottom layer is the same width as the drawer, while the top two layers are xx .. the spacing between the aluminum rails.
The exposed 2x4 legs looked out of place, so I wrapped them with scrap hardboard. All of the sharp edges of the plywood edging/skirting was rounded over with a router where possible and by hand when not possible. All of the screw holes were filled with wood putty and then all of the plywood and OSB was finished with 3 coats of polyurethane.
Step 10: Dust Collection
With all the shop fixtures complete and a tool layout with which I was finally satisfied, it was time to upgrade my dust collection method.
Version 1.0 was just a shop vac connected to whatever tool was in use.
Con: The filter would get clogged and need cleaning rather quickly.
Version 2.0 added a small Dust Deputy cyclone. I didn't want to drill holes in my stop vac, so I made a cart out of scrap 2x4s and OSB.
Con: The cart always seemed to be in the way and disconnecting/reconnecting to the different tools was frustrating.
The corner between the downdraft table and OSS was dead space, so it seemed to be the perfect place for a dust collector. Because I'm thrifty (cheap), I wanted to try using the current setup instead of investing in a larger floor standing unit. I cut a circular opening into a laminated plywood square large enough to hold/suspend the bucket. With the shop vac in the corner, I determined the minimum mounting height and then screwed the plywood to a 2x4 cleat which I had secured to the wall studs with screws. I did end up attaching a chain the front corner and then the wall to help support the weight.
After testing a proof of concept, I constructed the main dust collection run using 2" PVC from the home center. For each tool drop, I used a 2" PVC WYE slip fitting. Since I didn't want to drill into the concrete wall, I suspended this run form the ceiling joists using plastic hanger strap. Adapting the PVC to the blast gates was a bit of a challenge, but I found a solution. A 2 1/2" rubber coupler fits over the port of the blast gate with a little bit of persuasion ... a short section of 2" PVC easily slides into the other side of the rubber coupler and then into the WYE fitting. The connecting between the blast gate and tool was easier ... 2 1/2" flexible hose attached to the blast gate port with a hose clamp and on the other end, a 2" hose end attached with a hose clamp. The 2" hose end connects to the majority of my tools.
Pro: $$. Even with the 2 1/2" rubber couplers and hose clamps, this set up was cheaper than buying "dust collection" fittings online or from Woodcraft.
Pro: Convenience of being able to expand/add on with parts from the home center.
Con: The plastic blast gates are horrible. The grooves the gate slides in fills up with dust making them impossible to close. There is no easy way to clean them ... unless you break them apart. I swapped them all out for the aluminum blast gates. Learn from my mistake and say no to plastic blast gates.
To collect the fine airborne dust, I purchased a Jet air filtration system .. on sale [Model AFS-1000B]. To conserve space, I mounted it to a piece of plywood so I could hang it on it's side from the ceiling ... over the back of the router table/workbench
Step 11: Drain Protection and Additional Storage
One fine day, when a stave shell was being turned on a lathe ... a glue joint failed and sent sections of the shell in different directions. One section made contact with the operators thigh and left a very large and impressive bruise ... It may have also ruined a pair of boxers, but we agreed not to talk about that. Another section hurtled into a PVC drain pipe, which services the first floor bathroom. Of course, since the break was near the floor and obstructed by the lathe, this damage wasn't discovered until the toilet was flushed ... just #1, so dodged a bullet there. I had to spend a few hours carefully breaking up the concrete because I didn't want to destroy any of the pipe in the floor and end up having to replace that as well. I was fortunate that the repair went as smooth as it did (could've been a total shit show ... pun intended). If this happened again, I wouldn't be so lucky, so I decided to box this pipe in and while I was buying lumber, I might as well build a storage wall for table saw sleds.
For the pipe shield, I basically build a three-sided column with pressure treated 2x4s and then sheathed it with OSB. I left an access hatch for the clean out and covered it with a larger piece of OSB. It's just attached with four screws.
Up until this point, my table saw sleds were stored on the wall behind the door, but I was running out of space and I actually wanted to use that space for a lumber rack. The wall was framed in two separate sections using pressure treated 2x4s. The bottom section goes from the floor up to the 2" PVC dust collection pipe while the top section fills in the space between the top of the pipe and the ceiling. One full 4' x 8' sheet of OSB sheaths the front. The wall is screwed into the ceiling joists, the OSB tied the separate sections together so they are solid and none of the weight actually sits on the PVC pipe.
The lumber rack is a variation of Jay Bate's CHEAP Conduit Lumber Rack. It's made from 2x4s and electrical conduit (EMT). Jay's version hangs the 2x4s vertically on edge, but I hung mine horizontally on face. I did this because the space behind the door is only 18" deep and Jays method would make the back 3 1/2" unusable space. The horizontal orientation allows me to maximize the limited depth.
Step 12: Lights and Camera
My first woodworking related Youtube videos were in 2014 and it was when I was trying to establish and grow the Calderwood Percussion Channel. Filming was either handheld or one a lightweight, collapsable tripod, which worked ok when there were two people (one working and one filming), but there were several limitations.
1. When shooting handheld, only one person could be on camera at a time.
2. The tripod had a height limitation and overhead shots were next to impossible. I'd have to climb on a ladder if I wanted to line up shots and focus ... and of course I can't stand perfectly still.
3. The tripod was ALWAY in the way. It was either in the walkway in danger of being knocked over, or it was blocking the tool that needed to be used. It NEVER failed ... ALWAYS blocking to tool to be used.
My solution to resolve all these issues was to mount the camera on the ceiling.
Version 1.0 over complicated rig, which used two separate carriages .. one for the X axis and one for the Y axis. This rig was bulky, heavy, had a tendency to bind when you tired to move the carriages, and with the camera booms, the second axis wasn't really necessary.
Version 2.0 is just a simple track made from 1/2" plywood and employs a sliding dovetail. The main track down the center of the shop is 16-17', there is a second track above the front of the shop, and then two stationary hubs ... one by the lumber rack and one by the table saw sled wall.
Camera Track and Boom System Instructable
The camera mount and booms are made out of 3/4" plywood, standard nuts/bolts/threaded rod from the home center, wooden dowels, and some star knobs. Version 1.0 only had one axis of rotation in the camera mount, but Version 2.0 has two axis of rotation.
The Multi-Axis Camera Mount Instructable
I'm VERY happy with this system/solution. I never worry about my camera getting knocked over and damaged, it was very affordable to make, and I'm able to get shots that I can't do with a standard tripod. Next time I have some scrap 1/2" plywood, I do plan on making a few more stationary hubs for the corners of the workshop.
For lights I have six recessed fixtures with Daylight LED Floodlight bulbs and then eight 8" clamp lights from the home center with Daylight LED A19 bulbs.
My main video camera is a Canon T5i Rebel.
For a secondary camera, I have been using my current and/or older iPhones.
For "action" shots, I use a GoPro Hero 3 Silver
I also recently acquired a Samsung WB1100F from winning Grand Price in the 2015 Instructables Halloween Costume Contest.
For Video editing, I use Final Cut Pro on a 27" iMac with the 3.5 GHz Intel Core i7, upgraded graphics card, and 32GB of RAM.
Step 13: Layout Changes and Current Layout
I think it's true of every workshop that the layout changes constantly ... especially in the beginning. As more tools are added, space has to be made and items are shifted. As one works, they find that they use certain tools more than others or establish an order in regard to the tools they use. Initially, I stored wood pellets near the door, so each winter, my shop space was reduced. After a few years, I rearranged things so they could be stored on the other side of the basement. I tired two different locations for the miter saw station and the bandsaw moved at least four times before finding it's final home.
The placement of the router table was another tough decision. I really wanted it to work in the back corner because of it's size, but that had limitation. In the corner, I only had access to two sides of the table. If I wanted to use it as an out feed table, I had to have the table saw towards the back of the shop, which meant carrying large sheets to the back and having less room to maneuver them. With the table in the middle of the shop, I was able to access 3 sides and the placement of the table saw was towards the front of the shop ... closer to the door with more room for sheet goods. The downside was that this narrowed the center of the shop between the table and the miter saw station. It's not a problem when only one person is in the shop, but it is noticeable when several people are trying to work in the space.
I feel my current set up is about as perfect as I can get it. I do occasionally reorganize a storage wall, but the large tools all have their permanent home. The lumber rack is right by the door and it's a straight shot to the miter saw to cut boards down in length. The table saw flows well into the router tables. With the exception of the drum sander, all of my sanding machines are together in one corner. The drill press has it's own corner with bit storage and the bandsaw is in a place where I can make cuts without obstructions . The key for me is organization. Everything has a specific place and everything gets put back in it's place after being used so that it's there the next time I want to use it. I don't like clutter, so I keep the clean ... my OCD takes care of the organization.
Step 14: My $0.02
Building a workshop takes time ... I've been working on my for close to a decade. Not many of us have the ability to buy or build a fully furnished shop in day one.
I started as a homeowner making small repairs and improvements ... buying a few tools at a time as I needed them and taking advantage of sales. Overall, I don't have high end tools ... I have mid-range tools from the home center and most of them work fine. I'd love to upgrade my table saw to a decked out SawStop cabinet saw, but space is an issue ... and $$ is a much larger issue. I'd also like to upgrade my bandsaw, but the one I have gets the job done and if I didn't have a bandsaw at all ... I'd find a way to get the job done.
Most importantly (for me anyway), have fun. I don't make a living off of woodworking ... in fact I do it as a hobby and only lose money. I like the creative process, the design process, and the troubleshooting aspect as unforeseen problems arise. I make Youtube videos because I enjoy video editing. I think if the day came that I had to do it, it would be a job and I'd lose the passion. I could be wrong, but that's where my head is at currently.
Step 15: The Tour Video
If reading isn't your thing and/or you want to check out my shop tour ... here it is. I tired to keep it fast paced, yet informative.
Second Prize in the
Living Without Closets Contest