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A Tour of Darren Stevens' Shop

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I built this shop in 2004. It's 21x28 and features wall receptacles every four feet and floor receptacles in three locations. I added dust collection in 2005 for the router table, jointer, and planer. The fluorescent lights work well, but I've learned the importance of turning them off in order to use natural light when sanding and finishing.

shop This is a shot of my Grizzly tablesaw with the workbench, jointer, and drill press in the background. I added the Micro-Jig splitter and oversized stop switch on the saw for safety. I always keep push sticks near the rip fence. The workbench serves as a dedicated outfeed table for the saw.


shop This is my planer station. It is indispensable to me. In 2005 I saw an article in Fine Woodworking about a planer sled  that makes it easy to flatten and straighten boards too long or wide for a jointer. It was used with a roller stand on the infeed and outfeed sides, which required someone to catch it when it passed through the planer.

I modified the design to make my sled lighter. I designed the platform so I could plane boards up to 7' long without having to catch  the sled on the outfeed side. All it takes to flatten a board is some yellow chalk, a square, my Veritas straightedge, and this setup. I have mounted my panel cutter and T-square on the wall above.

shop I recently built this cabinet to store my woodworking books and hand planes. I also house the DVD player and DVDs here.

shop This view shows the miter saw workstation, radial arm saw, and lathe.

I built the miter saw workbench frame out of 2x4 lumber. The top consists of two layers of MDF covered with tempered hardboard. I attached the miter saw to a floating adjustable platform that allows me to easily level it with the workbench. I used a specialty router bit to rout a groove in the bench top that accepts a stop for the miter saw and radial arm saw. This design keeps the bench top clear so I can use it for stacking lumber, sanding, etc. In order to save floor space, I mounted the lathe on a 2x8 and attached this unit to the wall. When I need to use the lathe, I remove it and place it on the workbench.

shop This is a close up of my workbench. This bench, equipped with my tail vise, is as important as any tool in my shop. It took me one weekend and $175 to build.

shop I added a Bench Dog router table in 2004. I built the cabinet to assist with dust collection and to provide a place to mount the router speed control. I ran a four-inch hose for the router table fence and a collection port below for the Shop Vac hookup. I also attached the remote for the dust collector underneath the table. I adjust the router bit height by way of a drop down door.

shop The area below the bench stores tools I routinely use—the circular saw, biscuit joiner, nail guns, and sander. My lumber storage is along the back wall.

shop A closer view of the jointer and drill press.

shop I bought this 14" Rikon bandsaw online two years ago for $425, including shipping! I store all my clamps in this area because it makes good use of space. My dust collection system passes through the wall and into the room that houses my Grizzly dust collector. After a lot of research, I purchased standard 4" air conditioning ductwork from a local supplier and blast gates and connectors from Penn State Industries. It works great.

shop This view shows the built-in storage in the wall of the room that houses my dust collector. Next to the window hangs my board straightening jig, my plate glass and sandpaper for sharpening, and my jig for cutting sandpaper to fit my sanding block. I can still slide 4x8 sheets of plywood in and out of the bin with no problem.

shop Every good idea, whether it is a jig, workbench, etc., I got from woodworking magazines and the Internet. I hope that one day every piece of furniture in my home will have been made in my shop. I wouldn't have this shop if not for my wife Ronda. She's a wonderful woman.


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I have made several changes to my shop since ShopTours last visited. I spent December 2006–March 2007 making improvements. I revamped my tablesaw. I removed the router table and installed shorter rails for the fence. I also totally disassembled, cleaned, and painted the saw. The saw is now easier to move around.


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I had accumulated quite a bit of extra material from various projects the last three years. I used it to build a wall-hanging tool cabinet and new workbench. I bought and read The Toolbox Book by Jim Tolpin. His book has a wealth of photos and research that provided me with numerous storage ideas.


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I removed the old lumber rack and plywood storage bin. The new lumber rack uses 2x4 and dowels. It is strong and adjustable. I replaced the bin with a partition/wall built with 2x8s. I slide plywood behind the partition.


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My new workbench is based on design ideas I gleaned from several sources. The drawer design and color came from Norm's chef table. Most of the other ideas came from two books: The Workbench Book by Scott Landis and The Workbench by Lon Schleining.


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The top is a combination of practicality and opportunity. I needed a top that would take the abuse serving as an outfeed table for the tablesaw. Based on the way I work, I also knew I would need to replace the top periodically. The opportunity aspect came in the form of a solid-core door reduced drastically in price. I simply attached a piece of oak veneer plywood to the door, banded it with oak, and drilled dog holes. I used a slot-cutting bit to rout a slot that lines up with the dog holes.

I use hold-downs that ride in the slots in combination with the dogs to hold boards in place. This allows me to mount my vise in the face position. My goal is to add a sliding board jack so I can joint boards by hand. I drilled a hole between the dogs to accept a traditional holdfast. I added a crosscut stop similar to one I saw on Frank Klausz's bench. The base is made from a variety of materials: maple, poplar, pine, cypress, plywood, and MDF. The drawer runners are maple. I can access the drawers from either side, a valuable feature when I roll the tablesaw out of the way.

Posted 28 March 2008

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