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WoodShop in a ShoeBox
Creations in Wood by Gary Oxner, Proprietor
Shop in a half garage? Yes, it can be done. No, I don't build entertainment centers. Yes, I've been profitable. And yes, I can move into the other half of the garage as needed, i.e., assembly, finishing of larger pieces, etc.
Normally, my choice of things to make can be handled in the smaller work space, to wit: wall shelves, cabinets, a chessboard, and unfortunately, a coffin for the recently deceased family dog, Gretchen. Looking ahead toward some fancy boxes, cutting crown molding for the house, and gosh knows what after that.
Future plans? I have just about everything I need -- but still think about a really neat dovetail jig. The $$ kind. Problem is: Where would I put it? :-)
So, if things like this interest you, get comfy, wrap your hand about your favorite beverage and let's visit!
View looking in from driveway. That protruding offset on the right is there to allow room for spouse to open her car door on the other side. The arc of the opening car door is matched by the angle of that wall. It works!
This view is just a little closer than the first one. The deal on this house was: Spouse gets to park her car in the garage -- after years of not being able to do so because I ruled the garage at the last house with a large shop.
This is the original dust collection system. While a dedicated 4" line serves the table saw (The rest of the system blocked), I still get significant dust in the shop when cutting MDF. This view details the dust collection system. Plans are to wrap the duct at the back wall to get to the stationary belt sander, band saw and drill press.
You can see the last added run to the newer, more powerful DC,, an 1150 cfm DC from PSI shown in the first picture. Other photos here still show the older Shopsmith DC that I used for 15 years. It was 350cfm -- muchos difference!
This is where most of my hand tools are stored. Note: Most tools are hung on a 1/4" dowel - glued in to a hole in the wall drilled by a forstner bit. Some variations of this tool storing theme occur, i.e., cordless drill, nailer and the magnetic strip. (Get a strong one -- weak ones will drive you nuts!)
This view shows the automotive tool area. There are also some jack stands and a really nice mobile floor jack on the side where the car is parked. An air compressor runs the air ratchet -- as well as the pneumatic brad nailer -- not to mention keeping what you see here somewhat dust-free!
This would be the "Shop Phone".
As you can see, this is where the DC resides. The counter top is home to a small 1" belt sander and dedicated mortising machine. That flat box on the left contains my "good" chisels. My DeWalt plunge router is up above.
This shot shows off some "beginner" cabinetry - home to many shop incidentals. Doors cover powered hand tools, sanders, other routers, drills, etc.
This is the other half of the cabinet setup. That RIDGID name plate is on a special sanding machine - -one that works pretty well on curved surfaces and sanding "to a line" straight or flat surfaces. Table saw blades are stored on the right side -- where the little black knobs can be seen.
Between the two sets of cabinets is the miter saw. This is a Bosch -- and I can't begin to say enough nice things about it. A great miter saw! The air compressor is under the miter saw -- along with a shop vac by Fein.
Of course, no shop can function without clamps and this one is no exception. A few are seen here. I have them scattered all over the place -- but most are limited to two locations.
Here is the band saw - a 14" model by Grizzly. Note the recent addition of a re-saw fence and a 3/4" blade. Time to make little boards out of big boards. The saw is on a mobile base and can easily be wheeled about for cutting large stock. I've never been able to function with out a drill press. Even in my earlier ShopSmith days, I was always in need of one. As you can see, this one is from Grizzly. Both tools work fine for my needs. A mobile base in in the future for this tool as well.
This is a return to the front part of the shop -- this is my "bit tray - a cantilevered shelf home to many forstner bits, brad point bits, and many router bits - not all of which are visible here.
Keeping my lungs clean of air-borne wood dust is the job of this device. Combined with the DC they both do a nice job in this small shop.
The obligatory TV. I like to have The New Yankee Workshop on along with This Old House. Then there is always CNN Headline News to keep me informed during some longer stays in the shop environment.
The fan? You bet! It gets hot in Texas -- even though I siphoned off some cool air from the house AC system. As it is, 80 to 85 is the norm during hot summers. While not shown here, the garage door has been insulated with 1.5" thick foam board.
The scrollsaw is by Excalibur and saw some really heavy service during the days of the craft business. We did well -- thanks to that saw! Doesn't get much use anymore though. And the lumber storage area is here, too. There's some hard maple, pine, cedar, red oak and a little mahogany in there! Along with some MDF scraps I hope to use someday for additional jig building.
We are now at the far rear of the WoodShop-in-a-ShoeBox! This is an "about face" and looking at the garage door. The DeWalt saw is simply grand! It passed the "nickel test" right out of the box! Behind it is a DeWalt thickness planer.
Here is the shop door. It opens into the other half of the garage, where the spouse parks her car. From there I can find my way into the house. The "white board" is a gift from my son, Steven. I not only like it -- but I use it a lot. No more lost scraps of paper with measurements, and math calculations to get from point "A" to "B" in a project needing multiple cuts, angles, whatever.
And yes, I do use my whiteboard a lot. Before this, I had notes on everything all over the shop!
I just realized I did not make any mention of my rather substantial router table. I run a 3hp Ryobi in it -- and it has held up well for nearly 15 years now. I've ran, what seems to be, miles of stock through it -- and it holds its own to this day. The router table surface also serves as my "work bench". I learned long ago, that "work benches" are nothing more than junk yards after awhile -- especially those kind up against a wall. I need to have 360 degree access to whatever it is I am building -- so I made my router table top big enough to accommodate that need.
Conservatively speaking, I have created well over $10,000 worth of craft show inventory on that surface! Some were as high as 6' bookcases in ash, a pie safe w/bronze screen, several Shaker style pieces and many tables. I couldn't begin to count all the "widgets!" So, as "workbenches" go -- my big router table works fine!
So, there you have it. One half of a "smallish" two car garage - turned into a woodshop with all the basic tools. There is no jointer -- but the fact is, I have access to one when I need it. Not as good as having one at hand -- but not so bad either. I have a 30 amp sub-panel fueling #10 wire to supply the juice to keep things running. I also have a pull-down ladder for access to the overhead garage attic. That also, is a handy feature.
Posted 6 June 2004
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