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A Tour of John K. Miliunas' Shop

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A little less than 1 years ago, we decided to move to a smaller house, further into the country and somewhere that the taxes were more bearable. What we found (actually my wife found it) was a great shop, which just happened to come with a house! The house needs a fair amount of work, but now I've got a decent shop where I can make the bulk of repairs and enhancements necessary for our home. With my old shop being 20 x 17, with only about 300 ft2 useable, I've more than tripled the size, plus have a finishing room, which is almost as big as my old shop! The guy who owned the place before, did some woodworking himself, though I have found he was more of a hack. Nonetheless, he left me with a good start on a nice shop.

He left a large, albeit, not very level, assembly table, some home made base cabinets made out of chipboard and a floor—closer to resembling a roller coaster than anything even. Still, much bigger than I was used to and great potential for expanding both, my abilities and my tool arsenal! (The following narrative will coincide with the pictures, one paragraph per picture. The pics are named with a description, but also have a number preceding them, which will be in the same order as the narrative below.)

overall view First is a general, overall shot of the shop as you would walk in from the outside door. The shop lights you see were an upgrade. The previous owner had a total of eight incandescent lamp holders. The chipboard base cabinets, as well as the wall cabinets, were also left by him.

stunning ductwork Next shot is from the double-wide door leading in from the garage. As you may be able to tell from the dust collection duct runs, the cyclone lives very close to where those doors are. Fortunately, it sits on the opposite side of the wall!

williams & hussey planer OK, going back from the outside entry door and working around counter-clockwise. This is the Williams & Hussey planer/molder, which I rebuilt about a year ago. It was given to me by a friend of mine, though it was in sad shape. Lots of elbow grease and about $40 in parts and paint and she's good as new!

dj20 The DJ20 is a replacement for the Grizzly 6" I used to have. The 6" was great for the space I was previously in, but the DJ is just a tad bit nicer!

computer station Continuing around, there's the PC station, complete with a flatbed scanner, laser printer, microwave and just out of the picture, a small apartment sized fridge.

laser cms Next is the Delta, Dual-Laser compound miter saw. The lasers, contrary to what some folks may think, are the cat's meow, especially for someone whose eyesight isn't quite what it used to be. Equipped it with a Forrest Chopmaster and I can easily split a pencil mark!

drill press and mortiser Around the corner from the miter saw (the general shop is basically a big L), is just storage for power hand tools, jigs, bits and the such. A bit further down is my new Delta mortiser and then the Craftsman 15" drill press. Yes, the DP is on my list to replace, but it's a ways down the list.

clamps Beyond the drill press, is my bank…errrrrrr…clamps! I started with just a few Bessey's, tried the Jorgy's, bought more Bessey's and decided I liked the Stabil Gross the best. (The Bessey's are a close second!) Also seen is my entertainment center with stereo, DVD, VHS, CD changer and TV. My how-to DVD's and tapes reside here and I even manage to catch a football game or two.

scroll saw To the left of the clamps is a small workbench, the Veritas MK II sharpener (great piece of equipment, by the way!), the Dewalt scroll saw, small compressor for the scroll saw to help clear dust and my small writing desk. Additional hardware and miscellaneous storage on the wall.

drum sander Next up, file cabs, A/C to keep things cool in the Summer and the Delta drum sander. No, this is not a complete Delta shop, but there are indeed a number of their tools I like. OK, I like a lot! Next to the sander, out of the picture, is the doorway to the finishing room (a couple of pictures later).

ridgid os/belt sander The Ridgid OS/belt sander and the Jet belt/disc sander are next. The Ridgid is not the best, but definitely a great value and has served me well.

lathe After the sanders come the Yorkcraft lathe, the lathe tool grinding station, and one of my favorite workshop additions, the EZ Smart Table. The lathe is the one I cut my teeth on and have made a lot of neat stuff, including hundreds of pens. It's not really meant for larger pieces, so I made an addition there, as well (pictures are coming!).

The EZ system has to be about the greatest tool around. Although extremely portable, it spends most of its life set up right where you see it. Quite handy for stacking stock while working it, staining or even using it for its main purpose. I mostly use it for squaring up edges on rough stock boards before going to the jointer and planer.

assembly table Here's that large assembly table I referenced earlier on. I added some structural support to it, as well as filled in some open shelf area with drawers, primarily used for neander-type tool storage.

bench Opposite the big assembly table is the real woodworking bench in the shop. I purchased the top on a good sale price and built the base for it. Mainly comprised of thick stock hard maple, with full tenons, floating tenons and some shop-made pass-through bolts to keep the main assembly together, but still allow to re-tighten for seasonal changes.

router table Diagonal to the workbench is the router table. Nothing fancy or special, primarily using reclaimed/scrap pieces to assemble it and the home-made fence. The insert is the PlungeLift from Woodpeck and a Hitachi M12V handles the power side of things.

laguna and vega Almost done! We're back to where we came in. The venerable Laguna 16HD stands at attention, while the Vega 2400 bowl lathe has been silent for a while (too busy with house repair projects!). The 16HD is only a year old at this time and has already served me very well indeed. Another one of those, "Gee, what did I do before I got it?!" type of tool! The Vega is one heavy, heavy beast with concrete-filled bulkhead and legs. A digital VSR w/reverse tends to the speed.

bridgewood table saw The anchor of the shop is the Bridgewood, BW10LTS. Three horses under the hood, heavy duty trunion assembly, 50" capacity right of blade, Excalibur overhead guard, Biesemeyer splitter and a Forrest WW II rounds it out. The fence is another Biesey clone, which does a great job with negligible flex and stays accurate.

finishing room A shot of the not yet finished finishing room! I plan to move out the rest of the wood stock in the corner and am trying to figure out what I'm going to do for decent exhaust control. I intend to primarily use water borne finishes, so it's not going to be anything fancy.

vacuum press Opposite end of the finishing room, with an area setup for the vacuum press, as well as some misc. storage underneath.

woodsucker cyclone And, the one you've all been waiting for (the last one!) is outside the double doors leading to the garage. The 2HP Woodsucker takes care of the majority of sawdust and chip control. I used some 8" insulated flex duct to take off of the filtered exhaust air and route it back into the shop. The insulation helps muffle the noise and I recoup my conditioned air. Very pleased with the unit, but quite happy I was able to keep the noise outside the shop proper area!

So, there you have it! I appreciate you sticking with me to the end and, for those who skipped all the stuff in between, thanks anyway for stopping by!


John K. Miliunas

Posted 8 February 2005

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