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A Tour of Tom Clark's Shop

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I retired in 1997 and the following year moved out to the country where our astronomy club had been meeting for 15 years. The two main goals were first to get the shop set up, and second to build an observatory. Everyone around here has a minimum lot size of five acres, so finally there was no shortage of space. My shop size is 40 x 60'. Finally there was room to spread out the way I always wanted to…

By the way, the steel building building probably cost about the same as a two or three car garage would have cost if built in the city. Next time you take a drive into suburbia, notice just how many guys have a similar building in their back yard. They have become very popular.

not every home shop includes an observatory

The shop and home-made observatory are shown in this view.


looking west inside

Looking west this view shows most of the shop, along with many of the more than two dozen shop cabinets I have built over the years.


assembly area

There is a large assembly area in front of my main workbench. The table saw on just on the right, and the bandsaw on the left. Behind the bench are all the smaller tools.


as if telescopes and woodworking weren't enough…

This smaller area is set up for building radio-control airplanes, another hobby that I have been doing for nearly 40 years.


handy utility shelves

Notice the handy shelves over the bench. They keep everything right at your fingertips.


home-made shop air filter

Beside the bench is a 20 year old home-made shop air filter.


router table

This flip-top router table I built has been one of my favorite machines for nearly 20 years also.


table saw, planer, and shaper…and…jointer

Clustered around the dust collector are the table saw, planer, and shaper. The jointer is out of site behind the workbench, near the planer.


lumber and sheet goods

This compact wood area holds sheet goods as well as lumber.


doesn't every woodshop have a milling machine?

Being a retired machinist, I have a milling machine and lathe in one corner. They are used a lot in my telescope making hobby.


small machines

The small machines all sit on 8' long machine stands that double as storage cabinets. All small machine stands have been tossed as they waste too much space. I always say that no matter how much space you have—you can't afford to waste a square inch of it.


storage drawers

This 18 drawer workbench has more storage room than most whole shops have. Drawers hold carving tools, planes, hand tools, as well as stains and paints, and power tools that are not constantly in use.


one of my first woodworking projects

These drawer units were some of my first woodworking projects. The three cabinets on the left were all built using just a bandsaw, as I did not yet have a table saw in the shop. Where there is a will there is a way…


some home-made telescope

These are folded up examples of home-made telescopes.


a “small” 36" telescope

I built this 36" telescope in 1993. It shows how large some amateur instruments can be. The one in the observatory is an even larger 42" model.


not the “cover of the ‘Rolling Stone’”…

…but close enough

If you have the feeling that you have seen my shop before, you may have seen some photos of it in this Wood Magazine publication. The year before they ran all smaller shops, so I wrote and complained that not all woodworkers had small shops. I was surprised when they chose to feature my shop. I have many friends who have far fancier shops.


I was lucky and able to build my dream shop 10 years ago, and I only wish that someday you are able to have yours too. Good luck!

Posted 12 May 2008

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