Mike's Woodworking Shop

Here are a few pictures of my VERY small shop.  After I retired, I started doing projects around the house but didn't yet have a shop.  I set up my tools and supplies on the back patio and went to work.  This didn't go over well with Norma, who insisted that I clean up "that trash".  This led me to building my shop.

 I was able to get about 60% of one bay of a three car garage.  I built walls because a shop creates a lot of dust and we wanted to keep dust off the cars.  I put a 50 amp breaker in my main electrical box and installed a sub box at the shop with maybe a dozen circuits.  I ran both 220 and 110 circuits in the shop - lots of 110 outlets - and put GFI on all the 110 circuits, including the lights.  Next, I had to build some cabinetry for storage and to have some workspace.  This is a picture of my first cabinet work.  I built it out of melamine and birch plywood.  I selected birch plywood with heartwood because I find regular birch boring.  The miter saw is mounted on a rolling cabinet so that I can take it out of the shop for cutting long molding.

Here's a picture of the miter saw cabinet pulled out of its space.  I built the cabinet with a pivoting top so that I could convert it to counter space, as shown in the next picture.

Here's the miter cabinet with the top rotated so that I have more flat counter space.  Since this picture was taken, I've also built overhead cabinets for additional storage but haven't built any doors for them yet.  I want to make raised panel doors but don't own a raised panel router bit set.  What I may do is buy a rail and stile router bit and then raise the panels on the table saw.  This limits the type of raised panel but I don't expect to do any more raised panel work - I don't want to spend big bucks for a raised panel bit that'll only be used one time.

About the time I was putting my shop together, a friend gave me an old 10" Craftsman contractor's saw. The motor was dead but I was able to find a low cost 1 HP motor on EBay to get the saw running.  Once I got the saw running I found that it had a lot of vibration, but the addition of machined pulleys and a link belt quieted it down.  Now, even with a blade installed, you can stand a nickel on edge on the top of the saw and it won't fall over (that's pretty good).  I then sold my portable, fold up, table saw that I had been using.  Bet you never thought that a Craftsman contractor's saw could be an upgrade, huh?  I used the saw with the 1HP motor for about a year but  recently found a 2HP TEFC motor on EBay and upgraded the saw.  I figure with that, I will be able to cut essentially any wood that I'm likely to use in my projects.  There's one small problem with the 2HP motor, however.  Because of its size, I can't tilt the arbor a full 45 degrees - the motor hits the outfeed table.  So when I want to cut at 45 degrees, I have to put the 1 HP motor back on.  That's the problem with "upgrading" old equipment.

As I alluded to earlier, I also added a folding outfeed table to the saw (shown closed and open) and built a router table as one wing of the saw.  Note the dust chute built into the bottom of the saw.  Note also, that my shop is not one of those pristine dust-free and chip-free shops that are shown in Fine Woodworking.

Here's the router table.  The router is a Porter Cable 890, which I have found to be really great.  It's powerful enough at 2 1/4 HP and it can be adjusted from the top of the table.  People complain that multi-function machines like my table saw/router table combination require a lot of set-up and tear-down to do different operations but I simply do not have room for separate machines.

The tools I have in my shop are:

1.  Craftsman 10" table saw with outfeed table.

2.  Porter Cable 890 router built into a router table attached to the saw.

3.  Hitachi miter saw built into the work bench in a roll-around cabinet.

4.  Jet 12" lathe.

5.  Jet 14" bandsaw with riser block.

6.  Craftsman variable speed drill press.

7.  Air compressor.  While not a tool in itself, it's invaluable for blowing off work and for driving air tools such as an air nailer, air stapler, and spray gun.

I have a bunch of power hand tools and manual hand tools, including portable drill, biscuit joiner, circular saw, power planer, jig saw and a few other tools I can't remember.  Manual tools include a selection of hand planes, chisels, and carving tools, plus some tools for working with veneer.

If I had complete freedom, the first thing I'd ask for is a larger shop, then some additional power tools including a jointer, planer, oscillating spindle sander, sanding disk, and perhaps a few other tools, including a woodworkers bench.  But I'd rather light a candle than curse the darkness.  I find that I can do quite a lot, even with the limitations I have.

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