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Thread: Tour of Frank Pellow's Shop -Dec 2006

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

    Tour of Frank Pellow's Shop -Dec 2006

    (part 1 of 6)


    My workshop (called Shed 2) was the first major project after my retirement in early 2003 and I am relying upon it to serve as the home base for most my projects for at least the next twenty five years. I designed and built the shop almost entirely by myself, and it was very satisfying project. I only hope that some of my future projects will be as rewording.

    The shop fits well into my city suburban lot, leaving room for a good sized vegetable/herb garden, decks, patios, flowers, shrubs, and even some grass. The building blends into the neighborhood, and I liked the roof and colour scheme so much that, in the autumn of 2005, I re-shingled and re-painted the house to match the shingles and paint on the shop.

    One constraint was that the wall close to our neighbour’s house had to be low and could have no windows. The restriction was turned into a feature by having a large roof overhand protecting storage racks on the 40 foot wall (33 foot workshop and 7 foot adjacent garden storage shed).

    The interior space of the shop is 431 square feet which sounds like a lot to non-woodworking folks, but when you have to fit a lot of benches, machines, supplies, and tools into that space, it fills up quickly. The main way to combat this is to make almost everything in the shop mobile. The building’s outline makes the best possible use of the limited space and, furthermore it fits our odd-shaped lot well. The shape of the shop is what I call a “squat T” having a squarish middle section with wings protruding to either side at the top.

    The middle area is approximately 16 feet by 16 feet with a cathedral ceiling that peeks at 10 feet. This section, coupled with the double doors at the front, provides sufficient space for the manipulation and processing of sheet goods and lumber.

    The “relaxation” alcove contains, a wood stove, some easy chairs, a chalk board, and a drafting table. It feels quite different than the rest of the shop and is a great place to relax. My grandchildren and I particularly like reading stories here in front of a roaring fire.

    The remaining wing contains benches, parts storage bins/drawers, and hand tool storage.

    The shop was designed so that two people can work together on projects. Mobility and distinct work areas are the keys to this. I want my shop to be a place where friends and relatives feel welcome and I very much enjoy working with others. As a child, I was always welcome in the workshops of my Dad, my Granddad, two of my Uncles, and one of my Aunts. Together, they instilled a love of woodworking in me that I, in turn, passed on to my two daughters, and now am starting to pass on to my grandchildren. From some of the photos of the shop interior, you can see that little children have already been contributing art to the walls. Several joint projects with friends, children, and grandchildren are in the planning stage and three are currently underway.

    I have had a workshop or access to someone else’s workshop forever. The first one I could call my own was a distributed shop occupying the closet, storage locker, and balcony in the apartment we rented after Margaret and I were married in 1966. Since then, we have moved many times and lived in three different countries. Each of our homes has always had some sort of shop. All these shops had good aspects and bad, but the worst thing was always inadequate tools and lack of good organization. The later meant that, even when I had the right tool or part, I often could not find it. Finally, I have the shop of my dreams, with all the tools that I need (well there is always something new that I want but that is not the same as “need”) and, even better than that, everything has a home and I know where everything is!

    So, with a good layout, good tools, good organization, and good friends and relatives to share it, my woodworking shop is perfect for me. May I continue to have the good health to enjoy the shop for many years to come!

    Site Plan:

    Below is the site plan of our lot as it appears in the building permit for my shop. I subsequently got permission to expand the shop with a wing to the north-west (the top left in the diagram), but the shop building remains in the spot that it occupies in the original diagram.

    Attachment 2065


    Here are some pictures of the exterior from different perspectives:

    From the back yard gate:

    Attachment 2070

    From the East:

    Attachment 2071

    From the north-east:

    Attachment 2072

    From the north-west looking over our neighbour's fences:

    Attachment 2073

    And here are the ramps that fit over the steps to move large stuff in and out of the shop:

    Attachment 2074

    The funky art on the inside of the double doors (and throughout the shop) is courtesy of my granddaughter Isla who was 4 when she decorated the place.

    Shop Name:
    Its name is Shed 2. I carved this sign that hangs over the single door:

    Attachment 2075

    That begs the question: Where is Shed 1? Shed 1 (also called The Shed) :

    Attachment 2068

    is located at Pellow’s Camp about 1000 kilometres north west of Shed 2. Shed 1 is a combined workshop, bunkie, and storehouse that I built about 15 years ago. Here are a couple of photos:

    Attachment 2069 Attachment 2067
    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 12-14-2006 at 03:53 AM.
    Cheers, Frank

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
    (part 2 of 6)

    Shop Layout Plan:

    Attachment 2078

    Shop Electrical Plan:

    Attachment 2077

    Interior Tour:

    Before starting the actual tour, here is a collage showing most of the machinery in the shop:

    Attachment 2076

    They are (starting at the top left and proceeding clockwise) ACM Star 400 bandsaw, Excalibur EX30 scroll saw, Delta X5 DJ20 8" jointer, General 650 table saw, Delta X5 15" planer, Delta X5 16.5" variable speed drill press, me.

    Now the tour starts by entering the main door:

    Attachment 2079

    This door is about four metres away from the back door of the house and the house, deck, and shop are all at the same level. There is no running water in the shop, but both a loo and a laundry room sink are located just inside the house.

    Along with each interior picture there is a map with a red dot demarking where the photo was taken and red lines showing the area covered.

    Inside the main door looking straight ahead:

    Attachment 2080 Attachment 2081

    I built these benches many many years ago out of spruce and plywood, one of them (the closest one) moved to Seattle and back. They (and their sibling in the basement) are still serving me well. I am forever making modifications to the benches such as adding drawers and drilling ¾ inch holes for hold downs. They take it all in stride. Behind the back bench is the start of a 24 foot by 2 foot run of pegboard. I was not a big fan of pegboard and was not planning to put much into the shop, and then part way through the construction, I discovered Talon hooks that can be installed and removed quickly but which stay in place when in use. My plans changed quickly. Here is a photo showing a 16 foot long section of the pegboard:

    Attachment 2082

    Inside the main door looking back into the hardware storage corner:

    Attachment 2083 Attachment 2084

    Colourful isn’t it!

    There are about 50 removable plastic bins that hook to plastic supports screwed into the wall. That’s not enough to handle the variety of screws, bolts, nails etc. that I use, so there are about another 50 bins waiting to be mounted.

    The unit with 15 wooden drawers just below the plastic bins is the sole item that I inherited from my Dad’s hardware store. My Dad made all these drawers and there were at least 300 of them of this size in the store plus maybe another 200 of larger sizes. I can remember serving customers out of them when I was about 10 years old. All 500 drawers were orange then.

    The red drawers at the bottom and on the right side of the work bench are the ubiquitous Veritas metal tool trays made and sold by Lee Valley.

    The window is decorated for the season with lights purchased from Rockler.
    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 12-14-2006 at 03:54 AM.
    Cheers, Frank

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
    (part 3 of 6)

    The Southern Wing:

    Attachment 2085 Attachment 2086

    One thing to note here, are the two 20 amp cords hanging down from the ceiling, one 240 volt and one 120 volt. Four more such receptacles dangle in other parts of the shop and installing these was one of best things I did when building the ship; because of these, there are seldom cords running along the floor, getting in the way and tripping folks.

    A Festool Multi-Function Table is in the foreground and that is what usually occupies this space. But, there are other collapsible tables that are set up in this area. One of these is my sheet goods cutting board mounted on a purpose-built sawhorse frame:

    Attachment 2087

    The Eastern Jut:
    This is the area that houses most (that is, four out of five) of the large woodworking machines in the shop. It has the most natural light and the most overhead space. Of course, all the machines are on mobile bases.
    That wood pilled in front of the window is going to be used for the top of the workbench I hope to build this winter. The bent ash hooked over the dust control pipe will be used for a toboggan that I need to build before Christmas.
    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 12-14-2006 at 03:54 AM.
    Cheers, Frank

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
    (part 4 of 6)

    Two more views of the Eastern Jut:
    The space above the propane space heater, which can’t be used for anything wooden, is a great place for clamps. Notice the metal mesh extending up at a 45 degree angle from the edge of the space heater –that’s to prevent me from leaving anything burnable on the top (as I did with a plastic dustpan last winter ).

    East Side taken from up high: (standing on the bench at the south end)

    Attachment 2096 Attachment 2097

    Observe the scroll saw in front of the closet for the dust controller. It is easily moved.

    One other thing that can sort of be seen here is just how high the drill press is on the home made mobile base. The base adds 6” to the height and I don’t like that. I am thinking of a base design that only adds a couple of inches and might get around to trying it soon.

    The General International roller stand that is just in front of the drill press is very handy and can quickly be converted for use with the table saw, the band saw, the jointer, the planer, and the Festool MFT.

    West Side taken from up high: (standing on the bench at the south end)

    Attachment 2098 Attachment 2099

    From here you can see the other major machine, a planer near the wall.
    And, last but not least the systainers for a few of my Festool tools can be seen.

    The spot just beyond the planer occupied by some cabinets (not for my shop) that I have just built is the likely home of the “real” woodworking bench that I plan to build this winter. I will build some means of moving the bench into or onto the bench.

    Beyond the cabinets is a portion of the “Relaxation Alcove”.
    Astute folks will have noticed that there is no router table and no wood lathe. Right now most of my guided-routing is done on the Festool Multi-Function Table. It is very likely that by this time next year I will also have a dedicated router table and I have no idea where I will put it. A wood lathe might happen some day, but I expect that day is a long way off.

    Looking into the Dust Controller Closet:

    Attachment 2100 Attachment 2101

    It’s an Oneida 2hp Commercial unit.

    The closet is insulted to cut down on the noise and it is well ventilated.
    As you can see, I have some other stuff crammed into the closet as well.
    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 12-14-2006 at 03:54 AM.
    Cheers, Frank

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
    (part 5 of 6)

    North End of the East Wall:

    Attachment 2102 Attachment 2103

    We see some more pegboard, some Festool containers (one home made), a handy set of shelves, and a Bosch Power Box.

    North Wall of the Relaxation Alcove:

    Attachment 2104 Attachment 2105

    As well as an extension of the house alarm system into the shop, the shop windows of are protected by bars.

    Woodstove Corner:

    Attachment 2106 Attachment 2107

    To the right of the stove is a floor to 10 foot ceiling bookcase.

    Looking South from the Relaxation Alcove:

    Attachment 2108 Attachment 2109

    The only thing new here is the chalkboard that is painted on the side of the sheet goods storage rack. I do most of my rough plans on this board.
    Cheers, Frank

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
    (part 6 of 6)

    Planning to Accommodate Change:

    Knowing me, there will be some big changes that I want to make to the shop. To this end:
    • There are five two metre loops of #10 wire buried behind plate in the wall (pointed to by the red arrow in the photo below):

    Attachment 2110

    This will allow me to locate a 240 volt receptacle almost anywhere in the shop.

    • There is an unused wye to allow for possible future extension of the dust control duct work:

    Attachment 2111

    Also, it would not be hard to move any of the existing duct work.

    • Almost everything big is mobile.

    Exterior Storage:

    Helping me to keep the shop as uncluttered as possible, there are several places outside the shop where I can store wood and other stuff.
    • Racks on the 40 foot long back wall:

    Attachment 2112

    • Lumber storage rack in garage:

    Attachment 2113

    This can take boards up to 12 feet in length and is accessible from either end.

    • Baltic Birch plywood storage rack in garage:

    Attachment 2114

    • Garden Shed:

    Attachment 2115

    There is some space in here for large packages of fasteners.

    • And, there is always the old shop space in the basement, but I am slowly moving stuff out of there to other locations. There is still one bench down there and the bulk of my painting supplies are still in the old shop. I’m not going to take a photo of the place.

    That's all folks! Thanks for looking!
    Cheers, Frank

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Northern California
    Frank, The one thing that hit me first was the word RETIREMENT. I am still a few years away but when it comes I hope to spend more time in the shop like you are able to. I like the layout of your shop and all the colors. It helps me to view all the different layouts so hopefully I won't make too many layout errors myself.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Excellent tour, Frank. You've managed to fit a lot of shop in a relatively small space. Someday maybe my shop will be that well organized.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Very nice job all the way round, lots of good ideas in there, thanks.................but......... how about a little more detail in your tour......


    I'm going to have to go over this with a fine tooth comb, so much to steal, ah I mean ideas to borrow.
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Brentwood, TN
    Great shop tour Frank! You gave me some excellent ideas as well.

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