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Thread: Shop reconfiguration

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Inside the Beltway

    Shop reconfiguration

    Hey, folks,

    Someone said "there's no sliver lining without a cloud," and that's turning out to be true. My shop is 12x24 feet, and it's getting awfully crowded in there. Looks like I've got some decision points in front of me.

    Do I really need *two* 6 inch jointers? Of course not. Which to keep? I haven't even brought in the drill press or the bandsaw yet. Those two are easy: my present bandsaw is better. On the other hand, the bandsaw stand I overbuilt *would* accommodate two, if I set them up right. Not sure I get enough use out of a drill press to double up.

    There's a lathe to consider as well. I like mine, but it has one problem: It won't go under 600 rpm. Roughing a big, unbalanced blank gets pretty exciting. The one I'm getting has a third pulley, so I *could* slow it down, maybe way down, so I could start a blank on there, then move it to the good lathe. But where will I put the new one?

    Here's the real problem, though. Years ago, I built a large cabinet. I've got my tablesaw in there (a ridgid 3650) and my router table. The darn thing's huge: a full 4 x 8. The base is a torsion box between two full pieces of 3/4 ply. It was a bear to build, and I've loved having it. It doubles as an assembly table. And yet...

    It's heavy as heck. My floor's uneven, which is one reason why I built it. The thing rides on ten 6" casters. But the transition from shop to driveway is uneven, and the casters drag. One of them has buckled. Long story short: it's a bear to move. Not only that, but one reason I built it was so I could get 48" to the right of the blade. And I can, comfortably. But I never do anymore, haven't for years, not since I got the festool track saw. I keep thinking the cabinet's a white elephant.

    And yet, I've bought stuff for it. Most notably the incra fence. When I want to switch to routing, I just flip the fence over, and I'm off. If I break up the cabinet, I can't do that. I'd have to cut the incra rails. Luckily, I got the long rails, so I guess that's an option.

    Then there's the question of whether I really need a full sized router table any more. It's always been a bit oversized, but I like that. On the other hand, most routing can now be done on the shaper (I assume... although I can't say I'm certain about my comfort level running a shaper. And I've got some large cabinet doors I have to buld, for which I've already bought the bits. Buying the same form factor bits for the shaper would be a waste, and out of reach anyway. But besides those doors. I could make do with a much smaller router table. Who has a four foot by four foot router table? It's crazy.

    So that's my problem. I have storage troubles as well, but I could clean out the shop attic, and store some seldom used stuff up there.

    Any thoughts on this? It's likely, as usual, the answer is somewhere in the question, but I'm not seeing it...



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    DSM, IA
    Hmmmm....I understand the attachment to the saw/router table cabinet, but it does sound like that is your elephant in the shop.
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
    My Website

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    central florida
    a 4 by 8 in a 12 by 24. thats (I think) 1/3 of your space taken up by one item. on the other hand that item does 3 things, assembly table , ts and router. so its a hard call as wether to keep it that way. I know every one likes shapers better but if you have all your tooling for the router table then I would get rid of the shaper. I thought of getting one and didn't like the cost of the cutters and wouldn't want to run tiny bits on the shaper any way so I would still have to have both. Don't get me wrong. I still want a shaper but just because I really like buying tools. If you have limited space I would say router table and no shaper is the way to go unless there is some function need from the shaper.

    Can the shaper go? I know its a small amount of space.

    Did you say you have 2 band saws and 2 drill presses and 2 jointers?

    I have a 18x24 and I was just telling my wife yesterday that if I only had 6 more feet in width I could be happy with my shop. But I would just buy those extra tools i probably wouldn't use that often and be back in the same boat I am in now.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Evaluate what tools you'll use the most and perhaps get a small storage unit and store those you don't or sell them. Are you allowed to add a storage shed on your property? I'm with Jeff on the elephant in the room, but you've also got that big workbench to fit in there too right?

    Sounds like it's time to do a little sketchup and see how the puzzle goes together.

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Welcome to the seemingly never-ending painful process of deciding:

    - What stays
    - What goes
    - What "gotta have" has evolved into a "seldom used"
    - What "perfect" location for a tool has got to change
    - Etc.

    Our shops evolve as what we do evolves. Unless we are lucky enough to have the real estate (and budget) to build a shop that can handle nearly anything we have done, will do or could ever think of, modifications will occur. I try to embrace it as part of the hobby just as changing the oil in my planer or cleaning out the DC filters is.

    I am currently going through a transition where I had to let go of a lot of scraps that I had many duplicates of (how many 3/8" x 2" x 2-5/8" scraps of mahogany does one need?), change some tool layouts, re-plumb some DC runs and hack down an old favorite rolling work table to a smaller size. These are tough choices but, the results are good and he pain is soon forgotten.

    I have moved to knock-down style assembly tables as I find them only truly necessary for the last 25% of most projects. Then they break down and store out of my work areas. This implies that I do not use my tools or work surfaces as catch-alls for who-knows-what and don't need the assembly surfaces to move stuff onto so I can use a tool.

    I have been toying with the idea of moving my workbench into service as primarily my outfeed table and as a bench secondarily. This won't happen until I come up with the right version of a work surface or set of work surfaces that are versatile enough to let me make the move (if ever). The only constant is change. Enjoy the ride.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 04-09-2013 at 05:17 PM.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Inside the Beltway
    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    never-ending painful process ... Enjoy the ride.

    I suppose you're right. One thing that occurs to me: I still have my air compressor located inside the shop. Doorlink doesn't want it on the side of the house, but I guess I could drill through the other wall and put it out back. The dust collector, right now, is in the attic, and that's a bit of a pain as well. For a four foot air hose, which is better? a short (8 foot) vertical run or a long (16 foot) horizontal run?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    I'd choose short over direction. Don't think air cares.

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Lantry View Post
    ...For a four foot air hose, which is better? a short (8 foot) vertical run or a long (16 foot) horizontal run?
    Did you mean a four inch air hose? As in a 4" DC hose? I think with a DC, the 8' vertical rise might be tougher than a 16' horizontal run, but that's just a seat of the pants guess.
    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
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Vaughn beat me to it. If you mean air hose as in compressed air, I don't think it matters for home shop use as much as it might in a production (or at least production tool) environment. For a 4" DC run I would take horizontal over vertical depending on how over-sized you DC is. Mine is unfortunately "just right". I should have gone over-sized because now, any modifications have to be carefully considered or they may foul the overall performance of the system. Next time . . . 5HP Clearview or some-such! Technology is great but, in cars, stereos, bandsaws and dust collectors, I'll take raw horsepower over finesse any day ;-)
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    bill make a listy of all the big tools and how many you have ,, for instance you mentioned you have 2 jointer that old one you just got is a top quality jointer,, only way i would part with it is if your other one was bigger as in a 8" that is one suggestion and i agree on the tsaw being to big for its space unless you use the out feed as a work bench.. maybe you could use the new work bench as a out feed of sorts.. as for the shaper vrs a router table i feel both are usefull if you have bits for both.. the shaper will do alot easier if you have the bits for it but hey are pricey,, you can sometimes use router bit in a shaper if you have the spindle to do that..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

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