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Thread: The small shop of Rod True

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Abbotsford, BC Canada

    The small shop of Rod True

    Well, I think I'm following the order of operations for a new member of the forum correctly, post in the introduction section, than give the shop tour right .

    I built the shop with only building guitars in mind (and maybe the odd other thing here or there) so it's certainly not set up for cabinets or large items, although I did build some of my 12' boat (the red flat bottom beside the shop) in it as well as a 10' entertainment unit of sorts, just had to be creative with the space.

    The shop is irregular in shape (not square or rectangle), 185 sft total and I have two walls that are 16' long, one that is 14' long and the other is 10' long, the two back corners are not 90* (I don't have a site plan otherwise I'd put that in too, sorry Frank). Not that there will be much to miss from the pictures. The shop is detached, built on a concrete slab and sites at the back of my lot.

    Front of the shop (14' wall)

    The shop is fully insulated and finished with OSB sealed with 3 coats of zinsser's sealer. I have 60 amps of power (only 110V though). I have 8 - 4' florescent lights mounted on the ceiling (and one task light at the bench) which gives me lots of light. I have two electric baseboard heaters which do a great job of heating the shop. I also have a small a/c unit built into one wall, near the ceiling (helps keep the RH down in the summers) and I have a small portable humidifier for the winter months. Overall I've been able to maintain my RH between 40-50% (guitar specific RH specs)with the a/c and the humidifier.

    Looking in through the door

    As far as tools go, I have an older delta unisaw (original 1HP motor) which I added a new fence (I designed it based on the biesemeyer type fence) which I had made by a metal working friend I have (he also made the drum sander). The fence allows me to cut up to 36" (but the shop doesn't ) Still need to add a table over the fence, and maybe a fold down out feed table. I don't cut sheets of plywood anyway (get them cut at the lumber store for most of what I need) so the out feed table isn't needed.
    More tools, I have a homemade 24" drum sander, 1HP 5" dia drum (steel turned by a pro machinist for $20 and a case of beer). I have a small 1HP dc hooked up to the sander (although I want to make a small cyclone for it soon) which takes care of the dust.

    Also to tackle the dust, I made an air cleaner which hangs from the ceiling. I got a furnace fan, bought the replacement filter from Lee Valley and made the box to suit. This thing really sucks and cleans my air about 40x's an hour.

    OK, this is getting to be a long tour for such a small shop. The rest of the tools, 14" delta bandsaw (need to get the lower door back on it I know), 8" bench top drill press and what I call a semi-knock down spray booth with explosion proof fan (need to seal the light in there too).

    I have one bench as you can see and what a luthier (I'm no luthier) calls a go-bar deck for clamping (see pics).

    Go-bar deck in action, gluing the top on a guitar

    more pictures

    Just inside the door you see the table saw, bandsaw and spray booth area.

    Standing at the table saw looking toward the bench, you see the go-bar deck (guitar body sitting on it) with the loft area above.

    Looking toward the door from the semi-knock down spray booth, you see the rest of the bench and my thickness sander

    Storage in a small shop is really key. When I built the shop I knew I wanted some sort of loft for storage as well as the top side of the go-bar deck. Efficiency is key when you have a small space. The other thing I decided I didn't need was windows (I don't get to work in there during daylight hours anyway) which really gives a lot of wall space for jig storage as well as cabinets and other storage units. So here are some of the ways I've made my small space more spacious.

    The loft (you can see I have lots of space for more guitar wood )and the upper cabinet

    And than the semi-knock down spray booth. Two doors with poly on which close inward to allow for more space. You can see the filter box below and inside is my explosion proof fan. Also I made a storage cabinet which can hold two guitars and two necks while curing after spraying.

    Thanks for taking the tour of which it would take less time to actually do versus reading this thread. I hope it helps someone with some ideas. I know it's a small shop built specifically for guitars, but it's mine all mine and I love it.

    Here's a phrase I coined for my small shop (cause I have to remind myself all the time)

    Have what you need, use what you have.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Great shop Rod, thanks for the tour. I love the small spray booth, perfect for guitar making!
    "I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a
    friend...if you have one."
    --George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

    "Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second..if there is
    --Winston Churchill, in response

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    That is a nice little hideout you have built for yourself. Impressive use of small space.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Buffalo, NY
    It is a great shop, perfect for the nice work you are turning out. I bought the "bible" for guitar making but alas, it is difficult. I haven't given up though, I've started studying how to play.

    Thought it would be a shame to make one and not be able to play it...
    No Al, I invented the internet.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Houston, Texas
    Hi Rod ,
    That is a marvelous shop tour and a wonderful shop. Thank you!
    Welcome here, hoping you find friends, fun and a healthy place to enjoy.
    I am a registered voter and you can be too. We ( registered voters ) select the moderators for this forum by voting every six months for the people we want to watch over this family forum.
    Please join me. Register now.
    Here is how

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Plainwell, Michigan
    Great use of small space, good layout and custom built tools, cool you certainly know what you need for your guitar creations, also looking forward to seeing one! It would be fun to create a guitar, except I do not have that kind of tallent, I cheated and made a visit to gibson.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
    Rod, thanks for a very well organized tour of a very well organized, designed, and built shop.
    Cheers, Frank

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Great tour, Rod. Looks like a comfy place to spend your spare time. The spray booth is a great addition.
    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 nicely done!!

    Just to let you know, my Dungeon is 322 square feet, and not really at that, as I have the corners half gone with the stumps of the deep into the ground pilings so I I feel your pain on a small work space, but it looks like to me, that you have it kitted out for the task at hand.

    The spray booth is a great idea, wish I had a corner I could put something like that in!

    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
    Hi Rod,

    Welcome to FWW! I like your shop and we certainly need a resident luthier around here. I look forward to seeing more of your work.
    Member; Society of American Period Furniture Makers

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