Road Back to a Wood Shop

Bill Satko

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2,865
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Methow Valley
Well there's sure no faulting the quality of your T&G joints, that's for sure!

I actually think that some of the small shop struggles are super useful to talk about. The odds of any of us being there for one reason or another are pretty high (moving, working at someone elses place with limited tooling/space, life happens, etc..) so it's imho quite valuable to think about.
If this was not winter, I would have the option of working outside and I did a lot of that this past summer. Most of the problem is accurately ripping and even cross cutting without a lot of repeated setup. In the past my use of a track saw was mostly in breaking down stock so that it was easier to use the table saw for final dimensioning. Those woodworkers using track saws for final dimensioning are using some form of a MFT and the accessories to make this a lot easer to make quick, repeatable cuts. There are other options besides Festool, but they all cost a lot of money. There is the DIY option, but that generally requires tools I don't have to make them, easily. I need something that can fold up and be put away until needed again. I can borrow living space but only for a while. Complicating all of this, is my hope this is only temporary and I can build a shop in the next two years. So it is a hard pill to swallow to think of spending money on a solution that would not be a consideration if I had enough "permanent" space. I can't buy a SawStop now, hide it in a closet and drag it out when needed. I am mulling over all my options and trying to pick the "right" path.
 

Peter Rideout

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1,444
Location
Nova Scotia, 45°N 64°W
This is interesting Bill, even with the frustrations. Some organizational upgrades are on the list here for this winter, so I’m keeping a close eye on how you execute your tool wall ideas. As Ryan pointed out, your standards sure aren't slipping!
Keep up the good work!
 

Ryan Mooney

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6,860
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The Gorge Area, Oregon
I am mulling over all my options and trying to pick the "right" path.
Yeah it's layers of tradeoffs...

I wonder if a temporary MFT setup that sat on top of the workbench would be doable. Potentially too tall to be useful, but for small amounts of one-off work... might be an option.

I've pretty much only used the track saw for bulk work, I did cut a bunch of backing strips for a mural mounting project down town.. but that was "mostly" bulk work as well, I just had to support the saw on the off-side with scrap piece (basically a ton of 5" wide x 8' long strips ripped from ply).
 

Bill Satko

Member
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2,865
Location
Methow Valley
I love the shims you used for leveling the 1st board.
Funny how you don't think about how you are going to install something until you are ready to do it. In the back of my mind I knew it would be difficult to hold this 5' board and accurately screw it to the wall so that it was level. Being the first board it was crucial to get it in the correct position. Add reaching over my bench to do it made it more difficult, so I decided to use the bench as there is not enough room to move it around. I was scrounging every scrap of wood I had to come up with enough height to support it. Even used some playing cards on one end to level it up.
 

Bill Satko

Member
Messages
2,865
Location
Methow Valley
This is interesting Bill, even with the frustrations. Some organizational upgrades are on the list here for this winter, so I’m keeping a close eye on how you execute your tool wall ideas. As Ryan pointed out, your standards sure aren't slipping!
Keep up the good work!
Thanks Peter! On the tongue and groove joint, I just pushed the plane along the wood. There is no great skill in that except keeping the fence tight to the wood. It is a joy to use joinery planes like this.

As for the tool wall, I can tell you that it is way too small! I laid out some of the tools that I was thinking hanging and quickly realized I had more tools than space. So right now I am prioritizing what needs to go up there. I could have maximized that space by building a hanging tool cabinet, but knew from the beginning I didn't have time to build that and was just going with something simple. I still have my floor chest and I am going to use the wall to hang those items that don't fit well into a floor chest, like hammers, hand drills and larger items like squares and straight edges. In addition, I would like to add some items that I use at the bench all the time, to eliminate diving down into the floor chest.

Someday in the future. a wall mounted tool cabinet will be made, but probably not for this space.
 

Bill Satko

Member
Messages
2,865
Location
Methow Valley
Yeah it's layers of tradeoffs...

I wonder if a temporary MFT setup that sat on top of the workbench would be doable. Potentially too tall to be useful, but for small amounts of one-off work... might be an option.

I've pretty much only used the track saw for bulk work, I did cut a bunch of backing strips for a mural mounting project down town.. but that was "mostly" bulk work as well, I just had to support the saw on the off-side with scrap piece (basically a ton of 5" wide x 8' long strips ripped from ply).
I know exactly what you went through cutting those strips of plywood, and I think you have an understanding of my need for something portable and yet able to make repeatable accurate cuts without a huge amount of constant measuring and marking. I could easily afford the Festool MFT, but I am not liking that solution for a couple of reasons. First, it is too small and would require two of them. Not a big deal. The biggest problem is that it is flimsy and a lot of the accessories are not well thought out or made. Festool makes some really great products but a lot of their accessories fall way short. There are now third party accessories that are much better designed and made with better materials. I am trying to navigate through all of this to come up with a workable solution.
 

Charles Lent

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Messages
547
Location
Central North Carolina
Great progress! Yes, you can make great things in small spaces when you need to..

I made a 3' X 3' work surface for the top of my Work Mate using a piece of 3/4 cabinet ply and attaching a couple of pieces of scrap in an upside down T fashion, to clamp to the top of my Work Mate for an additional, but easily removeable work surface. I later modified this by replacing the T strips with a box shaped base for the 3 X 3 sheet and made a temporary router table. I used a notched 2 X 4 three ft long and two C-clamps for a fence. Yet another use for a Work Mate, although folding the short legs helped when used for this.

Charley
 

Charles Lent

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Messages
547
Location
Central North Carolina
For breaking up large sheet stock and long work I use a cutting table outside my shop. It's just a 1 X 4 frame about 30 X 70" with five short lengths of 2 X 4 laid flat and flush with the top edge of the frame. There is one across the center and then two more at each end, positioned where needed to attach Banquet Table legs to the under side. The legs are available from Harbor Freight and Northern, probably other places too. They fold up into the hollow below the 2 X 4's and within the 1 X 4 frame. The entire table is glued together with biscuits at each joint, so no hardware, except the short screws to attach the legs exists within any of the wood. I can lay a full sheet on this table and position it so the cut will be roughly down the center of the table, use straight edge clamps for straight cuts, and use a circular saw, guided by the straight edged clamp to get nice clean nice cuts.
I made a zero clearance shoe for the bottom of my circular saw, so the cuts are clean and chip free too. At the end of the cut, nothing falls. Both pieces are still on the table. I can remove the cut-off and then re-position the remaining material so the next cut is roughly centered, and repeat the process.

I do all of my sheet breakdowns outside my small shop this way, and take the pieces inside to trim to exact size on my Unisaw. When finished using the cutting table, it folds up to 3 1/2" thick and 30 X 70" so I just lean it against my sheet stock in my shop. To get the plywood, carried vertically, on the table I have added two squares of 12 mm Baltic Birch plywood, bolted off center to one long edge of the table. I lay the table on it's side with these turned so they extend above the top of the table and these down against the driveway. I place the edge of the sheet on these and then bend down and lift both the table and the sheet at the same time, tilting the table up so it's back on it's legs with the sheet lying on top of it. I turn these small pieces of Baltic Birch so they no longer extends above the table surface and reposition the sheet for the first cut

When doing carpentry or trim work away from my shop I frequently take this table with me. It's better than saw horses. A piece of plywood large enough for my miter saw attached with screws to the center 2 X 4 makes a great place for my miter saw and work pieces can be staged behind the saw on the table. I work at a comfortable height and good efficiency. My metal knees no longer let me work at ground level, and at almost 80, I no longer can carry full 4 X 8 sheets of anything. I made a small panel carrier using repurposed wheels and axle stubs from a defunct high wheel mower and some scraps of cabinet birch. A photo of it is here too. The larger wheels let me get over the bump going out through the doors of my shop and back with sheets and partial sheets. With this carrier roughly under the center of the edge of a sheet, moving it is easy.

A bonus use is to put a full sheet of 3/4 plywood on this table when more guests show up for a picnic than planned for. It makes a great picnic expansion table with a plastic table cloth added.

Now you know all of my old man sheet handling and break-down secrets. I don't have a panel saw or track saw, but don't see much need for one either. This system is working quite well for me.

Charley
 

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