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Thread: Shop Fixtures and Furniture

  1. #46
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Perth, Australia
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    6,941
    Thank you all for your comments and photos. And thanks to you, Mike, for starting this thread. It is interesting how one lays out a workshop and organises both work space and storage since these impact on how we approach builds. I am interested in the mindset of others in this regard, and whether you have made a conscious effort to think through the way you have organised your workshop? For example, did you give thought to the flow between work stations? Did you prioritise tool access? Do you find what you have makes it easier/harder to remain focussed? We could add questions on lighting, dust control, and music. How important are these?

    I will say that my curiosity has meant that I have acquired more hand tools than I need (what a surprise!). I do not have duplicates of the same tool, although I may have a few of the same type of tool, such as smoothers or wood/metal hand planes. I attempt to reduce the presence of all tools bar those in current use (which may be chosen because they are favourites or because it is just fun to have a change). I want access, but I do not want to see them all.

    Here is an older photo of the bench and hand tool work area. Fixtures live under- or behind the bench. Only marking/measuring tools are on the wall behind the bench. The hand planes I use most - a choice of wood or metal - is in an open rack. The chisels in use are in a rack behind the bench. All else is behind closed doors ...



    It is usually wood or metal - and even so, there are choices here of jacks, jointers and smoothers (this photo was taken about 7 years ago)).

    Behind the closed doors are power routers and accessories, moulding planes, other metal planes, and a couple of chisel sets. Out of sight is out of mind.

    My intension here is to show work flow, not tools (it is impossible to avoid showing tools - I dislike the "look what I have got" posts. I have had this workshop for 30 years).

    With new machine additions/upgrades (this was taken prior to a new lathe about 18 months ago), there are always some changes in the layout, but I have been settled on the workflow process for some years now.



    All the power tools are moved into one area, and the jointer/thicknesser-planer and bandsaw are kept close to each other ...



    This makes it easier to get the rough sawn boards prepared for dimensioning, and then to the work bench for hand tool work.

    The bench remains the heart of the workshop, whether it is handtool or power use. Here is a photo of a power router in use at the bench. Note the hook in the ceiling rafter for holding the hose and cables. At the window is the sharpening centre ... just a step away from the bench (I was fortunate enough to plumb in water when building the house/garage) ..



    Wood storage and access is as important as tool storage. It needs to be out of the way and yet easy enough to access. I do not have a large storage area, and generally keep enough for a few projects, as well as any timber than "materialises". The storage area is in the areas immediately entering the garage, to either side.

    One side (Jarrah from Oz, and Hard Maple from the USA) ...




    I love the "concept" of a clean bench, with tools in use only ...



    ... but the reality is that there are never enough work surfaces!



    Regards from Singapore (leaving tomorrow for home)

    Derek

  2. #47
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    SE Michigan
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    2,306
    A small shop pretty much demands some level of organization, or I wouldnt even be able to move around. It also keeps things a bit minimalist. The cabinet and wall space above it, and shelf below the bench houses everything I use on a regular basis. This was from about 2 years ago, and while some tools have been added and subtracted based on what I use most often, there has been no additional space...so if new tools get added, something gets stored away.

    010AB601-4897-4B02-9C43-7344DCDE4A64.jpg


    Off to the right, behind the bench is a contractors saw, lunch box planer and a shelf with a chop saw and disk sander. And behind me from where I am taking the picture is a router table on a mobile base. When ever needed, they need to be pulled out, used, and put back.

    Beyond the door in the picture, is a small storage room. I have a small three shelf area with some specialty tools not used on every project (like shoulder planes, spoke shaves, router planes, etc).

    From a work flow basis, there really isnt one. Essentially, turn around, grab a tool, turn back around and work at the bench. Maybe a few steps to go in the storage room and grab something.

    This has for obvious reasons kept me a primarily hand tool user, although I will say the router table and compact router gets used rather frequently.

    And Ill admit that the drawers and shelves in the cabinet have become a big mess. My plan is to tear out the entire cabinet and rebuild something with more, but smaller pull out drawers or trays of some kind. Still working through that plan. Probably a next winter project.

  3. #48
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    2,744
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Mueller View Post
    A small shop pretty much demands some level of organization, or I wouldn’t even be able to move around. It also keeps things a bit minimalist. The cabinet and wall space above it, and shelf below the bench houses everything I use on a regular basis. This was from about 2 years ago, and while some tools have been added and subtracted based on what I use most often, there has been no additional space...so if new tools get added, something gets stored away.

    010AB601-4897-4B02-9C43-7344DCDE4A64.jpg


    Off to the right, behind the bench is a contractors saw, lunch box planer and a shelf with a chop saw and disk sander. And behind me from where I am taking the picture is a router table on a mobile base. When ever needed, they need to be pulled out, used, and put back.

    Beyond the door in the picture, is a small storage room. I have a small three shelf area with some specialty tools not used on every project (like shoulder planes, spoke shaves, router planes, etc).

    From a work flow basis, there really isn’t one. Essentially, turn around, grab a tool, turn back around and work at the bench. Maybe a few steps to go in the storage room and grab something.

    This has for obvious reasons kept me a primarily hand tool user, although I will say the router table and compact router gets used rather frequently.

    And I’ll admit that the drawers and shelves in the cabinet have become a big mess. My plan is to tear out the entire cabinet and rebuild something with more, but smaller pull out drawers or trays of some kind. Still working through that plan. Probably a next winter project.
    Phil,

    The space you have looks well organized. Hand tools help keep a small shop usable. My only question is; Did you clean it up for the photo or does it stay that way?

    I keep thinking about losing the power tools in my shop but truth told the only one I do not use and could be removed with no loss is the table saw. The band saw is a must have and the planer is almost as important. The joiner takes up little room and then the real problem, if you have a single power tool you need dust collection and dust collection takes a big chunk of room. The other problem with my shop is if I lost the power tools I'd just fill the space with another work bench .

    ken

  4. #49
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Tucson, AZ
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    2,744
    "...the reality is that there are never enough work surfaces!"

    Derek,

    Ain't that the truth.

    BTW, it was good to see a few shavings on the bench.

    ken

  5. #50
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    2,744
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Allen1010 View Post
    I'm really enjoying this thread – who doesn't like shop pictures? In fact I'm now convinced that an SMC Neander traveling shop tour and cocktail party would be tons of fun! Come on, a bunch of people with shared interest in hand tool woodworking hanging out in our favorite place – the shop, mix in a little good whiskey to liven things up and I gotta believe it would be a great time!

    I really appreciate all those who shared pictures of their shops. It's really helpful to see good ideas about how others organizer tools etc. Derek, Glenn, Jim and Roger I really admire your neat organization. I confess I was feeling pretty good about myself until I saw your shops and now realize I've got a long way to go to put things in order etc.

    Compelled by the spirit of sharing some pictures my shop: about the size of one car garage with door, window and high ceilings.




    Moving counterclockwise, the eight-foot bench takes up the bulk of the workspace. One of my New Year's resolutions was to clean out the rats nest of scraps, jig etc. accumulating under the bench so build some plastic bins for scrap storage.



    Plane tills above my original workbench from the 1970s, now use primarily for messy stuff like glue ups. Also handy for storing shooting boards, clamp tills etc. below. I consider it luxury to be able to leave the shooting board on this 2nd bench. Fact that I have 2 plane tills is testimony to the idea you always underestimate how much tool storage you're gonna need.



    Along that same wall is sharpening station with clamps storage above. For me essential to have sharpening stones always readily available, otherwise I'd probably never sharpen if I had to get them out of storage to use.



    Along back wall is rolling tool cabinet, one of my first projects – can't believe that was 30 years ago. Trays handy for chisels, carving tools. Also where I keep my block, Japanese, joinery planes, scapers, drill bits etc.. Box below holds molding planes and the cabinet on the floor to the left is for screws etc. Small box on top holds sandpaper, and behind it to the right is glue up table.



    Along the other wall are layout tools hanging from the pegboard and saw tills – full size on the left and joinery saws on the right. Front left is Sharwz anarchist tool chest on rollers. Probably my most used shop appliance is the saw table – for me absolutely essential, and behind it bandsaw and router table I inherited from my uncle that I don't really use very much.







    I keep small F clamps on rack under my tail vice.


    All in all, not a lot of floor space, probably because no TS/stationary power tools etc. I hope those interested in wood woodworking aren't dissuaded by mistaken belief they need big space and expensive power tools to get started. I really enjoy visitors and all are welcome if you're every in the San Diego area.


    Cheers, Mike
    Mike,

    You have done a much better job of stuffing the 10lbs of stuff into a 5lbs box than I have. Looks usable and a comfortable place to work.

    1+ on shop tours, there is always whisky and maybe even BBQ here at Casa Chaos to enjoy along with the "there I waz with one burning and one turning" stories.

    ken

  6. #51
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    2,744
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Allen1010 View Post
    Ken, I share your interest in preserving the art of fine toolmakers. To me there's something super ironic about how much we as hand tool woodworkers highly value these tools that are ideally designed and tuned to perfectly perform their intended tasks, and yet most people likely see them as "junk".

    I started working in the late 1970s after reading James Krenov's book "Cabinetmakers Notebook". Seeing the beautiful furniture he created with simple hand tools was super inspiring to me and I got some second Sears Craftsman planes, chisels and tried to do the same. As you might guess super frustrating – I had no idea how to sharpen/tune/use these tools and of course I didn't get remotely close to making beautiful shavings or really anything else. It took me many years of trial and error, reading etc. before I learned the importance of quality tools and how to make them work properly.

    In those days before Lee Valley, Lee Nielsen etc., contemporary quality tools weren't available, and I couldn't afford the good vintage stuff even if I knew how to identify it. I clearly remember the absolute agony I felt when I learned the woman I was dating (now my wife Sherrie) grandfather had been a cabinetmaker in Greenwich Village for 40 years, and when he passed away, the family sold off the entire shop for essentially the price of scrap etc. Today I have only a couple of his tools and I can only imagine the treasures that likely went to the dump or secondhand store etc.

    Today I still feel a sense of "discovering a lost treasure" when I find a top-of-the-line vintage handsaw, plane etc. and experience the quality work they're capable of. I have a secret fantasy that when I'm gone, some aspiring woodworker will find my shop full of tools and be assisted on his journey towards mastering the craft. Seems like I need to do the right thing and find a way to make that happen. Any suggestions?

    Best, Mike
    Mike,

    Like you I started the journey in the 70's. Houston, TX didn't have a lot to offer in either wood or tools but I did run across "Fine Woodworking" and the Garrett Wade catalog. Both beat out "Playboy" and for many years "Fine Woodworking" was my Krenov.

    I don't like to think of myself as a collector but there are areas where I buy unneeded tools such as Japanese chisels, wood stock plows, Stanley type 9 and 10 planes, and Pre-1933 Marples chisels. There will come a time in the not too distant future where either MsBubba or the kids will have to deal with my "junk". I've spent some time thinking about it and have not come up with a good answer. I know I do not want them to be snatched up by bottom feeders looking to make a profit and/or stuck in some tool museum's storage room isn't the best answer either. That question might make a good forum topic.

    ken

    P.S. Just need to add: The best answer I've come up with is giving tools to younger and poorer woodworkers which I have done in the past. But that is not easy to do. To either find 'em or qualify them.
    Last edited by ken hatch; 01-17-2020 at 10:05 AM.

  7. #52
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    SE Michigan
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    2,306
    Ha, maybe a little cleaning before the picture, but truth is the small size just demands things be kept fairly neat or it would become completely out of control. The space, for the most part, does look like that most of the time. It gets cleaned and tools put away after every step of a project.

  8. #53
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Central Florida
    Posts
    45
    Phil, nice clean shop, hats off! Ken, I have recently started to think about my tools after Im gone, and I agree that could be an interesting thread. I have two kids, close to the same age. Im planning to build two tool chest with a basic set of core hand tools in each . Each with a fair distribution of the best of each tool that I end up with and each will have one or two tools that came from my dad or grand parents and a little write up of what the tools are and how they are used or maybe include a book like the Anarchists Tool Chest by CS so they have some idea of what they have. It might be something either of them would use, or display or if they wanted to sell it, they might get a good price for it. Everything else could go in a garage sell.

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