New Workshop...

Last updated early 2011

We bought what had been the model home in our new housing development. The basement was partially finished. The part the builder finished consisted of a showroom area and two offices, along with a half bathroom and a couple closets. One office became an exercise room. After removing the carpet and installing a tile floor, the other office became what I call the Small Shop. The show room became the Clean Shop. I moved the water heater and knocked out a closet. I finished the remainder of the basement using the same wall colors and ceiling to match the builder's work and a tile floor like my Small Shop. This part I call the Big Shop. All this to point to the overall plan.


The Clean Shop is nearly 24-feet by 14-feet. All the stuff in the Clean Shop came from our place in Maryland. I have my display cases for my old-tool collection. I only kept one of the pianos I rebuilt. The Yuppie Workbench is there. There's a shave horse (Schnitzelbank) I made a while back. The parts cabinets, a piano roll cabinet, and the set-up table complete the furnishings in the Clean Shop. Someday I'll make proper links, but for now you can click on Woodworking Projects in the Navigator bar above for stories about these things.

The Small Shop is odd shaped but close 10-feet by 12-feet. The Small Shop initially was intended for hand work, storage, and general odds and ends; mostly small work. More recently I've gotten interested in doing some metal work, so the small shop has been taken over by a metal lathe and milling machine. I can still do hand work in here, but the bench has been pushed up against the wall to give me space for the metal working tools. Here's one view of the lathe and milling machine. Here's another. The work bench is now against the wall. The filter for my dust collector sticks through the wall in the small shop.

The Big Shop is not really very big after I filled it up with MiniMax sale items. The main area is about 12-feet by 23-feet with a couple dog legs. Here's the view from the double doors entering from the Clean shop. Inside, the MM S315 WS is on the left. I labored over how to fit this in here. Actually considered cutting the bar for the rip fence in order to get it against the wall. Instead I opted to do all my ripping on the slider side. More on that later. Looking from the back of the room is the FS41, utility area and the closet under the stairs. The MM20 bandsaw and T50 shaper are near the main doors. The dust collector and my lathe are back in this little alley with the water heater.

The dust collector is an Oneida 3HP Professional. Cosmetically it is akin to Grizzly stuff, pretty disappointing actually. It does suck well. I'm assuming all their hype about balance and engineering in the blower is where the money went. You know those little pictures they show you on how to install a dust collector. The ones where they show several acceptable options and then they show a picture of the piping running around the room with a big red X through it? Well, that's the one I used for my installation! It was a conscious decision. I didn't want the pipes crossing the lights and I wanted all the drops near the walls. I bought the 3HP to compensate for the poor design and it seems to be working quite nicely. The pipe is all Nordfab stuff. Really nice but pricey. The piping starts out as 8-inch, around the first bend, and reduces to 7-inch at the first blast gate for the jointer/planer. All the rest of the pipe is 7-inch all the way around the shop. The wyes reduce to 5-inch for the blast gates except for the table saw. There I used a 6-inch blast gate feeding a 6-5-4 wye. The end of the run drops down to 5-inch at the floor sweep at the end of the run. The hose looping back is simply a place to hook it when the shaper is back in the corner. This shot shows the piping running around the sides of the shop and the 5-inch blast gate drops.

One of the features of my dust collector installation is the way it keeps positive air pressure against all the openings to the shop so that dust particles in the air, or even on the floor, do no escape. With the dust collector blower outlet feeding into the filter in the Small Shop, positive air pressure is put against the doors into the big shop. Now, you need to allow for the required air flow. The three doors into the Big Shop are not tight. there's more than an inch of clearance underneath. The double doors have space between the mating surfaces also. Additionally, I provided louvred vents behind the parts cabinet and through the furnace utility area and another through the closet under the stairs. Clean-up in hear is a breeze... pun intended. With the dust collector on I simple use the air compressor to blow down the whole shop. The vinyl floor is easy to sweep to the floor sweep pick-up. Anyway, I used this design in my previous shop and it works really well here, too.

A couple other shop details. There are ten outlet panels around the shop. Each contains two 115-volt outlets, a 20-amp 220-volt, and a 30-amp 220-volt twist lock. Plenty of power where it is needed. Additionally, I'm really pleased to have the under stair closet right here in the shop. It's a convenient place for all the small tailed tools. And they stay clean, no dust in there because of the positive pressure from my circulating dust collector air.

With the MM shaper stored back in the corner I needed a way to make it mobile. I used a pair of 3-inch wheels with 1/2-inch bolts for axels in the existing holes in the short legs in the back. I added a connector for the johnson bar that came with the Jointer/planer. I couldn't get easy access to the back of the sheet metal to install nuts on bolts, so the mobility bracket is installed from the front only, using 3/8-inch self tapping steel screws.

As others have noted, the mobility kit for the MM20 bandsaw is kinda sucky, so I made a similar mod on it. Using the Johnson bar and another mobility bracket, I can more easily move the bandsaw around and I don't need to hang onto the bar to keep the saw from setting down on the floor until I'm ready. There's a lot of fussing about installing blades on the MM20 becasue the door hits the back wheel on the mobility kit. With the saw up on my modification, I simply rock the saw a little, pull out the clevis pin, and remove the offending wheel. Not that blades will be changed often on this thing.

Doing all ripping on the slider side of a sliding table saw is not a new idea. Many folks have made jigs to help do it. Some folks use a pair of arms. I use a stop on the the mitre angle fence along with a jig I made. My jig is made of melamine and fastens to the bracket used for the outrgger table. (The clamps are just parked there, nothing to do with the jig.) There's a T-track installed in the top surface. I put a small piece of UHMW plastic underneath the movable arm. It takes the wiggle out of the stop, keeps it aligned to the T-track. The stop travels in the T-track with a scale underneath. The scale I stuck on was a remnant from another project; I use only the low numbered side. Here's a view from underneath showing the attachment to the outrigger bracket on the slider. The jig can be used several ways. The easiest is to simply set the rip width on the mitre fence and then on the jig and place the stuff to be cut between the two. For short pieces the two stops can get too close together to work safely. For short (and too narrow pieces) I set my jig 4-feet from the mitre fence stop and bridge to my jig with a 2-inch straight board. I then adjust the stop settings to correct for the additional 2-inches. Here's an overview pic.

And, just for completeness, here are two pictures of the exercise room. It's tough to find time to use it, but we work at it.