Works for me #12: Everything in its place

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Blog entry by Dave Owen posted 05-10-2010 09:11 PM 5113 reads 4 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 11: Drawer Dividers Part 12 of Works for me series Part 13: Tapered Leg Jig »

To me, good habits are hard to make and easy to break. Years ago, when I would misplace something, my wonderful wife would often chide me with, “If you’d put things in the same place every time, you wouldn’t lose them!”. My problem was that I had learned she had an uncanny ability to find any misplaced item within minutes of hearing its description – and I came to depend on that. I knew it wouldn’t be long before I heard, “Is this what you’re looking for?”, and of course it would be. If she were still living, I think she’d like knowing I’m trying to follow her advice – even though I’m still not very good at putting things away. I have found, though, that it helps a great deal if I store things near their point of greatest use, and I’ll use my band saw as an example.

In this photo, one of the things you can see is the file I use to round the back of the blades. I keep this on the front of the ‘belt door’ – held in place by a rare-earth magnet pressed into a shallow hole in the wooden back.

The first of the following photos shows a close-up of the front of the cabinet base. This is where I keep a miter gauge and small taper jig. The taper jig is only used on the band saw, and the miter gauge is primarily on the band saw – but also on the router table sitting directly in front of it. The taper jig is supported by simple hooks through holes in the jig – while the miter gauge is held in a wooden ‘sheath’ as shown in the second photo.


On the top left side of the base, I keep my fence. The first photo below show the fence on its holder – and the second shows a close-up of the holder. To make the fence secure – but easy to lift off, I fashioned a wooden piece to fit the inside of the fence head. A strip of Velcro beneath the strip avoids scratches in the paint.


The magnet on the saw frame shown below holds Allen wrenches and spare center pins for the circle jig shown in the background of the first photo. Since I’ve been known not to remember to tension the blade – the red and yellow candy-striped ‘flag’ is a piece of tape-covered Plexiglas that swings down for a reminder when I release the tension.

The photo below shows a wooden block held to the top of the door covering the belt with a pair of rare-earth magnets. From time to time, I switch between using standard steel blade guides, cool blocks, and a Carter Stabilizer guide. I drilled the block to hold those items not in current use.

The final photo has nothing to do with the subject at hand, but while I’m writing about the band saw, I thought I’d show it. This is a shop-made bracket I mounted to the back of the band saw frame to secure a ‘relocated’ dust port. My band saw is one of four tools along this wall that I connect to a single dust piping drop. This ‘relocation’ makes the band saw connection point at roughly the same height as the other three tools – and eliminates a lot of bending.

-- Dave O.

6 comments so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4574 days

#1 posted 05-10-2010 09:24 PM

I’m with you on this. To the degree possible, I store ever item I use with a particular tool as close to the tool as possible. I really have a “place for everything” in my shop. The challenge is keeping everything in its place.

Few things bug me more than when I use my tape measure at a tool (e.g. miter saw) and then set it down near the tool and half an hour later I can’t find the tape measure because it is not in its place. For me, it is things like tape measures, pencils, compasses, small squares, calipers, etc. that cause me the most grief. I’ve never misplaced my table saw.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Dave Owen's profile

Dave Owen

254 posts in 4573 days

#2 posted 05-10-2010 09:59 PM

Funny Rich! I’ve never misplaced my table saw either, but I often accuse my long-dead Grandpa of sneaking in and hiding just about everything else in my shop.

-- Dave O.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 4785 days

#3 posted 05-10-2010 10:37 PM

The only thing I loose is my train of thought.


View ND2ELK's profile


13494 posts in 5273 days

#4 posted 05-11-2010 02:26 AM

I want to do this but have not got around to doing it yet. Good idea and thanks for the inspiration to get it done.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4614 days

#5 posted 05-11-2010 11:52 AM

thankĀ“s for the reminder …............ now where is my brain I thought I parked it here somewhere

I like your solutions around the bandsaw


View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4833 days

#6 posted 07-05-2010 03:03 PM

Just saw this Dave. Nice storage solution. Easy to reach, but out of the way when not needed.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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