Creating a Workshop #1: Creating a "shop" -- making it up as I go

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Blog entry by PCDub posted 07-16-2018 01:54 PM 585 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I have a table saw and drill press which are both inside the house next door (to which I have access, l.o.o.o.n.g story…), I have a lathe (acquired in Dec.) in my basement (along with all hand tools), and my bandsaw (acquired in May) is in my garage. (I also have a DeWalt 735 planer but it is not yet set up anywhere.) I had originally thought that I would set up an integrated shop in the basement, and perhaps install a bulkhead door to make it easier to transport stock and finished work in and out.

However, issues to consider if I use the basement:

1) I’d have to maneuver the tools into the basement via the narrow side door and steep basement stairs. (a one-time hardship)
2) Dust production… keeping it away from mechanicals as well as out of the rest of the house
3) Limited arrangement—there are some cement block walls that interfere with full use of the space, of course the furnace can’t be moved, laundry is down there, etc.

Recently I’ve been considering using the (unattached) garage as a shop. It’s small a one car garage built in 1915 (cars were a lot smaller then!) Due to a recent ‘divorce’ (another reference to the l.o.o.o.o.g story…), I have been able to get rid of a lot of “stuff” and can now imagine new arrangements. The garage is on a slab, is not insulated, and has a nearly flat roof (pitch = 1 in 12). So, not ideal… BUT last fall I coated the roof with an elastomeric coating that is supposed to last 20 years, so I’m no longer worried about it leaking (for at least a few years!)

I am now thinking about setting up the shop in the garage—my worries are related to allowing the machines to sit out in the cold all winter (Michigan). I’m assuming with proper care, I can decrease or eliminate the possibility of rust, though I’m somewhat concerned about the various rubber/plastic parts of all the tools. Will the cold harm belts etc.? I imagine that if I tried to USE the machines in the cold, there will be problems with slipping, but in the long term, I wonder if any permanent issues will arise if the equipment is at the mercy of the yearly swings in temperature/humidity.

I’m considering whether I can insulate the garage so that I will be able to introduce a source of heat if I need to work out there in cool/cold weather. However, I cannot keep it heated or cooled year ‘round.

The pluses are that I can clear almost all of the garage to use as a workshop. There is a general purpose workbench on one side, with shelves above it. I park my bicycle and scooter there (can be rolled out when needed). Table saw and bandsaw are mobile. Will build a planer stand that can be moved. That should work for being able to use all of the machines with enough space around them.

I am in the planning stages of designing a woodworking bench (split Roubo type) ... that’s another story!

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