Five years later, Workshop Remodel. Going from pretty to functional #1: Demolition

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Blog entry by Craftsman on the lake posted 01-15-2014 09:41 PM 1669 reads 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Five years later, Workshop Remodel. Going from pretty to functional series Part 2: Wheels for everything »

At least five years ago I cleaned out an old garrison garage at the family home, took out a center wall and made a 25×25 ft shop. It looked great. Really nice. Everything in it’s place, drafting table, bulletin board, Dry erase marker board. All my power tools on one side where the dust collector was and an assembly area on the other side. I made a ‘new fangled bench’ which to this day is a nice bench. The original shop form back then can be seen at my workshop page.
The shop functioned and I’ve made a lot of neat things over the years. Coming from a sort of woodworking newbie, asking a lot of questions, and developing some skills. Since then, this year, I’ve finally gotten to the point where our whole house remodel is done enough to be comfortable even though I’ve got lots of odds and ends to complete. Some of those odds and ends is furniture. I’ve decided to stop and redo the shop first.
It still functions but I’ve really sort of worn it out a bit. I need to rethink and redo the dust collection system. The way I put it together was okay but it’s finally falling apart and doesn’t do the best job of dust collection. I’ve acquired more power tools and keeping them on one side of the shop makes for a crowded situation. I have to remodel.
The first thing to do is to get rid of a large against the wall workbench with lots of drawers in it. Today, I started that. I pulled out the drawers and stacked them. The stuff in them I realize is mostly hoarders stuff and it can be relocated or thrown away. My older brother had built the bench years ago before I inherited it. It was a good bench but sort of useless. He was the kind of guy who over built things by a factor of 10x. What a a job knocking it apart. Spikes the size of my finger to hold it together. I finally got it into the truck ready to haul to the dump.
I have this thing about projects that require demolition. I like to build things but tearing things down is a drag. I have to force myself to start the demolition and when it’s done I feel the obstacle to my doing something is getting by the demolition part. I’m glad this part is done.

Plans for the shop:
~Redo the dust collection system using pvc and connected only to the ‘chip’ making tools like planer, jointer and router table.
~Moving the fine dust tools to the previous bench side of the room and connecting them to a large shop vac which I think exits less dust. Bringing just dust making tools too the vac should handle the load pretty good.
~Taking my table saw off the metal stand and putting it on a wooden one that is a bit lower (I’m not that tall), and building a dust encloser with vac beneath it.
~ Giving away my ‘new fangled workbench’ to my future son in law. (He’s indicated he wants it) and building an assembly table that is the same height as the table saw so it doubles as an outfeed table.
~Putting my much used 12” compound sliding miter saw on a mobile cart with wings that is the same height as the outfeed table and table saw so longer wood can be supported by them.
~ Replacing burned out ballasts in some lights.
~ Moving most used clamps and other tools to the new assembly table.
~ Building in a corner of the outfeed table with holes and vac to collect dust while sanding.
~ Integrating the Kreg pocket hole jig into the assembly bench as I use it often.
~ Integrating one pop-up stop in the assembly bench for planing and stopping wood during routing.
~ Making one side of the bench with two pipe clamps to use as a vise.
~ Designing the bench top over hang wide enough and thin enough to use as a clamping edge. I find that I clamp woods down a lot instead of putting them in a vise or using a stop.
~ I find that drawers, even closed, fill up with sawdust. I want cabinets or drawers inside cabinets for the assembley table. Still dusty but hopefully less and easier to clean out.
Here are a few pictures of today’s demolition. With this done, things will start happening. The renovation includes a thorough cleaning and repair of wall areas too.
Where the bench was before today

The bench headed for the dump.

The only thing left.. the drawers

An old picture. You can see the bench I tore out on the left.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

9 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35270 posts in 5450 days

#1 posted 01-15-2014 10:15 PM

Since you have to do some light work. The manager at the VFW hall where we have our woodworking meetings told me that they converted to LED style lights. They kept the same light fixtures and replaced them with the ballasts that support the new LED tubes.

I don’t know what I’m talking about other than he said they didn’t replace the metal fixtures but converted them to LED’s and they are saving over $500.00 a month on electricity for the hall.

You might check them out and maybe spend some money to save some money.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View woodsmithshop's profile


1423 posts in 4595 days

#2 posted 01-15-2014 10:21 PM

I have to do the same thing every so often, you think that you have a more efficient, or easier way sometimes it is true sometimes not. but, you have to try, I think it is just getting tired of doing things the same way all the time, or looking at the same configuration of the shop that gets old after a while, so you have to change.

-- Smitty!!!

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3809 posts in 4487 days

#3 posted 01-15-2014 10:31 PM

thanks Karson. During the house remodel I put in LED’s whenever I could and will eventually convert over completely, I love them. In the case of the shop though. I have lots of good lighting, Fixtures that will hold 20 four foot tubes. I have each fixture half filled with two tubes, which works out great. Ten florescent tubes is about $12. That’s about the price for one LED. If I was in the shop every day, all day, it might make a difference. At the cost though it would take a long time to notice the savings with how I use them.

For those of you still liking incandescent bulbs. The other day congress put a hold on the efficiency limit for them. Since 90% of the electricity goes out as heat and 10% light, you could heat the shop with them. I don’t think the bulb companies will go back to making them though. they’ve already tooled up for newer stuff.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4353 days

#4 posted 01-15-2014 10:40 PM

spring fever has hit early…lol…go for it dan, make it how you want it, fe sure…and have an enjoyable time doing it…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View RHaynes's profile


113 posts in 2670 days

#5 posted 01-16-2014 01:24 AM

Wow, when you said overbuilt, you weren’t kidding. Holy [email protected]&!!!

-- "Sometimes the creative process requires foul language." -- Charles Neil.

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 4032 days

#6 posted 01-16-2014 04:06 AM

cleaning and redoing stations is fun! you’ll thank yourself later. are you going to repurpose those drawers into…more storage holders? you could rip off the fronts, and put some nice cherry on the front.
my two cents.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3809 posts in 4487 days

#7 posted 01-16-2014 05:05 AM

The drawers were made when I was in high school in 1973, forty years ago. they’re just plywood and pine, lap jointed. No runners so they always opened hard. The fronts are plywood with formica on them. It was all the rage back then. So, if I can’t find use for them as boxes I’ll just toss them. I try not to ‘collect’ too much stuff I won’t use lately. And when I redo the shop it will mostly be birch plywood with 2×10’s cut in multiple pieces to size to use for internal framing. I find that spruce, jointed and planed can be made to any configuration and is very cost effective.
I love to work in oak, cherry, maple, and walnut, but for my shop furniture, I try to do a good job but it’s structural and I can’t put all that money into it. Functional and quickly made is my goal. I try to make what I can do with the shop as the stuff that looks better than the shop. The goal is the shop products, not the shop for pretty.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 4032 days

#8 posted 01-17-2014 05:21 AM

cheap and functional is always good. how’s your winter weather this year? are you getting more of the cold than usual? Do you run a heater while out in your shop? sometimes its too cold in my shop to work. but once I get out there; then I get in to working ; then its ok.
Our temps, here lately, has been 30 to 35 at night; and 58 to mid 70’s of late. It’s summer; In mid January. we’re really going to pay for this later. Wild fires, and water rationing, with higher pay for products that uses water. ie, food. Loving it in the Napa Valley…

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3809 posts in 4487 days

#9 posted 01-17-2014 06:44 AM

Well, DD, here in Maine we had a few weeks of the unprecedented ‘winter vortex’ basically about 15 during the day and 0 to -10 at night. Once it broke we had a balmy 45 and now it’s settling to seasonably normal about 30/20 day/night. It’s supposed to get colder next week tough. I run the heater about 20 minutes then go out into the shop. Work is fine then and in about an hour I’m in my t-shirt. During the coldest days we just hunkered down and did some netflix and great football games in the playoffs. Patriots are all the rage up here.

When the stuff in the stores goes up because of the weather and disasters we simply move to other things. Not everything comes from the same place. Here in Maine we pull from every corner of the country as our growing season is good but short… so fresh supplies of stuff are only a few months out of the year. We don’t sweat it much, just switch from carrots to turnips so to speak. Mainers are notorious frugality people. If things go up then they can keep it. We’re used to adapting. Good to hear from you.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

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