ferstler's Workshop

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Workshop by ferstler posted 10-12-2008 06:56 PM 5795 reads 7 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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342 posts in 4854 days

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Tallahassee, FL
United States

My shop is a small one, at 240 square feet with three small rooms. Consequently, most my heavy work is done out in front of the place, on a big deck. I live in Tallahassee, Florida, so for 9 months of the year you can work outdoors OK. The remaining three months you sweat if you go outdoors. The backyard is a wooded area, so I have a cheap dust collector (a GMC model) that simply blows sawdust out into the open when it is hooked up to the saws, planers, jointers, etc. The approach works fine. The shop is fed electricity by two separate feeds (25 amp and 20 amp, both 120 volt), so the dust collector can be operated without dragging down the juice for the tools feeding it dust.

The photos do not show everything (I would need at least a dozen pictures to do that, I think), but the ones here give a general idea.

Number one shows my two band saws (both of which I have reviewed in the review section of this site) as well as my jointer/planer (also reviewed elsewhere). Above them are two circular saws: one is a Skil Mag-77 (a real powerhouse) and the other is a small Craftsman 5.5-inch trim saw (out of site in this shot) that is in great contrast to the tank-like Skil. Hanging above and behind the Ridgid band saw is a Ryobi reciprocating saw. To the left of the picture is the second room, and you can see part of a Craftsman bench sander in there. To the right you can see some vacuum hoses hanging on the door that leads outside to the deck.

Number two shows my Delta router/shaper to the left (with a wooden table extension attached, enlarging the work surface), plus my Ridgid and Firestorm hand routers, small Ryobi miter saw, large Ridgid sliding miter saw on its stand (reviewed elsewhere on this site), and my small Ryobi folding jobsite saw (under the miiter stand). Lots of hand tools are also shown, and to the very far right you will see the edge of my Ryobi thickness planer behind the bench vice. Note also note the air conditioner. This shop is kept comfortable year round.

Number three shows the big bench, with nailers and air hoses hanging behind. Two shop vacs are below, on a bench section that can roll out, and to their right is a GMC dust collector that only has to blow dust out into the wooded area that is my lot when I work outdoors. Also on the shelves above the bench are a nice GMC three-blade hand plane (a surprisingly good tool for that company) and a later model Ryobi bisket saw that is vastly better than the company’s first version. Several manual hand planers are on shelves also, as are home-built gauge jigs for aligning planers and saws. The bench also holds a small Delta jointer that is used for small-scale and rough and tumble work. Many hand tools are to the right, and note the dehumidifier on the floor to the right to keep the place dry when it is not hot enough to require the AC unit.

Picture four shows the 15-inch Ridgid drill press. I have installed a larger wooden work platform above the cast-iron surface to better deal with delicate wood drilling work. To the left, out of the photo is a smaller bench-mounted Ryobi drill press I use for metal work. Shelves higher up on that side hold many drill bits and a Drill Doctor machine is just out of the picture. A Ridgid compressor is to the left of the floor drill (which itself sits on a base to get the worktable up higher) and to the right is a bench with a Ryobi scroll saw. The high shelf to the right has several Dremel type tools.

Picture five shows the sanding section, with another shot of the Craftsman bench sander, as well as a Ryobi spindle sander in the corner. Above that is a vintage Craftsman belt sander, as well as a 6-inch Ridgid random-orbit disc sander, Ryobi detail sander, and a tiny Craftsman contour sander. In the center is a small belt sander for detail work that I picked up from Harbor Freight, cheap. A battery-powered leaf blower (used to remove sawdust from the workdeck) and an angle grinder are on the top shelf to the left and center.

The final shot (I wish I could post more) shows the several impact wrenches (including a Ridgid low-profile unit) and several hand drills, both battery and cord powered. The tool chests hold lots of additional tools, and there are plenty of screws, nuts, and bolts in the parts cabinets.

That is pretty much it for my shop. What I wish I could have is a serious table saw (although the little Ryobi jobsite stand at least has a Freud Industrial ripping blade installed for decent work and I have aligned it about as good as it can be aligned), but there is only so much room in the place and money is also an issue. Times are getting tough.

Howard Ferstler

26 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 5155 days

#1 posted 10-13-2008 12:01 AM

Howard, you have organized your shop well and you have accumulated a nice set of tools to play with as well. Nice idea on the charging stations as well. Putting them on the wall saves valuable bench space. You have a nice shop. I would enjoy working in there.

Thanks for the pictures. I really enjoyed the tour.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View grumpycarp's profile


257 posts in 5079 days

#2 posted 10-13-2008 01:29 AM

I like tidy! A+

View christopheralan's profile


1126 posts in 5054 days

#3 posted 10-13-2008 01:44 AM

Thanks for sharing. Now I have to clean up the puddle of drool on my laptop….

-- christopheralan

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 5056 days

#4 posted 10-13-2008 03:45 AM

I wish I had a shop this dust free. Nice collection of tools and very well organized.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View ND2ELK's profile


13494 posts in 5107 days

#5 posted 10-13-2008 05:15 AM

Great looking shop. You are my kind of guy. A place for everything and everything in its place. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View James Lango's profile

James Lango

186 posts in 4867 days

#6 posted 10-13-2008 05:23 AM

Looks like a nice shop to “hide away” in. Seperate from the house. Well organized and super clean!
Thanks 4 posting.

-- Lo[email protected]

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 5037 days

#7 posted 10-13-2008 09:59 AM

Great looking shop and a great selection of tools!

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 5006 days

#8 posted 10-14-2008 01:57 AM

You have a real cool shop.

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 5208 days

#9 posted 10-29-2008 09:20 PM

Its really great how organized you are. I can speak from experience… you have to be tidy in a small shop. Well done.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Todd Thomas 's profile

Todd Thomas

4969 posts in 4782 days

#10 posted 01-08-2009 01:16 PM

Man I would kill for a shop like that…...clean…..... organized…I bet you can even find tools as you need them….nice looking shop..

-- Todd, Oak Ridge, TN, Hello my name is Todd and I'm a Toolholic, I bought my last tool 10 days, no 4 days, oh heck I bought a tool on the way here! †

View Ed Elizondo's profile

Ed Elizondo

81 posts in 4856 days

#11 posted 05-23-2009 04:41 AM

This is really a well organized shop. I see that you are a Ridgid fan. How do they work for you. I use to have the whole ridgid set but had to sell them when I went to Iraq. I just knew that when I got back they would be rusted up with them being in storage for three years. I am going to pick up the whole lot back up as they are really within my budget and the performance is good. I just need to get a place like yours to really get going.

-- Ed E. " Taking one board at a time "

View ferstler's profile


342 posts in 4854 days

#12 posted 05-23-2009 05:28 PM

My Ridgid gear works very well, indeed. I did have to diddle with the band saw to get it to not vibrate so much. Others who have purchased it have had no such problems, so I imagine that it is always the luck of the draw when buying such items.

My shop is both air conditioned (in the summer) and dehumidified, and so when the place is closed up I do not have much of an issue with rust or mildew. I also have plenty of Borax powder scattered around to kill off any intruding bugs that want to make the place a home.

Of course, unless one stores the gear in a climate-controlled storage facility when going somewhere for a long time, it is a good idea to just sell and start over as you plan to do.

I posted an exterior picture of the shop on this site some time back, and I was hoping to post it again in this reply, too, but I’ll be darned if I can find a way to do it. I will see if I can add a photo to the original group that shows the exterior.

Anyway, regarding the shop layout and construction, the main (central) section is just an old 10×12 storage shed. I installed a small room on the back (5×11) to store garden gear a while back, and then a short while afterwards installed the wing on the right (9×7), with the roof dovetailing into the original roof. The building sits on concrete piers and 4×4 timbers, with 2×4 and 2×6 PT framing under the floor, although the final addition did have posts concreted into the ground on the far right. Standard house trailer hurricane strap tiedowns anchor the four corners of the original building.

The original roof rafters were on 24-inch centers, but I added new trusses, giving the area 12-inch centers. (I was concerned that tree branches would slam into the roof during a storm.) The back addition has the rafters on 12 inch centers, too, but the addition on the right only has 16-inch centers. The orginal building’s floor was 3/4-inch plywood, but I nailed and glued an additional 1/2-inch layer. The additions both have 1/2-inch and 3/8-inch plywood sheets nailed and glued together for flooring. This thicker flooring (1.25-inch in the main area and 7/8-inch elsewhere) does allow for better stability with the tools and benches.

The original deck has been enlarged twice, and is not big enough to do the job.

Howard Ferstler

View ferstler's profile


342 posts in 4854 days

#13 posted 05-23-2009 05:34 PM

Well, there is no space for the additional picture, so you will have to hunt up “Workshop Exterior” and see what the place looks like. I posted the exterior photo 222 days ago. My, how time flies.

Note the electrical outlet to the right of the door. I have since added a second to the right of the guy in the picture. That lets me better hook up extra gear without having to run long cords through the open door to interior jacks.

Howad Ferstler

View bake's profile


389 posts in 5011 days

#14 posted 11-11-2009 06:45 AM

Wow, talk about 100 gallons on a 50 gallon drum. Great shop, so clean and well organized. I wish my house looked like that!
I also own several Ridgid tools and have been very happy with them.

-- I love the smell of Home Depot in the morning, it smells like.......carpentry. Bake, Bar Lazy U Woodworks, Lehi,UT.

View a1Jim's profile


118309 posts in 4910 days

#15 posted 11-11-2009 08:55 AM

A great shop well organised and lots of good tools too.


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