fnhguy's Workshop

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Workshop by fnhguy posted 05-22-2015 06:43 PM 744 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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2 posts in 1742 days

Evansville, WI
United States

I’ve recently started to take an interest in woodworking that transcends the basic dabbling here and there that I’ve done in the past. This new interest largely started with a suggestion from my son (7 years old) that we make a bird cage for grandma for Mother’s Day this year. In typical fashion for me, I gave myself far too little time to make it how I would like so we decided maybe the gift will be a random surprise after mother’s day instead and I’d be able to build it as I had hoped rather than trying to rush it. But I’d like to stick with it, I enjoy working with my hands and find it to be a good release of the day to day stress from my day job (network/security engineer).

I rent half of a duplex now and I don’t have a basement to turn into a workshop. Fortunately I do have a tandem attached garage stall that I’ve slowly been getting setup to my liking. As I’ve been acquiring new tools and working through this bird cage project, I’ve been adjusting my space as I learn what works best for me. The goal in the short term is to get the first half of the garage setup with some mobile work spaces and tools that I can move into position while I’m working and park in my driveway. The long term goal is to consider somewhere else to store my 2nd vehicle that now occupies the back half of my garage. I rarely drive it but have a strong “two is one, one is none” mentality due to tighter finances since my divorce. Anyways, if I find a place to store it I plan to expand the shop into the second half of the garage while still using mobile work spaces when needed in the first half for larger projects.

Because I rent, my electrical situation at present is limited. I have a single circuit in my garage and I’m unable to run my fluorescent shop lights, table saw and shop vac as a dust collector at the same time. I’m going to reach out to my landlord and see if he would consider adding a circuit. The average tenant wouldn’t need it, but I’d gladly foot the bill to have an electrician come in if he would allow it.

My present workbench consists of two cheap unfinished oak 24×34.5×24” base cabinets each with a drawer and cupboard. I glued and screwed together two 3/4” 2×8’ ACX panels for a surface with 2×4’s between the cabinets for support. I plan to build a proper bench with better storage down the road but this works for now and came at no cost since I was previously using it indoors as my reloading/gunsmithing bench – I repurposed an old desk for working on my guns and I’ll build a smaller footprint sturdy stand for my reloading press. For extra surface to work on for now I’ve been using two adjustable height saw horses with a sheet of plywood, eventually I’ll build up a rolling bench to put in place when I need it and stow it out of the way when I’m parking in the garage.

I’ve been acquiring tools through Craigslist and a coworker who used to own investment properties that got out of the rental business as well as some purchased new when I grew impatient waiting for good bargains on the used market. Not the best quality for some of them but for a starter shop they do the job, as I familiarize myself more with woodworking and identify the areas which I would recognize the most gains from an improved tool, I’ll slowly replace them with a better model.


Rigid R4512 10” Cast Iron Table Saw
Rigid 14-gal Shop Vac
Rigid OF60150HV 6-gal Pancake Compressor
Rigid R24012 1.5HP Compact Router
Craftsman 315.174710 1.5HP Router
Craftsman 113.234800 8.25” RAS ($40 on Craigslist, too cheap to pass up but I’ll may end up selling it)
Craftsman 21237 10” Sliing CMS
Craftsman 315.219140 12” Drill Press
DeWalt 20v Drill
DeWalt 20v Impact Driver
DeWalt 14.4v Drill
DeWalt 1/2” Corded Drill
Bosch 1587AVS Jig Saw
Ryobi Jig Saw
Ryobi Finish Sander
Milwaukee 5” Random Orbit Sander
Porter Cable 18GA Brad Nailer
Porter Cable 18GA Crown Stapler

I believe that covers most of the power tools. I have a wide variety of hand tools and now have a ton of various clamps after I got tired of being held up waiting for glue to dry so I could reclaim the clamps. I started out with a handful of Irwin quick clamps and some spring clamps I had previously and added a couple sets of Bessey F style bar clamp sets (2 12” and 2 6” lengths). The Bessey clamps are great to work with but my budget just doesn’t allow stocking up on these. I was at Harbor Freight picking up a one time use tool for some automotive work and discovered their bar clamps were on sale. A quick look over them and they seemed to be a pretty solid clamp (for the price) and I left with 8 of each in the 6”, 12”, 24” and 36” lengths. They seem to function just as good as the Bessey’s do from a clamping perspective, only downside is the quick release isn’t as easy/smooth as the Bessey’s but given the price I paid they’ll do just fine for now and as they wear out/fail I’ll slowly replace them with better.

Down the road I’d like a band saw, at the moment I’m leaning towards possibly building one since I think I’ll get more saw for my money unless a good used deal can be found. I’d also like to pickup a planer, jointer, belt sander, scroll saw and a real dust collector to replace the shop vac. A lathe might be considered at some point if something used pops up, just to give me something else to play around with. Before I get close to that though I’m going to have to get creative in the storage and workbenches I build so I can have them be mobile when in use but still be able to be stowed away while still fitting at least one car in my garage.

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