Tip and Tricks for woodworkers #3: Setting up a workshop on a budget. Part 3#

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Blog entry by Bill Schonfelder posted 02-08-2015 02:16 PM 1677 reads 1 time favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Part 2 Setting up a workshop on a budget Part 3 of Tip and Tricks for woodworkers series no next part

Been taking down Christmas Lights a little behind on my schedule.

Setting up a workshop on a budget.
Page 2
Welcome back to those who followed my first blog on this topic and welcome to the new ones just ones just now following. Has it been a whole week already? Well, let me start where I left off. (takes a sip of that wonderful bean coffee), Oh yes now I remember, we were talking about lighting. I guess the next topic is how do we get rid of all that saw dust we are about to create.

Dust Collection
In all the years I have done my shops I have learned and this by hard knocks that the dust collection is very important. I have done the ole’ air compressor blower to blow off my tools and the broom to clean up my shop before. But this shop is going to be sharing a lot of space with things that don’t like dust too well, like my nice Motorcycle. Here are some of the best ways to eliminate all that dust without breaking your check book.

• A Shop Vac that has a blower mounted head on it. The kind that blows leaves.
• Small dust pans and little brooms hanging near your tools or where you work.
• Make sure your tool has a port to accept a 2” shop vac hose. If not I will show you how you can get around this later on.

That should about cover the shop tools to get started with.
Now the fun part is about to begin. I’ll try and see if I can post pictures to help you with this. You are going to need a scale or (unit of measure) to work with. I like to use ¼” = 1’. This means for every ¼” square on a ruler it represents a full foot. Now there are ways to cheat this. You go out and buy some graph paper from your local office store, or you can just use the good ole wood stick ruler. The reason you want to do this is see how much room you have to walk around your tools and get a general idea of what to layout. You don’t want to put down all your stationary tools that are heavy only to find you don’t have anyway to plug it in. There are many free online tools to help you sort out your shop. I just did a google search under room layout online and found quite a bunch.
Found this information on a google search under “scale graph paper”.
“If you draw your shop and all its contents true to scale, then you can plan most things on paper first without having to drag your tools across the shop. Of course, try it out in real life after you’ve worked out your basic design, but you can immediately see if you have room for a particular tool if everything is drawn proportional to each other.
Drawing it to scale means that if your shop is shown 30 ft. long by 20 ft. wide, you draw it at 15” x 10” on a piece of paper to keep the proportions the same. Then you can see visually what you can fit in that space without having to add up measurements over and over again.
You’ll enjoy the ability to experiment, add to the design at your leisure, and to use your drawings to determine how much material you need by measuring directly from the paper.
Plus, it’s exciting to start with a clean slate and sculpt your dream shop that includes everything you want and solves your biggest frustrations.
If you go to Staples or and buy some graph paper, where the grid has ¼” squares, you can decide that a ¼” square = 6” in real life. So, 20 ft. would mean 40 squares on graph paper. From the example above, if you want to draw a 17” line, then it would be just under 3 squares on the paper. This keeps the math simple, and you can quickly tell if stuff will fit in your shop space, notice at a glance if you have enough clearance for yourself, or how much outfeed space you’re leaving.
If you make your drawings of each tool by hand, you can cut them out and move them around on a drawing of your shop space drawn to the same scale. When you think you have a good layout that fits and follows your shop design principles, use small pieces of tape to hold them in place and try it out in your shop by going through the motions of your most common processes. Tweak the design until you’re happy.”
Once you draw your shop building, garage, or basement to scale, start doing the same thing for your workstations and machines.
Ok, using graph paper, say your jointer is 5 ft. long, or 10 squares total. Then, say the jointer knives are located 2-1/2 ft. from the edge of the infeed, or 30”. Since each square is 6”, you’ll be 5 squares from the edge. Go into your shop and measure up your machines. You can do just the basic dimensions or you can get more detailed, whatever you like.
If you want to test for proper clearance around each tool, draw 6 ft., 8 ft., and 10 ft. boards, as well as 4 ft. x 8 ft. plywood sheets and cut them out so you can test a variety of clearances.
By drawing your shop perimeter to scale, and all your machines to scale, you can tell right away if things fit within the space and you can start thinking about layout. Photocopy scaled images of all the stuff in your shop and that you plan to put in your shop, cut them out, and move them around your empty shop drawing. This will help you experiment with different scenarios.”
This is just an example of some of the vital information you can find on the net to use in your design.
I am not going to list the many types of programs or stores you can find these things at.

Now you should have a good general idea of where are going to put all of your new tools. You need to take into consideration things like
• Walk space around your tool so you don’t trip on cords or fall into one of your machines.
• A plan on how you want to attack a project. What I like to do is have all of my cutting and planning machines in one area so I can go from one tool to the next tool. Then I like to have all my sanding operations in one area. You get the idea here.
• Again you need to ask yourself, is each of these tools receiving enough light to work with?

One of the things you want to make sure of is that you have enough room for your work table and shelving. You do not want your tools to interfere with those items. As you can see you are going to need to take in some thought in how you want it set up. I am just giving you some of my experiences over the years. I pretty much use the same technique in each of my shops.
Here is an example of what I mean,
When I am sanding my toys, I don’t need a lot of space on the belt sanders or the drum sanders, but when I made my father in law’s handle for his historic plow I needed more room to get the sanding done. If I had stationary tools (like a huge sander with a table) I would not be able to use that tool. The handles I made where over 7 ft long after they were cut and finished. So what I did to use those tools was move out of the way the bench top ones to make room to sand. All of my stationary tools have wheels and are able to move around the shop. I did the same with my work table. Like I mentioned before I will explain in detail how you can achieve the same.
You will not be able to plan every scenario in your shop. That is why I will tell you later how to make your tools moveable and easier to store when not in use. This way you can get the full benefit of your shop.

(Pauses and gazes off in the distance, thinking what he was going to say next)
Let’s see we covered the Shop Layout, Dust collection, um lighting. What else did I miss? Tell you what let’s stop here and wait till next week. Then we can all jump into our trusty autos and head into town to start shopping for some of our new tools. In the meantime thank you for visiting Bill’s fireside chats. Please feel free to share and like or comment on anything you read here.


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