Several new shop improvements + an "oops" moment

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Project by JasonD posted 08-13-2012 04:56 AM 2884 views 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This weekend has been crazy for me (annual weapon qualification for the PD – I shot 110 out of 120 :) ), but I still managed to get a fair amount of shop time in. My main goal over the next month or so is to completely revamp my shop and add a number of improvements.

Most of my work in the past has been with hand tools, but my wife bought me a new table saw and I quickly learned that dust collection was a must. Not having the extra cash for a dedicated DC, I picked up a mini dust separator and some hose to attach to my shop vac; works great. The difference is night and day. (picture 5)

I also needed to move my chop saw to an “out of the way” area. I pretty much only use it for home improvement type work and not my general wood working projects. I have a decent-sized area free underneath where my attic ladder lowers down from, but I can’t put anything there permanently. So, I used a sheet of 3/4” CDX to build a simple rolling cart / cabinet. Eventually, I’m going to build some fold-away side supports for cutting longer stock. The case joinery is tongue / dado or locking rabbet; not sure what the proper name for the joint is. The finish is barn red Old Fashioned Milk Paint. (picture 1)

I didn’t have a “proper” scrap bin in the past and my plywood cut offs were literally stacked / piled next to the front door of the shop. Finding anything in it was a real pain. So, I used some scrap 1/2” CDX to make a simple scrap bin; simple dado joinery all-around. (picture 2)

I also needed some place to put my glasses, iPod, etc to keep them dust free and safe from damage. I used some scrap Poplar (salvaged from a paper goods pallet). To provide a good dust seal, the lid and box have mating rabbets. The box joinery is simple miters cut with a chisel and cleaned up with a block plane using a jig on my shooting board. The finish is barn red Old Fashioned Milk Paint. (pictures 3 and 4)

One of the first rules I learned about wood working is to avoid the shop when tired. I’m usually pretty good about this, but the momentum I had this weekend got the best of me and I worked this evening when I got back from the range anyway.

Thankfully, the damage was to my bench only.

When breaking down large sheets of plywood, I use a simple shop-made straight-edge guide with a circular saw. My usual method is to clamp the guide in line with the cut line, open up my end vise, line up the cut line in the center open area between the end of the bench and the vise chop, clamp the sheet to the bench, support the off-cut with saw horses, and make the cut.

Some how, on my 3rd cut of breaking down sheet goods, I misaligned my cut line and sawed a 1/2” deep cut right across the back of my bench. After I realized what I’d done, I drew square lines across the bench 3/4” apart, and used my guide and circular saw; defining the outer edges of a dado. After another two cuts down the center, I used a large chisel to break out the bulk of the waste and followed that up with my router plane to clean up the bottom of the dado. One evening this week, I’m going to cut some scrap to glue into the dado. :) (picture 6).

10 comments so far

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 3908 days

#1 posted 08-13-2012 11:05 AM

Nice pics and info on something I also need to do…..CLEAN / ORGANIZE my shop. Until I read the end of your descriptions, I thought you had put the dado on the bench in on purpose! I would fit some trak into it and see what happens. It might come in handy and if that doesnt work out, you can always fill it in later.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 4422 days

#2 posted 08-13-2012 11:13 AM

I like jaykaypurs’ track idea. Also you could leave the groove,might come in handy for glue ups.

-- Life is good.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4730 days

#3 posted 08-13-2012 03:57 PM

+ for the track.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View DocSavage45's profile


9071 posts in 4342 days

#4 posted 08-13-2012 04:58 PM

My thought too. LOL! But it is your bench. :-) By the way the pros call it a creative moment….LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View JayT's profile


6460 posts in 3710 days

#5 posted 08-13-2012 05:14 PM

Another vote for track. It might just come in handy for extra stops, hold-downs, etc.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View JasonD's profile


180 posts in 4361 days

#6 posted 08-13-2012 08:11 PM

lol…looks like I’m going to have to put some thought into keeping it; maybe fill it with a friction fit level insert that can be changed out with a couple different inserts that protrude from the bench at standard sizes (1/8”, 1/4”, 1/2”, etc).

Makes me think about Bob Roz’s split top bench and how he uses pieces of stock to make interchangeable planing stops of different heights.

View exelectrician's profile


2339 posts in 3927 days

#7 posted 08-13-2012 09:00 PM

Nix the track and go with your gut. If you wanted a track it would go 90 degrees from the oops! cut. I nearly bought a bench from a guy that had track all over it. The track is just not strong enough to withstand the force a vice can put out so you end up with bent and ripped track.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View a1Jim's profile


118334 posts in 5076 days

#8 posted 08-13-2012 09:08 PM

If you have the track try it out ,if you don’t like it you can still do an inlay later. Opps happen ( new bumper sticker) :))


View Bricofleur's profile


1484 posts in 4692 days

#9 posted 08-15-2012 05:29 PM

Great additions, and a new design opportunity as well.



-- Learn from yesterday, work today and enjoy success tomorrow. --

View NedB's profile


659 posts in 5065 days

#10 posted 08-15-2012 06:00 PM

Looks like a lot of progress, and so long as nothing red flowed out of you, it’s all good, and can be adjusted or fixed..turn it into a design feature!

-- Ned - 2B1ASK1

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