My Take on the Restricted Space/Budget Shop. #3: What Can You Turn Out in a Shop on the Cheap?

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 01-06-2012 12:21 AM 10449 reads 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: The Beating Heart of the Shop Part 3 of My Take on the Restricted Space/Budget Shop. series Part 4: Garage to Shop in 2 1/2 Minutes »

All of the stationary stuff that I described in the last post cost around $1500 or less with a little shrewd horse trading and not really a lot of looking on CL. I said that my investment might be as high as $2500. The rest is all standard stuff like drills, sanders routers, grinder etc. and far too boring to go into. The main gist here is that you can do it with quality tools and still not spend a fortune. Maybe more importantly, it needn’t take up a lot of space.

The ShopSmith comes with very good casters that lift and lower and it is very easy to move around . The SPT cart is on casters and of course so is the HF DC. I can set up in a minute or so and put things away just as easily. There is no feeling of “Oh I have to drag all that stuff out” at all.

As for the quality that you can achieve in this space on this budget, I’d say you’d be hard pressed to tell which of my projects were made here and which at the big shop at home. And incidentally, the most highly rated project I have posted since I joined the site ( ), while built at my home shop was done almost entirely with the old 1950 ShopSmith 10ER ( and a router.

I’ve never been a believer in the high end tools. I have no problem with those who love them. They just aren’t worth it to me. I think that the quality has to be in the hands of the craftsman and if it’s there, he can produce fine results with less than fine tools. If it’s not there, the finest tools money can buy won’t improve his quality much at all. Why do I feel like I shouldn’t have said that?

Anyway this is a wrap. I hope I have helped in some way to get some of you into better organization and better tools for your space and budget.

Thanks for looking in


-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

9 comments so far

View degoose's profile


7279 posts in 4321 days

#1 posted 01-06-2012 12:38 AM

Was a great journey that you took us on… I also agree that the tools have to be good quality… not just the most expensive…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View StumpyNubs's profile


7837 posts in 3767 days

#2 posted 01-06-2012 12:58 AM

That is one sweeeeeeeeeet looking Shorsmith in the link you posted!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4270 days

#3 posted 01-06-2012 01:06 AM

thank you paul , i loved your blog on all of this, it sure inspires to do good with the tools we have , and you gave some good advice…yep…now its time to tee i bet…...grab a cold one, get the golf cart motored up and hit the green….........

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

View dspahn's profile


85 posts in 3347 days

#4 posted 01-06-2012 01:08 AM

The first link in the post isn’t working for me….

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3954 days

#5 posted 01-06-2012 01:13 AM

I enjoyed the series.
Like stumpy said above that is an amazing shopsmith in the above link.
I wish I had a speed reducer for mine like that one.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 3901 days

#6 posted 01-06-2012 01:24 AM

I never imagined a shopsmith doing all that.

The first link to you project is not working. The closing parentheses is part of the URL:
it should be:

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View rance's profile


4274 posts in 4127 days

#7 posted 01-06-2012 01:33 AM

I’d call that a Double-Oops. Paul, consider making use of the link button above, it makes the read easier on the eyes. :) And thanks for taking us on this journey of your workshop.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View shipwright's profile


8638 posts in 3764 days

#8 posted 01-06-2012 02:32 AM

The link is fixed.

Rance, I’d love to. How? You can PM me.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Schwieb's profile


1914 posts in 4428 days

#9 posted 01-06-2012 07:15 PM

Quality balanced with value is a winner for me too. It amazes me that there are those that will spend so much more for Festools for example. Sure they are nice tools but does it really make any difference. Tools don’t make the project, the guys using them does. I like how you think Paul.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

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