The American Craftsman WorkShop #18: Shop Organization Continues

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Blog entry by Todd A. Clippinger posted 01-06-2010 03:30 PM 5714 reads 1 time favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 17: Clearing the Lumber Shelves Part 18 of The American Craftsman WorkShop series Part 19: Lumber Storage Under Control »

Purging the Lumber Rack

Woodworkers naturally have the hoarding instinct and this must be kept in check with strict discipline. The lumber rack has been gathering leftover material and unique pieces of wood for years with little culling to insure the quality of the collection.

I cleared three small shelves first and gave a good stack of wood away to a local LumberJock member. He got a Porter Cable dovetail jig for Christmas and this will keep him busy with making boxes. I had the wood bundled and ready to go for a quick pickup, but while he was loading it up I was unloading more shelves saying, “Get it out of here!”

The dust that has collected over the years is extremely fine. I have been using the shop vac on each board as I pull it out to collect the dust before it gets disturbed. This is horrible stuff to breathe in and I probably should have just worn a mask, but this method did not generate any dust nor did it elicit nary a cough.

Clean as you go...

I was really getting into the cleaning action.

Getting into my work.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

It is amazing how many pieces of wood evoked clear memories of projects past. Some had a specific angle cut, measurement, or drawing on them and I could recall what I was thinking and doing the moment I made the those marks or that cut.

I also found some treasures that had been forgotten. Like the stash of white oak that my brother had shared with me. Some of it has spalted figure. There is not enough even spalting for a large project but perhaps a small Krenov influenced cabinet.

White Oak

Spalted White Oak

I have some reclaimed doug fir that had a previous life as a cross arm on an electric pole.

Reclaimed Doug

I took consideration of the zebra wood that I picked up in Ohio. I got a smokin’ deal compared to what I pay here in Billings. As I recall it was only $8bf compared to the local price of $18bf at the time.

After taking an inventory of the lumber I started putting the keepers back on the shelves. The goal is to not have anything on the floor except material for projects that I am currently working on – not 4 months ago.

Loading Lumber Rack

Another goal is to use more discipline in what I allow myself to store. I have a difficult time letting wood go because I know the potential uses for each piece, but as a business, material is constantly flowing through the shop. I have come to realize that for the most part, most of it is fairly unremarkable and can be purchased when needed. It costs me money to allow overflowing material to slow down my operation.

Nothing is going to waste here, it can either be passed on to another woodworker for their enjoyment, or we can file it in the wood stove to collect the heat value from it.

Share the Love~Share the Excess Wood

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

20 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4430 days

#1 posted 01-06-2010 03:44 PM

Todd, your shop is really beginning to shape up. And I can tell from the second picture that you are really buying into the clean-up. You certainly an inspiration to the rest of us and I can assure you that my wife would be proud of your efforts. She often reminds me of a need to do something similar. :)

This is going to pay benefits from adding needed storage to your shop since we never seem to have enough and it will also simply improve the overall appearance of your shop. As a hobbyist appearance is not that important for me but, in your case, your shop area is one of the first things a client will notice when they walk through the door. Keeping a clean well ordered shop advertises that the same concepts will be translated into work that is going to be done for them.

Nice job. And it would go faster if you could just stay off the phone! :)

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

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4708 days

#2 posted 01-06-2010 03:48 PM

Scott – It’s as if you know me all to well.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Bret's profile


166 posts in 4103 days

#3 posted 01-06-2010 04:31 PM

I love your lumber rack. I’ve got a triton rack hanging on the wall but it’s all ajumble with pieces all over the place stacked on each other widdershins and in danger of falling out and causing still more trouble. Inserting long stock from the end, plus the small area in the middle for short cutoffs, and the face of the thing is useable for hanging things (like an electrical panel, I see) too!

Thanks for getting me thinking again about how to make my little single-garage-bay shop more useable!

-- Woodworking is easy as 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510...

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 4167 days

#4 posted 01-06-2010 04:56 PM

Man you are really in the cleaning mode. Now when are you coming out her to visit and help me organize my shop? ........................................................LOL

Great job man and the shop is really coming alive.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View gizmodyne's profile


1784 posts in 4698 days

#5 posted 01-06-2010 05:03 PM

I have the same problem on a smaller scale. I am going to use up most of my doug fir with my next two cabinet projects.

It is hard to get rid of it, but I applaud you.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View gbear's profile


528 posts in 4708 days

#6 posted 01-06-2010 06:57 PM

We all tend to store too many cut offs but I really like your idea. Build a big rack, stack wood in front of it and then crawl inside and take a nap. The vacuum is a nice touch…makes it look like you’re working but sharp eyes will note that it’s turned OFF. You could move your tv down there too! You da man.

-- gbear, Carmichael, CA

View Rustic's profile


3256 posts in 4205 days

#7 posted 01-06-2010 07:06 PM

Bret—-that sounds like my shop my shop is the front bedroom of a mobile home.

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4483 days

#8 posted 01-06-2010 07:15 PM

Lookin good.

-- Happy woodworking!

View DocStock's profile


13 posts in 3857 days

#9 posted 01-06-2010 07:36 PM

Todd…I also am in the cleanout mode although in a different manner. I moved out of my 3200 sf shop last March and moved everything into a storage shed and my house. I started in the summer to start selling off many of my unused tools and materials (from my business) on Craigslist. I have just recently sold two pieces of old growth walnut. These are solid pieces (not glued up) and are each 21” wide by 1-7/8” thick x 9-6 and 7-4. These were taken out of a retail store that was using them as countertops for their cash and wraps. The guy that bought these wants to use them for his kitchen countertops. He wants me to mill them and make his tops. I will need to joint the width to make 25” but my question is what to clear coat these tops with? Will the butcher block finish work? Also is there an product for filling knots and cracks?
BTW quit sending the Montana weather down to Tulsa please….

-- Glen

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4908 days

#10 posted 01-06-2010 07:56 PM

It’s nice to that hardly any of the boards are going to a land fill.

It’s a shame to see good wood end up in a land fill.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 4566 days

#11 posted 01-06-2010 08:20 PM

C’mon fess up… that second picture you were taking a nap in the lumber rack..the vacuum hose is just there for effect in case the wife wandered in.. ;)


View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4935 days

#12 posted 01-06-2010 09:27 PM

You know you have lots of wood storage when you can lose yourself in it ;)
I purged over 20 yards of offcuts scrap and nearly useless miscellany when we moved this fall… and as I struggle to get my new shop in order I wonder why I didn’t trash more! —Oh yeah, we didn’t rent a 30 yard dumpster!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4708 days

#13 posted 01-06-2010 10:35 PM


-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View kosta's profile


946 posts in 3963 days

#14 posted 01-07-2010 12:01 AM

yo todd what it that attachment on the back of your shop vac where the air comes back out

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4708 days

#15 posted 01-07-2010 01:23 AM

Kosta – It is a noise muffler.

It takes the “scream” out of the shop vac but it is still makes noise.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

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