Am I the only one?

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Forum topic by HamS posted 12-17-2011 04:02 AM 4658 views 0 times favorited 39 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View HamS's profile


1842 posts in 3394 days

12-17-2011 04:02 AM

I was going to take pictures of my shop to post when I joined a month or two ago and when I looked at the pictures I realized that my housekeeping in the shop is woefully inadequate. I then decided to embark on the “Great Shop Cleanup”.
I see pictures of other LJ’s shops and realize that there are two worlds. The guys that keep a neat and tidy shop and then there is me. I seem to find something to take up every square inch of horizontal surface area. I actualy had my assembly table/bench cleaned and it filled up almost immediately. My thought is that the pros who make their living in their shops keep them under control and those of us who earn our daily bread outside the shop are less apt to keep neat and tidy shops. On the other hand, I could just be a slob. I have found that less clutter means less time looking for things. And no, I did not take any pictures of the half of the barn outside the shop where the junk goes. When Christmas concerts are over and the drywall is hung by the chimney with great tribulation and the mud is in its place I will get to this task.

-- Haming it up in the 'bash.

39 replies so far

View Don Carrier's profile

Don Carrier

114 posts in 3382 days

#1 posted 12-17-2011 04:38 AM

I wish mine were as organized as yours. I get new ideas by tripping over wood and tools!

-- Don

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 3360 days

#2 posted 12-17-2011 07:03 AM

Might I suggest hanging some drawers under your benches?
And yes, there are guys who make a living at it who like to keep their work areas clean, then there are the guys who like to clutter the other guys work spaces….

But in all honesty, when you run a clean shop, you spend alot less time looking for things when they have a home to go to. I worked for this one company, and it became a real issue that things had to start finding a home, simply because, of the wasted hours a week/day looking for a specific tool.

Also it’s safer when you don’t have to worry about knocking ideas into your head by tripping on stuffs.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View Tedstor's profile


1691 posts in 3638 days

#3 posted 12-17-2011 07:55 AM

I’d feel right at home in your shop. Horizontal spaces rarely stay clear in my shop. I try really hard to purge my shop of all non-essential items, so I have more room to keep the stuff I really need. For example, I recently discovered that I own(ed) five 12” combo squares. Three of those were crappy junk that I never used (freebies from Harbor freight or Grizzly). I’m sort of a tool hoarder, so it killed me to do it, but I donated them to the local restore along with a bunch of other triplicate and/or gimmicky tools. Got rid of other stuff too such as scrap wood, ancient cans of stain, and a bunch of other crap that I was likely to never actually use. I’m not sure how I’ll ever get by without 7 claw hammers, but I’ll try to make do. LOL.

Now I have more places to stash tools and supplies. My workbench and other surfaces still get cluttered, but it takes longer to get that way and is easier to clean-up. And I also intentionally use a very small workbench since I don’t build large projects and because it won’t pysically accomodate as much clutter.

Thanks for posting the pics. Its fun to see other people’s lil’ slice of heaven. I just made some improvements to my shop. I’ll try to post some pics soon.

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 4440 days

#4 posted 12-17-2011 08:47 AM

It does not really matter what your shop or work area looks like, it’s what comes out if it that really matters.
I see some others’ shops as being so clean and tidy I can’t imagine any work being done there.

The things that really matter are keeping your tools in good order, keep safety first in your mind and have a good memory to remember where everything is – that’s a good early test for Alzheimers :-)
Small items like fasteners etc., should be placed for easy sorting and use, and in certain areas you can choose where certain tools go, you just have to go to that area to find the tools you need.

My shop often looks like a parking lot because I have power tools mounted on work benches with wheels, so I can reconfigure the shop to the work at hand, and the supplies for the tools reside underneath the bench on shelves. It all depends on what suit your way of working. To me I like to see a shop where you can tell it is used.
Love your shop

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View Gary's profile


9417 posts in 4438 days

#5 posted 12-17-2011 09:16 AM

Don’t think you’re alone. Mine looks terrible most of the time. Every now and then, I use the leaf blower to get rid of sawdust all over everything. Sweep up mounds from around the planer, TS, etc. I know where most everything is. As long as it isn’t a safety thing, I don’t worry. Some people cant tolerate a messy shop, others can’t tolerate Harbor Freight tools. My lack of tolerance is with people that feel they have the need and the right to tell me how I should run my shop….

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Mike's profile


409 posts in 3693 days

#6 posted 12-17-2011 09:54 AM

For me it really all comes down to what day you get into my shop. If I am in the middle of a project, then there is stuff all over the place. If you get in there any other time, there is stuff all over the place ;)

-- look Ma! I still got all eleven of my fingers! - -

View Tom Clark's profile

Tom Clark

88 posts in 4026 days

#7 posted 12-17-2011 04:54 PM

One of my problems with keeping the shop and workbench cleaned up is that there are somethings that you just never want to put away. They belong right where you can reach them when you need them! To solve the cluttered workbench problem, a simple shelving unit was added directly to the bench. It is not in the way, yet the surface area of the two shelves are 60% of the size of the whole workbench. It makes a very good way to keep what you need at your fingertips, yet makes it easier to keep the workbench more useable.

When in the middle of a big projects, of course things end up everywhere, but by having adequate shop cabinets, it makes it much easier to put things away if there is actually a place to put them. I built a lot of cabinets because it was fun, but they also make keeping the mess put away a lot easier.

-- Tom

View kizerpea's profile


775 posts in 3373 days

#8 posted 12-17-2011 05:18 PM

I have been wanting to post pic of my shop. but its a mess.maby ill do it any way. yep i feel right at home in your shop…hehe” i dont have a lot of cabnets in my shop. i have roll around display racks thrown away by stores. every thing i have is on wheels so it can be moved


View Neight's profile


112 posts in 3398 days

#9 posted 12-17-2011 05:35 PM

I am by no means an organized person…
I have always worked with organized people though, and when I decided to start woodworking, I vowed everything was going to be nice and neat. I would put things away when I was done with them, keep the workbench clear of things that were not needed for the current project, and just keep it nice in general. That lasted for a whole project :P
Right now, I am looking at my workbench, well not really, I am looking at a pile of tools sawdust and scrap (as well as some empty coffee cups and Mt. Dew bottles, and an empty chip bag) it’s actually pretty hard to see any workbench. I am still not sure how I do it, before I start each project, I clean my shop, I am still trying hard to put things away, but somehow I always end up with a mass of clutter by the end of each project. I find ways to get out everything I don’t need along with the things I do. When my workbench was used strictly for electronics, it was circuit boards, components, coils, and whatever old computer I was taking apart for parts. Now I have one bench that still looks like that, and another that is all woodworking mess. I just can’t seem to help myself, though I am still trying, and will be cleaning my shop once again today…
maybe once it’s clean I will take some pics and post em up, put my best foot forward, you know :P

-- Work consists of whatever a body is OBLIGED to do, and Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do. -Mark Twain

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 4440 days

#10 posted 12-17-2011 05:53 PM

Perhaps we might have a competition to find the most disorganized and trashy shop?
The winner gets the cleanup crew from “Hoarders” to visit and clean the place up and make it functional and tidy.
You could take a picture of it when they have finished, then you can get it back to the way it was as your comfort zone in no time.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7133 posts in 4200 days

#11 posted 12-17-2011 06:04 PM


Yep…...I’m afraid you’re the only one. ...But a few others have professed to being like you, also:)).
Myself…I can’t be like that…I’ve got to have cleanliness and order, and then re-store order after a project is completed, the tools put away, and the shop cleaned for the next project….for me, it’s just business as usual to do it that way…..always have….always will, until I get so sotve up I can’t do it anymore….But….in the meantime, my shop will look like this if at all possible…...

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View lew's profile


13311 posts in 4761 days

#12 posted 12-17-2011 06:11 PM

Yeah, but you’ve got tons of wall space!!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Dusty56's profile


11863 posts in 4693 days

#13 posted 12-17-2011 08:27 PM

You’re not alone , my friend.
Seems like every flat space in my shop becomes a “temporary” holding station for stuff.
I need to build some cabinets and more shelving , but working out of my basement , I am very space confined.
I probably have three lifetimes worth of wood scraps and good boards that I need to get put into projects very soon. LOL : ) Is there a Hoarders (Boarders) Anonymous group out there yet ?

Happy Holidays : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Vicki's profile


1151 posts in 4350 days

#14 posted 12-17-2011 08:42 PM

Your shop looks just fine. Main thing is that you’re happy with it. It’s funny, but in my MIND my shop looks clean and beautiful. The reality is that it’s full of saw dust and the ceiling still needs to be mudded and painted. I don’t even notice that most of the time and finishing the ceiling has been on my to-do list almost 10 yrs now. I’d love to do it, but I love doing my projects even more. As for the neat work bench, I am rather anal about that and sometimes it works to my disavantage. I’m constantly putting things away and then needed them a bit later. I like how some work benches have that tool tray in front, so I use a plastic box on the bench for the most used hand tools and save myself some aggravation.

-- Vicki on the Eastern Shore of MD

View HamS's profile


1842 posts in 3394 days

#15 posted 12-17-2011 10:08 PM

Dusty, I don’t know about three lifetimes of scrap, but I certainly have three generations of scrap wood in mine. The shop only takes up half the pole barn and lots of wood scraps are stored in the other half.

-- Haming it up in the 'bash.

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