Organizing the Workshop

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Blog entry by wildbuck posted 02-06-2015 05:41 AM 1993 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

Organizing the Work shop

Extra space know matter how big or small your woodshop never seems to be enough.

I have had a garage shop and a shop under the house and both had good working areas with good storage. When I finally built my last shop 22’x41’ I had to give up 12’ for a guest bedroom, I get a 10×12 area for machines which can be moved out easily. This still leaves me with a 22’ x 29’ area a little bigger than a standard garage with a 10×12 mobile machine closet. I have always had a small shed nearby, see below.

  • I am an organized packrat so I looked at the shop plus the machine closet space and thought it will work for my needs and my wife’s ( Ah hormoney ). When I purchased my new machines I made sure they all had mobility and if they didn’t I purchased mobile bases. My older tools either had wheels or I could move them easily with a dolly. The main objective of this shop was walking between the machines when I was working, no hoses or extension cords to trip on. My woodshop in high school was laid out where you could walk from front to back without getting into someone’s work zone and I wanted that. I also wanted a shop I could build a project in the same amount of time that I did back in high school. If you think about it you only had fifty minutes, with ten minutes to cleanup. As you can see I still have a way’s to go but I can see the finish line. Vacuum system pictures June.
    I read twenty reviews on four different mobile bases and the Shop Fox mobile base was my choice. There were a couple of bases that were cheaper that would have done the job but I liked the look of the Shop Fox. As I said in setting up a shop, tools are a personal preference. Everything in my shop has wheels including my two steel cabinets which are mounted on furniture dollies. In my garage shop every machine had wheels, some machines need to have a fixed base like a lathe or sanding machines and in my garage shop they stayed up against the wall. When I have a project even in the new shop I like to move the machines away from the wall.

  • I move these fixed based machines using my 500 pound lifting table. This portable table lowers so I can slide under my drum sander, with a couple of 4×4’s I can lift my lathe and chop saw stand. Moving heavy objects from the floor to my bench is so much easier and with it’s locking wheels it makes a good raised platform. The lifting table along with my hand cart are tools I use every day, having a bad back has taught me just a little extra time using these tools saves a night of back pain. The 500 pound lifting table ($150 minus 20% using the harbor freight coupon) my hand carts and clamps came from Harbor Tool. I looked at many lifting tables in catalogs and they all looked the same but the prices were higher. I noticed in the Northern Tool catalog the mobile table was the exact same table. The problem with the harbor tool table is after a while the table starts to lower overnight. I went back to harbor tool and asked the manager about this and he said he had five tables in the back with the same problem and all you have to do is bleed the system, I still haven’t done this so if you thinking about this tool you may want to purchase a warranty. There is a locking bar that I use most of the time. If I’m jointing or planing this mobile table can hold many pieces of wood and makes repetitive work easy and for $120, that includes the 20% off it’s a great tool. I have two steel cabinets and I’m surprised how often I move them, this is an idea I came up with on a winter day when I brought my work area into a smaller work space. I set my 220 heater on top of the cabinet, tilted it downward and my space became warm. One cabinet holds all my small tools and the other cabinet contains supplies and hand tools that I don’t keep in my tool box.
    My glue up table moves to the middle of the room and just the other day went outside as a portable work bench.

This table has a steel plate for a top which I use for welding and when I use it for glue up’s I put a large piece of card board down with red rosin paper. Rosin paper is tuff, hard to tear and you can wipe the glue off without going through it like butcher paper. It’s great for writing down dimensions for projects, no checking small print on a piece of paper, and when you’re finished, you lay down a fresh piece for a new project.

My garage shop was mobile just for the reason it was my wife’s parking spot. If I had a week long project the car would stay out but when finished everything went back up against the wall.

In my current shop moving the tools around allows for the big projects. The panel saw comes out for building cabinets, or any tool. All hanging cords go up to hooks in the ceiling and the twenty inch planer is moved to the side.
Back to mobility-If you need some good ideas to make your shop mobile put into your search engine (woodshop mobile base images). I use images on a lot of my searches because it gives you pictures of all the websites, you select the picture and then select the website, if I can see it I can build it. The beauty of this web idea is you find what you need instead of opening many websites.
There are so many books, videos and ideas on how to build a cabinet that moves or how to make your tools move it’s staggering. The best tool for mobility for me is the 500 pound lifting table because it does so much.

The 17” band saw moves smoothly and having a large space for cutting veneers is great.

Electrical Lay out for Using larger wire extension Cords with mobile machines takes planning.

See my other Blog ””Building a woodshop””:http://Building a woodshop

*This heavy duty twelve foot extension cord (#6 cord) keeps power draw-down to a minimum when I start up any machine. When I built the shop I installed #6 wire from the panel to all 240 plugs. I wanted to make sure when using an extension cord the machine would be like connecting to the full power coming from the panel. In your machine manuals all machines that use 240 or 220 should be plugged into the wall. 120 machines very rarely will say you can run a tool on an extension cord and if you can it’s a short one. The wire for a standard 120 volt plug in a shop should be at least #12 and if you have other tools on that circuit that are running at the same time it’s wise to consult an electrician. I talked to an electrician and he said there isn’t a code problem with using the larger wire just smaller wire. One of the areas of concern with smaller wire is all machines draw power and that power comes out of the breaker, this is for the safety of the machine. If the machine has a minimum gauge wire the breaker will trip saving the motor or appliance. This is why the breaker is in place. If the wire is larger your control for the current is from the smaller cord on the machine which can get warm if overloaded, and if bogged down will trip the motor trip switch. The idea about a movable shop, you need power at the end of the line whether it’s up against the wall or in the middle of the room. To make sure my table saw and planer motor would not trip from bog down I follow the cutting specs for the machines. I also have a 3 hp motor on my 10” saw and a 5 hp motor on the 20” planer. I suggest anyone wanting to wire a shop that uses heavy extension cords do some calculations and do some reading on electric motors and current flow, this is a job for an electrician.

Wild Buck

-- Never put youself in a bad situation or how could we have prevented this accident ;-)

1 comment so far

View scarpenter002's profile


618 posts in 4875 days

#1 posted 02-06-2015 10:26 PM

Very true. Movable tools make a shop much larger. Also moveable tools leave with room to add MORE tools to your shop. :-)

Thanks for sharing.

-- Scott in Texas

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