Home > Woodworking > Going with the flow …. workshop rearranging

Going with the flow …. workshop rearranging

OK, so now that I have built a traditional tool chest which is too large for my shop I guess I’m going to need a bigger shop?!?

Susan worked Friday afternoon/evening so I had a little shop time when I got home from work. I was very excited at having finished the tool chest but I knew it was going to be a challenge to figure out where to put it and to decide if I was even going to attempt to fill it and use it. To snag a quip from Pauly Shore, “If you leave me with the doughnuts, I’m going to glaze them!”. And so it was with the new tool chest.

Where am I going to put this thing? My first thought was to simply swap the small desk/assemble table with the tool chest so that it was accessible from the work bench.  That could have worked I suppose but then my mind started considering other possibilities. I could move it under the breaker panel which would put it in a prime location and it would be a good use of the space. To do this I had to move to bookshelf which had a lot of wood scraps on it.

New Home for Tool Chest

Having already moved the small desk/assembly table it occurred to me that it could be used an an out feed table for my table saw IF, I relocated my table saw. With further thought  I concluded that I could move my miter saw station away from the wall by swapping the desks and this would allow me to put my table saw next to the 220 V outlet, negating the need for the extension cord. Now I needed to raise the newly designated out feed table to a height at or slightly below the table saw. Moving the miter station away from the wall also would allow me to cut longer stock without hindrance.

Makeshift Out-feed Table

Unfortunately raising the out-feed now meant that stock from my miter saw would bump into it (below) so the miter station also needed to be raised slightly. And so on it went, robbing Peter to pay Paul until I had a shop that “could” work.

New Layout for Saw Stations

Raising the miter saw station I didn’t match the height perfectly it’s a little higher. For now that will work but of course it would be better if that were at exactly the same height so that long stock would also be supported by the out-feed table. If I decide to keep this configuration, I can tweak things later.

Another benefit from this new arrangement is to put all the dust generating saws into the same area, albeit a very tight area. Now I’m going to get serious about hooking up my larger (12 gal) shop-vac to these tools. To do this I plan on building a Thien Cyclone Separator Baffle for chip collection before the shop-vac. I can finally see a plan coming together as a first step toward dust collection. Ultimately I want to purchase the Grizzly G0703P 1-1/2 HP Cyclone Dust Collector which I have placed on my wish list but meanwhile this will be an improvement.

Future Dust/Chip Collection

While I was arranging and cleaning the shop I ran across the magnetic knife hold that Susan had given me. She was going to use it in the kitchen but never found a place for it so she let me have it for the shop. I too wasn’t sure where to use it so it sat against the wall until I could come up with a legitimate use. One of the workbench features that I had been admiring was a tool tray. I was thinking about building a small tray that I could hang off the side of my bench to keep tools available and safe while laying out projects. I’m tired of my tools getting knocked off or rolling off my bench hitting the floor with a sickening clank. One thing holding me back is the need to keep my bench sides clear for clamping. To make a long story short, I desired to try the magnet strip on the leg of my bench. I’m not confident enough in this strip to stick my Lie-Nielson chisels on it but it seems to work pretty well for many of the other common woodworking items in use. I think there safer stuck here then on the bench getting knocked off to the concrete but time will tell.

Workbench Magnetic Tool Holder

Now that the chest was accessible, I transferred my tools from the workbench drawers and decided to begin using it for real. One thing I noticed right off the bat was that I was used to working on the other side of my workbench where the drawers were located. Now it was time to spin my workbench around  so that the drawers and the tool chest are on the same side. As a bonus, this placed my end vise in the middle of the shop where there is more room but most importantly, better lighting. I was having a hell of a time trying to learn to cut dove tails in the shadows. This configuration will at least help me see better.

Filling the Chest with Tools

So what does a woodworker do who has worked for hours rearranging his shop? Correct,  he/she builds something to test it out!

Thank-you Pop Woodworking and Meagan Fitzpatrick for catering to us beginners. Friday afternoon, I printed out this plan to have something to build over the weekend.

English Period Shelf - Popular Woodworking

The jury is still out on the new shop layout but so far I have found that it actually works. I still have to unlearn a few things like which side of the bench to go to but that will come easily. I wasn’t sure that I believed Chris Schwarz but the tool chest actually IS easy to work out of. Opened the chest offers easy access to all my tools and no more opening  the wrong drawer looking for my chisels.

My Version of the English Shelf IMG_3479

I was able to rearrange and setup my shop and still have time to build this shelf as a test of the layout. I think it was a pretty good weekend at the Turtle.

You have been reading an excerpt from the shop journal of the Turtlecovebrewer.

  1. September 23, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    I like the tool chest! I love the look and design but as you were saying, it was just too large for me to fit into my garage. You built it using the video as a guide? How was the video? I am thinking of making a slightly scaled down version to use as a blanket chest. Also, did you download the shelf plan from PW. It turned out great! Another project idea I may have to steal from you!

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