Bob’s Standalone Workshop

Shop Tour - Submitted by Bob Riefer from Collegeville, PA
Added on September 17, 2013

In my mind, when I look to get into a hobby, I need to try to maximize the potential that I’ll enjoy that hobby. For example, if playing basketball, I’d want a decent hoop and a ball that bounces. So, when I decided I wanted to get into woodworking, I set out to have a shop that would enable me to enjoy the learning process. Trouble was, I had no building experience, had a full time job, kids to raise, etc., etc. Oh, and my starting point was a 110 year old barn that was in shambles. The 25×30, 2-story structure leaned badly, was sinking on rotten posts, had inadequate and dangerous electric, no insulation…Great project for a newbie.

The dream (now realized) was to have an exercise room, general storage, a rec room upstairs and a 20×20 shop downstairs. At times, the project was a nightmare, but it turned out great in the end and I experienced enormous personal growth throughout the effort.

Anyways, fast forward 4 years, and the barn has been saved and I have outfitted my workshop to be pretty capable of almost any woodworking task. Put together through Craigslist and patience, I was able to equip the shop very cost effectively. She won’t win any beauty contests, but she sure does have personality!

I have an underpowered dust collection system (with Thien separator) that I need to upgrade at some point, cabinet table saw, 12’long miter station, drill press, band saw, 6″ jointer, 12″ planer, router table, and other standard construction tools (e.g., nailers, circular saws, etc.). I have yet to build up my hand tool collection, but I just want to build stuff right now and will return to outfitting the shop in the future.

I borrowed ideas from Sawmill Creek and my woodworking instructor and have been happy with the shop flow. Work surfaces are set at a common height, castors used when it makes sense, shop built everything to keep my budget and build my skills. It ain’t perfect, but it can grow with me over time.

I have built a fair amount of functional furniture such as Adirondack chairs, coffee tables, kitchen island, bar for our rec room and have done TONS of construction work now (full kitchen remodel, rec room build upstairs in my barn, etc.) and am looking forward to expanding my woodworking skills towards more difficult projects. I recently taught myself sketchup to aid the design process and am taking on some boxes for some upcoming wedding presents.

Thanks for looking!


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