My shop is a work in progress but its constantly developing so I guess that’s good. I share space with lawn & garden, bicycles, camping gear, a canoe, and of course, a LARGE BBQ smoker and a couple of smaller grills.
My major equipment list won’t impress many, but it works well for me so I guess that’s all that counts. The folks who can build fine furniture with a circular saw and a cutting guide without a doubt get TONS of respect from me. My entire shop was/is put together with “bang for the buck” a primary concern. Since this is just a hobby and not my living, not a single woodworking tool I own is what anyone would consider the top of the line, (As opposed to the Snap On stuff I bought when I was a mechanic years ago) it is all VERY effective, and does exactly what I want.
Ryobi BT3100-1 fully loaded up with wide table, router accessory, Shark Guard, custom dust collection improvements, etc. I am working on a wide table top to fill the space between the rails and provide a miter slot for the router accessory table. Primary blade is a Freud Diablo 40T general purpose blade. Also have 24T ripping and 80T Diablo blades. Dado stack is an Oshlun SDS-0630. The saw was used and I got it and all the goodies for it cheap. The blades were on sale (I try to never pay full price for anything). The lumber for the wide table legs was Hurricane Ike debris and the table top was scrap ply from the shop.
-Black & Decker Firestorm FS1000L compound miter saw and Firestorm folding miter saw stand. As lousy as the Firestorm router is, it amazes me how well this CMS and stand works. While missing some features of its Yellow cousins, accuracy wise, it is right there with the DeWalt. I have it fitted with an 80T Freud Diablo crosscutting blade. LOVE it. The CMS was on clearance, the Diablo blade I paid full price for, but it was reasonable.
Central Machinery #32208 4 speed wood cutting bandsaw with riser block, micro adjustable roller bearing blade guides, Craftsman band saw fence and a variety of Timberwolf blades. 1/2″ 3TPI lives on it most of the time. Another HF gem. Again, sale and coupon. A shop built dust collection chute that will tie into the 4″ line, and mostly surround the blade and lower blade guide. A Grizzly GO555 tension release modification is on the way too. I have mine mounted up on a Central Machinery universal mobile base which keeps it easy to move on that rare occasion. This in turn keeps me from getting a hernia.
– Old Skil 14 amp circular saw. (Circa 1993). Assortment of blades including plywood blades, Hardi blades etc. I have this all housed in a heavy ballistics nylon tool bag for organizational sanity purposes.
– Ryobi variable speed reciprocating saw with an assortment of the decent Bi-Metal blades from Milwaukee.
– Old Skil jig saw. Not the best saw, but fitted with some decent Bosch blades, it cuts acceptably for a jig saw. This was a WalMart special back when I was in college, and WalMart was proud to be selling “Made in America”.
– 2 @ Hitachi KM12VC routers, 1 fixed base in the router wing on the table saw. Got both of them on DEEP sale. The second one was an Amazon lightning sale at $99.00.
– Black and Decker Firestorm plunge router. Unreliable non-standard pile of junk. I messed up and paid for this. This is one of those tools that has me wondering what I was thinking.
Wide assortment of router bits and accessories including MLCS 66pc 1/2” shank bit set, mitered frame raised panel bit set, Rabbeting bit set, and Skil 30 piece 1/4″ shank bit set. I also have a few Freud, Amana, and Rockler specialty profile bits in there. I cant say enough good about the MLCS bits and the service from the company though. I wish all WW companies treated their customers this well.
Northern Tool 16 speed floor model drill press. Basically the same thing as the Central Machinery #43378 but with Burgundy and black paint. This is fitted with a Grizzly drill press table, Rockler DP accessory tray, and Rockler DP chuck key retractor thingamajig. The Grizzly table is great for the $$, but it leaves a LOT to be desired. Specifically the table material is melamine coated MDF, and it receives the mounting clamps with simple wood screws. Not exactly a good recipe. I plan on redoing this soon with a combination MDF, tempered hardboard, sanded plywood, SYP trim, and Rockler T-track. Too many other irons in the fire for now, and this works fine. The DP was a CraigsList special that was dirt cheap, the table came from a fellow member of BT3Central.
– Craftsman 3/8″ VSR corded drill with case. Not sure of the model. I got this after I burned up an old B&D my dad gave me. Ive probably had it for 20 years now.
– Ryobi 3/8″ VSR clutch driver drill with cord. I had the Craftsman dedicated to a Vermont American drill press jig for the longest time. I got the Ryobi because it didnt overdrive screws. A deep sale Father’s Day kind of thing as I recall”¦ Love this drill. Not as powerful as the Craftsman, but I haven’t blown out any screws with it yet either.
Central Machinery #34706 lathe with shop built tool shelf and ballast box/shelf. Wood River Chuck, Benjamins Best lathe tools. The shop built tool shelf has holes that SNUGLY hold the tools without cases like the knockout bar, faceplate, spanners, etc. I know Harbor Freight gets a lot of flack, but this thing is a total gem. Been a hoot learning on it, and have no plans to sell it even if/when I upgrade to a bigger/better lathe. Its cheap enough I will pass it on to a woodworking friend or relative that wants to start turning. I got this lathe on sale and combined that with the HF 20% off coupon. The turning tools and chuck were also on sale. The ballast box is really no box though, I just have a couple of bags of concrete on the plywood shelf to hold it down.
Central Machinery #97869 2HP Dust collector fitted with Wynn 35A cartridge filter. Plumbing is 4″ (Yeah I know, but 6″ is out of my price range for now). Blast gates are Lee Valley Self Cleaning models. Unfortunately the plumbing for my DC system is scattered throughout the floor of my shop right now. This is one of the in-progress pieces of the shop. Sale and coupon again (see a trend?) and sale on the plumbing fittings and blast gates. For the time being, I am dragging a single long hose to each tool as needed. Sorry I dont have a better picture of it. It is crammed into a back corner of the shop. I have to roll out the toolbox to get to it to change out the lower bag.
Shop built Thien Cyclone pre separator based on plastic 55 gallon drum. I whipped this up in about two hours with lots of distractions. It could be better, but overall, I am happy with it. All I would redo is the baffle, and it works great so who cares? Not like anyone sees inside my dust bin right?
-Ridgid 12 gallon wet/dry vac plumbed to a Thien Baffle equipped trash can separator. Currently this rig is set up using a Shop Vac Sawdust Collection System. One of my shop projects is to migrate as much as I can off the vac, and onto the DC. The vac and separator can are stacked using a shop built cyclone stacker, which was built using debris lumber that was in my yard after Hurricane Ike. This thing works stupendously well. You can almost get by without a real dust collector. Almost, but not quite.
– Cheapo Lasko 20″ box fan with a 3M Filtrete allergen filter duct taped as an air dust cleaner. I am praying it works right, the 4″ hose to my DC slipped out of its clamp while I was cutting some MDF in the shop tonight!
Ryobi AP1301 13″ planer. A great little planer for the money. Knife changes are easy. Very little snipe when used right. This one was a Valentines Day gift from my lovely bride on our first married Valentines Day. I cherish this tool!
Sunhill Machinery SM-150B 6” Bench top Jointer. This appears to be discontinued now. Too bad, this is a nice little benchtop unit. A great piece of gear for a small shop! The same jointer is sold under the Wilton name and is colored gray & blue instead of blue. I got this on the $99.00 sale. I am waiting for a Harbor Freight sale and 20% off coupons to add the stand and mobile base.
Ridgid EB4424 Oscillating belt/spindle sander. Sale again. Fathers Day deal at Home Depot last year. A LOT of folks love these things, and for good reason! They do exactly what they are supposed to do!
Shop built clamp hangers with a dozen each 6, 12, 24, and 36 inch bar clamps (mostly HF, but a few Jorgensons), plus spring clamps, corner clamps, cargo straps with shop built corners, and a few, but not enough hand screws. All those clamps….On sale!
-Ryobi Corner Cat detail sander, Skil Random orbit sander, Ryobi Biscuit Joiner, Ryobi 6″ buffer, and a Ryobi 6″ bench grinder.
On top of this I have and use most all of the obligatory bits, blades, hand tools, personal protective equipment, storage bins etc. that I need. What I don’t have I add as need be, and as money makes itself available.
Heating and cooling in the coastal Texas environment is a bit tricky in this currently uninsulated space. For heat, a standard 1600 watt oil filled electric radiator keeps the shop in the 70s on the rare occasions that the overnight lows dip below freezing. Cooling right now is simply blowing air conditioned air from the house into the shop with a box fan, and working as fast as I can so I can get back inside before I fry my skull off.
I was well on my way to getting approval, and breaking ground on a 12 – 8 foot wall mini barn for a workshop when the economic downturn hit too close to home. So for now I make do, cramped in the garage along with the lawn and garden tools, bicycles, camping gear, and other misc junk.
Several space saving, or at least space maximizing projects are under way. Most of them designed as skill builder projects. A proper woodworking workbench is being built that will double as an outfeed table, and storage for bench top power tools.The existing formerly automotive workbench is getting modified to have uprights on the wall side legs that will support a top tier shelf. The lower shelf will hold the remaining bench top power tools. Those bench top power tools are to be mounted on 3/4″ sanded ply bases, which in turn get clamped to the workbench when needed to be used. I am also in the process of building cabinets to house the plastic small parts cabinets in my shop, as well as hold my measuring and marking tools, router bit cabinets, and other small woodworking items. Lockable cabinets will be built to hold chemical stuff that I do not want youngsters getting into. I am considering replacing the existing shelving system with lockable shop built cabinets for neatness, and juvenile safety sake.
I put off building a workshop and enjoying woodworking during a lousy, uh, prior domestic situation. I have since been blessed with the best wife in the world and she has actually not only allowed, but encouraged me to pursue woodworking.
Upcoming improvements to the shop that are not listed above:
-60 amp sub panel run to the garage; dedicated circuit to the Table saw; a dedicated circuit to the dust collection; and the remainder going to everything else. Lighting will stay on the current 20 amp circuit. Addition of two more 4 foot lighting fixtures, and a few magnetic task lights will help finish up the electrical.
– Spray in foam insulation in the ceiling and walls, and finish insulating the doors.
– Air Conditioning improvements.
– Small non WW stuff that can be put in totes and stored in the attic are on their way.
– Get the canoe and canoe related stuff into storage elsewhere.