Randy’s Garage Workshop

Shop Tour - Submitted by Randy Thurman-Keup from Aurora, IL
Added on October 18, 2012

My shop occupies about 3/4 of our garage and is 19′ x 13′. I installed a wall to separate the bikes and toys from my tools and insulated it as well as the ceiling to keep it warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. I keep the door open to the house for that. I have a small space heater that I use during the coldest months to keep the temperature above 50.

Most of my tools are spread around the outside edge of the space with the table saw in the middle. They are all on wheels to facilitate moving them as needed. Starting from the door and going counterclockwise, I have a Delta 50-760 dust collector which is connected to the main tools with 4″ hoses. The hoses are attached to the ceiling to keep them out of my way. It’s a longer run but it beats constantly stepping on them as I used to when they were on the floor. I have a Grizzly G7946 radial drill press which I would skip if I had to do it again in favor of a more powerful fixed drill press since I have yet to use any of its flexibility. The workbench is just a generic bench with a top surface made of 2 x 4s and a Delta 14-651 mortiser sitting at one end. There are hand saws hanging here, and a circular saw blade storage unit that I built after seeing it in a magazine.

Continuing on to the next wall, I have a recently purchased Rikon 14″ bandsaw that has been working hard for the last several months re-sawing beams from the old family barn that collapsed a couple of years ago. Next is a Dewalt DW708 12″ sliding compound miter saw of which I am extremely fond. It feels like a do-anything tool, sort of the shop equivalent of my Leatherman. The dust collector is hooked up to the miter saw in two ways. I have a joint with a 2-1/2″ hose connecting directly to the built in “dust collection” point on the saw, and a 4″ hose pointing upward behind the slides in front of a small plywood wall to help direct airflow. The 4″ hose sucks up anything floating around behind the saw. The combination of the two hoses seems to do a good job of containing the dust. Hanging off the mobile base of the miter saw is a grinding wheel. It is on hinges and can be flipped up when I need it. Also on this wall are storage shelves for paints and finishes and a lot of stuff unrelated to woodworking.

Along the third wall I have a Dewalt DW735 13″ planer. It is setup such that I can plane 8′ boards without having to move it. I was impressed with the user interface design of this planer (to borrow a phase from computer land). All parts needed for servicing the unit are contained within it in unique ways. Most notable, the hex wrench for performing blade changes has a magnet in the handle to allow you to remove and install the blades. In addition to the planer, this wall has storage for clamps, fasteners, and a small Porter-Cable air compressor.

Moving to the final wall, there is a rolling toolbox where many of the hand tools are kept. On this wall, there is shelving system for wood storage. In the pictures, one can see the recently cut barn wood drying (I have a fan at one end blowing air through it). In front of the wood rack is a Grizzly G1182HW 6″ jointer.

In the middle of the shop is a Grizzly G0444Z 2 HP contractor table saw. I mounted a router table at the end of it. Although before I purchased the bandsaw, I also mounted a jigsaw in this table so I suppose it’s technically not just a router table. I like the table saw. I have never had problems with it bogging down or losing alignment. I use mostly generic blades and a Freud dado set. I have a Grizzly tenoning jig which is very cool, but it seems to be slightly misaligned, despite my efforts to align it.

On the ceiling, there is a large plywood platform which I can place over the table saw to do assembly work. Also hanging from the ceiling is a blue tarp which together with the platform and a regular fan becomes my spray booth. Can’t really spray nasty stuff given the lack of ventilation and the connection to the house.

As far as hand tools, I have Milwaukee drills and router, a Porter Cable circular saw, and a couple of random orbit sanders. I don’t have any fancy true hand tools. I have generic chisels, one block plane, one cabinet scraper…you get the idea.