There is one resolution that I made several weeks after the arrival of the new year; when I first returned to my workshop in 2012 and realised that I really don’t have sufficient space to work in… So, although this is something that I’m sure I investigate once every six-months or so, I really need to look carefully at the machinery and power tools I currently have at my disposal… Which ones do I really need? Could I manage sufficiently without one of those? One thing I’m very short on is floor space – and that, to me, is more important than any tool that you can buy.
If you can’t move comfortably within your space then, you’re putting yourself at risk, each and every day. When you’re tackling a larger job (something too tall or wide to stand on the bench), where will you be able to work on it?
It must have been late-2009 when I made a plywood base cabinet to sit directly underneath my chip extractor (an Axminster ADE1200). Small workshops are all about making the most of whatever space you can find. As this extractor wasn’t very tall (no more than 5ft, to the top of the filter bag), I seized on the opportunity to increase its height by a good foot and to keep some of my ‘junk’ from off of the floor.
This extractor lives in a corner of the workshop, which makes it very difficult to access directly, when the time comes to change the bag. So, it’s often easiest for me to clear a space ahead and to roll the unit forwards. A problem occurs then because the weight of the unit is still on top, with the motor and so, attempting to drag of push the extractor out of or in to hiding often results in it tipping up. That’s why I decided to finally make and fit another handle lower down, which would allow me more direct control over the ‘weight-less’ half of the unit, directly supporting the upper load.
Now, I remember why I used to hate working forty-hours a week – it leaves you with very little time (and energy) for woodworking – hence, why I haven’t had much to blog about for almost an entire month now. Working a mixed shift pattern of early mornings late evenings doesn’t help much, either. With money coming though, I’ve been able to stock up on materials for a few workshop improvements I’m planning to keep myself busy through the winter. This first one is a simple cabinet stand for my recently-acquired PK200 table saw. I also have plans to make a fit some new fences to my mitre saw and router table; while I’ve also decided I will make an MDF table for my pillar drill, even though Axminster sell something that costs only £50.
Ever since I bought the monstrousStartrite 401e bandsaw earlier in the year, my one, persistent complaint is that the working table height is too low for general shaping work, particularly if you’re a fairly tall person. While I appreciate the ways in which this aids to ripping of larger timbers, I’d been meaning to sort this issue out for a while.
Yesterday, with a bit of heaving, some sweating and lots of hammer-action, I managed raise the height up by a good 2in, which has already begun to make a world of difference to the comfort of my back when using this saw.
One of the items that’s been sitting near the top of my To-Do List pile for some time now involves replacing my existing pair of saw horses with something more ‘functional’ for a small workshop. This previous design also came from Danny Proulx’s Toolboxes and Workbenches title, like the toolbox tote I completed earlier this week. They’re not a bad design. In fact, they are very sturdy and will withstand a good amount of weight (as I found out, last summer, when I buily a 6ft workbench from 3in beech). I keep tripping over the feet, which consume valuable floor space on their own. They can be removed and stored on the legs but, it’s a real chore and a bit of a faff. A sound design then… But still, you need a good amount of working space to avoid any trips and falls.
Over eighteen-months ago, I built what I thought was the ‘ideal’ solution for my sliding compound mitre chop saw; a mobile work station with flip-up work piece supports and storage space below (now consumed by my ‘shop-made router table). Plans for this design were downloaded from Popular Woodworking.com in America. What we tend to forget over here is that, as convenient as these creations often appear to be, they’re rarely tailored to fit a small British workshop. That’s certainly my opinion, having spent considerable time with this setup in my workshop. Continue reading…
Welcome to my brand new blog! Those of you who’ve followed me previously at UKworkshop will have a good idea of what to expect.
Having built a new workbench, applied white emulsion paint to half the walls and given the layout a bit of a shuffle generally, my garage-cum-workshop is looking better than ever before! There is still much work to be done and I hope you’ll follow me along the way as I strive to obtain maximum working space in a home workshop. Maybe I’ll even get that leaky roof sorted at some point! It would also be nice to lose the up-and-over door, which is far from ideal when you’re over 6ft tall!