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05-29-2013 08:10 PM - edited 05-30-2013 04:14 AM
We recently moved from Florida to New Mexico. After 40 years in Florida a climate change was welcome. Also welcome was the chance to build a new shop. I no longer needed all the space of the 40x60 old shop, and a smaller and better insulated shop was planned. Of course figuring out how to fit the large shop into a smaller footprint was a lot of fun too…
By the way, the Florida shop made it into Wood Magazine's America's Best Home Workshops in the 2007 version - which was also reprinted as the 2010 version.
The first photo shows the old larger shop. It had a lot of open space for building telescopes. These amateur telescopes were quite large and required a lot of space.
All my machines and shop cabinets made the move with me. I was unable to give up the shop that had produced so many happy hours, and the price the movers quoted was quite affordable compared to selling everything and starting over. Besides, I liked everything just as it was. We bought the NM property a year before the actual move and built the shop the summer before the FL property was sold. We had plenty of time to have a crew put up the steel building, and the wife and I built the walls, added extra insulation, and had it ready for the move. There was plenty of time to design the new layout on paper, and It sure was nice to be able to tell the moving crew just where each piece went, instead of trying to figure it out while the guys were standing there waiting for me to make up my mind,
The old shop used about 1800 sq ft and the new one 1300. It all still fit. The new shop still has a nice assembly/building area for scopes and cabinets. Yes, that is an old junk carpet on the floor. It is great to stand on, allows you to roll over projects while building them - without gouging or otherwise marking up the wood.
My workbench sports a new base built last year. I have grown to love drawers in every space below waist high. They hold so much more that shelves. Over the bench there are two six foot long shelves that hold all the stuff that is never put away. Before building the shelves all that stuff usually clogged up the bench, taking up too much space. To the left of the bench is a simple little bookcase that holds all the machines that are in constant use. They are left plugged in and ready to go.
Here is a good example of why drawers are so handy. This one holds all the tools that are only used occasionally. Even so, they are at your fingertips and quickly ready to be used. Without looking for them, opening cases, and getting the tools ready to use.
Just to the right of the workbench is my router table. It is used all the time. Dust collection is a shop vac hooked to the back. The switch is built right into the router table. This table was built 25 years ago, and still uses the same PC 690. The bearings are getting a bit noisy, but it's not ready to be replaced yet. Notice the five drawers fill all the empty space.
This cabinet is 8' long, 36" high, and 24" deep. The 18 drawers hold so much it is crazy. In front of it is my shop air cleaner. I built it 25 years ago, before commercial ones were available. I think the original article came from Wood Magazine. However, the idea of filling the top half with drawers was mine. I hate wasting space. No matter how big your shop is you can never have too much storage. The face frame style shop cabinets are so strong that they will holds hundreds of pounds. Having shop cabinets do double duty as machinery stands adds tons of storage where useless legs usually go in most shops.
I have to admit that another hobby of mine is designing and flying RC airplanes. Started building them in the 70s and just never grew up. After years of 2x4 and particle board workbenches, this nice model building assembly table and workbench was built. Now spending time in this corner of the shop is pure joy. Everything is right at your fingertips.
This area has some of my first cabinets. They offer storage for larger items, yet replaced many machinery stands. The little black cabinet holds lots of sandpaper along with many other supplies. You can sometimes find these used at office supply stores.
OK, so we finally get around to the main shop machines. They are all bunched together around the dust collector - actually two of them. I first purchased a 1-hp machine, but found it quite useless to use on a shaper and planer. It is now hooked up to the bandsaw and is adequate for catching the light cloud of dust a bandsaw makes. A 2-hp machine works very well for the shaper, planer, and tablesaw. I find that putting all the main machines back to back like this saves a lot of floor space, and makes plumbing dust collectors quite easy. The outfeed table serves two machines, and shop carts are parked under it when not in use.
A view from the other side. Instead of purchasing the optional stand for the planer, I made one to fit its footprint. It holds lots of scraps of preplaned wood.
While not having a lot to do with woodworking, I am a retired machinist, and a mill and a lathe are quite useful for everthing. A small custom shelf over the lathe holds lathe tools and hides a shop light from your eyes. The lathe is very well lit when working.
Last but still important is the wood rack. It holds lots of sheet goods, and solid lumber is held on two levels over the sheet goods. Those extra two levels have their own legs going all the way to the floor. Otherwise the thing would have collapsed years ago. The saw horse has four legs and sacrificial replaceable tops so you can saw right into it when cutting up large sheets. I can no longer pick up a full sheet, but I can easily slide a sheet of plywood out of the rack, pick up one corner and get it onto the rack and slide it the rest of the way on. Very handy when you work alone!
This tool box was the subject of another thread in the general woodworking area recently. It shows some of how I go about building my shop cabinets: http://community.woodmagazine.com/t5/General-Woodw
Hope I didn't go on too much about the how-and-why, but finding this section of the Wood Forum about shop design was very interesting. I have always loved having a nice shop, and being able to build the shop out the way you want it just makes the hobby all the better. Believe me, I spent plenty of time in my youth working in miserable conditons, so having a shop you can really enjoy spending time in is wonderful.
Deming, New Mexico
05-29-2013 09:43 PM
Again I welcome you Tom. Boy you are so detailed, organized, fortionate and just a plain good woodworker. Your shop is a pipe dream for me. I agree about all the cabinets vs shelves. You certainly have proven that theory.
Enjoy the West, get up to Silver City and camp a bit. We used to go around there for weekends some times.
Leo in AZ.
05-30-2013 08:54 PM
Again like Leo I like and use drawers. Like the idea of machines all together for DC. Really like your ideas on specific areas like the light on the lathe, Not sure I could safely (broke an 8 ft tube last month) do that with the proximity, Will have to really look at it.
Am I right the area where the cabinets are perpendicular to the wall , these are dedicated areas similar to hallways?
05-31-2013 10:05 AM
Glad you posted this, it gave me some ideas for my new shop if I ever build it. Foremost is the ability to have the tools set up and accessible, without having to move things around to do so. And your central cluster idea may just enable that!
05-31-2013 04:00 PM
Thanks for the warm welcome. I hope you can build your dream shop someday! Actually, we live between Silver and Deming, so have spent a lot of time there. Glad to have you visit next time you are in the area.
If anyone else lives in the Deming or Silver City area get in touch. Would like to start a woodworking club here in our new home area.
Deming, New Mexico
05-31-2013 04:04 PM
"Am I right the area where the cabinets are perpendicular to the wall , these are dedicated areas similar to hallways?"
Actually, I was just trying to fit 32 feet of cabinets into a 28' space. Have only been in the new shop since March, so still moving things around a bit. The main goal is to keep all machines very useable - without having to move anything to use it…
Deming, New Mexico
07-31-2013 12:59 PM
I'm envious of your great looking and neat shop. Awesome machines and power tools. Love your cabinets and wood rack, get all the stuff well organize, convenient and accessible. Excellent work!