the woodshop

My workshop used to be a garage :) For most of my time here we have made sure there was room for at least one car inside, as it is always a possibility that hailstones the size of baseballs could rain down. Hail that size, even hail much smaller can put serious dents in a Ford Taurus.

Over the last two years, much junk has left the garage for charity shops or the local landfill. Other things have arrived. I started working in the small space that was left around the clutter, but eventually something had to give.

So ...... the car lives outside and we pray! The treadmill is pushed as far back as possible, and I arrange the workshop as best I can in a space that is around 16 feet by 20 feet. This is just about manageable, but leaves little room for much storage. Lumber, for example, pretty much has to be bought *by the project*

As a workspace, the garage will suffice for now. If I ever get enough work from it to be *employed*, then a larger shop would be a priority. More space, better heating and cooling, dust extraction ...... the list goes on.

All that is for the future. For now, here are a few pics of the woodshop, and it’s major machines.


Overview of woodshop - door closed


The workbench is the heart of the shop. This was the very first real project I undertook. It is 7ft long, and 3ft wide. This bench is heavy, and tough enough to take a hard pounding from hammers and chisels without budging an inch. The top is very flat, making assembly of items fast and accurate. The frame is fir, and the top is 2 1/4’ thick, a laminate of two layers of plywood, and one of MDF. The MDF is reversible. The face vise is a cheapo I picked up locally. The top has a built in recessed tool tray at the back, and a tool rack behind. The top trim, tool tray and rack are all oak.  A bench like this would cost around $1300 to buy commercially. I can supply one for around $700. A shelf below holds tool cases, and underneath is the stand for the mitre saw.

It is often said that a woodshop is built around a decent table saw. Literally, it sits in the centre of the shop, and figuratively, most projects involve it’s use extensively. Mine requires urgent upgrading :) It is an older Craftsman Bench Saw on a stand. I am deeply grateful to my Father-in-Law for loaning it, and have made a few improvements (mainly to dust collection) to get the best out of it. A replacement Hybrid saw will set me back around $1100, so it will have to wait a while. Meanwhile, with careful use, there is life in the old dog yet!


The bandsaw is the other tool many start a shop with. It is best known for cutting curves, even compound curves such as the one in the upper backrest support of the adirondack chair. However, it can do far more than this including, but not limited to, re-ripping boards, cutting veneers etc.

Mine is a Craftsman 10”. It is too small for much work, but decent at what it does. It is one of only two power tools I have bought new, as the Delta 14” is currently out of range and this was the best of the rest. Ebay sellers weren’t able to beat the price at Sears.

Eventually, a large band saw will become a workhorse of the shop, but this tool will retain it’s place.

This is a DeWalt 12” Compound Mitre Saw, shown here in storage. It is one of the most used, and best bargains I have. It was originally bought, with stand, from Amazon, for a ridiculously low price and rarely a day has gone by without it cutting something.

It is perfect for cross-cutting timber to length, and repeat cuts to length, at any angle (see the octagonal table-top). With a better blade (the one fitted is decent) it will happily cut hardwoods for indoor cabinet work. No shop should be without one.


Another *home-made* project is the Router Table. They are commercially available, but not this size and quality. Although I learned a lot while making this, it works extremely well, and allows full use of the most versatile tool in the shop. I have fixed and plunge routers, they are used in just about every project and the table makes them easier, more accurate and safer to use.

When time allows, I will rebuild the top of this table, a job that calls for rather more work than the picture might indicate.

Delta 12” Planer/Thicknesser. Well the name says it all really. This was one of the few bargains I ever got from a pawn shop. After hard bargaining, down to 50% of new price, it wasn’t until I got it home that I realised it was indeed, brand new. Never been used :)

It is used to plane boards up to 12” in width. Together with the Jointer it is used to ensure boards are perfectly square.

It makes a LOT of wood shavings - ask if you want some.


The newest addition to the family is this Delta 37-190 6” Jointer/Planer. I thought it might be a long time before I could bring one of these into Steve’s Woodshop, but eBay came to the rescue. This machine is in excellent condition and was probably my best bargain to date.

Major use is to square the edge of boards, but can also plane to 6” width, and cut rebates and chamfers.

They all say *Buy an 8” .... have they seen the prices?

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The final collection of pictures shows a variety of tools in general use ... Scroll Saw, Drill Press, Compressor (again, thanks Jim), Routers and Belt Sander, Clamps etc. These have been picked up on Craigslist, eBay and fleamarkets. All are in decent working order, some are new. I am having a little trouble with the runout on the drill press, but that’s not insurmountable.

The shop-vac keeps everything clean, and is my primary dust collection, for now.

You can never have enough clamps, and I don’t have enough!


There you have it, the Grand Tour. There are, of course, many other items, including hand tools and shop supplies, but you’ll have to vist to see those.

Every self-respecting woodshop needs a cat. Here is one of ours. Her name is Wednesday, her partner-in-crime is called Sheffield


One final picture.

Most shops have a clock. I have two, and you will notice the six hour time difference.


That does not represent the lunchbreak I take, but the difference in time zones between me and the boys.

It reminds me, not that I needed it, of what it’s all about.