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Extreme Makeover: Woodshop Edition!

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Shop Plans scribbled on a piece of lined paper

Shop Upgrades Force Complete Reorganization

SuperMax 19-38 Drum Sander running a piece of AshWell, almost immediately after I posted the last video, the shop tour, I ended up completely tearing apart the workshop due to a couple much needed upgrades in the shop.  It all started when I finally decided it was time to add a drum sander to my arsenal. The drum sander is essential to so much of the work I do, that it has been on my “Tools to Buy” list for a very long time. I’ve managed to get by without one, but I find myself wishing I had one at least once a week, if not once a day. So after years of waiting, I am very happy I did! A new company is producing a drum sander, and it is a really well built machine.
With this new tool coming to the shop, I needed to find a place to put it amongst the sea of other woodworking machines. After thinking long and hard about that, I decided it was time to give the shop a makeover. For many months now, I have been noticing quite a few problems with locations of machinery and where I do work. At the top of this list is the fact that half of the shop suffers from a lack of proper lighting. When I set the shop up, I focused on getting light above the power tools, and the other half received only one T-12 fixture.  Let’s just say that it isn’t enough light now that I do more work on that side of the shop.

The Domino Effect

Grizzly 3HP dust collector assembledOne other major problem is the fact that my dust collector just isn’t cutting it, so along with a new machine, I decided it was finally time to get a new dust collector as well. It seems like once you start down this path, the changes and additions start to flow like a leaky faucet. Now, to be honest I don’t even get that excited about a new dust collector, but my lungs will be much happier now that I have an adequately powered dust collector – and because the beefier dust collectors run on 240V electricity, I now have to add another 240V circuit to the woodshop. Luckily, we needed the electrician to come out anyway to wire in the new lights and make a couple changes to the system anyway.

An added bonus to getting a new dust collector is finally being able to hook up dust collection for the lathe using the old collector.  I’m even going to hook up some dust collection on the drill press using that old dust collector.

Also added to the list of upgrades is a new joinery bench that is raised higher than my normal workbench. It’s basically a workbench that I will use for chisel work and chopping plus sawing and other random tasks. I get back pain using my regular bench, so the higher bench will definitely save me there.  This upgrade will be made, not bought.  So, I get to relive the old days when I made my first workbench. This time, I believe the results will be quite a bit better than the original.


Along with new tools and accessories, the new equipment forced me to change my layout to ensure that all the machines are in close proximity to the dust collector so that I can connect all the hoses up without having hoses cross walking paths in the shop. This time, I’ll be setting up the ductwork with hard connections so I can avoid having to plug and unplug the hose each time.

That complete transformation opened up a lot of opportunities to rearrange the shop a bit to maximize efficiency. I know have a dedicated plywood sheet break-down station, I am building a sharpening station that will tuck under the new joinery bench, and I have created a better workspace dedicated to casting and turning. The great part about doing these massive reordering sessions is allowing myself to actually take a hard look at how I work to find better ways of doing it.  So far, I’m extremely happy with the new setup.

Drawer banks help keep thins less crowdedAlong with better workflows, I decided to also upgrade some of the organization in the shop as well.  More drawers and shelves have been added to help keep things out of my way when working, and it also keeps things out of harms way. Plus, finding things will be faster too since I won’t have to pour through piles of stuff to get to what I need.  Heck, I even added some wall panels to part of one wall just to spruce things up a bit and cover up some of the nasty grey concrete block walls. It will be nice to have a better backdrop when shooting video and taking pictures.


In Process of Rearranging

All in all, I am excited to give the shop a little face lift. It has been needed for quite some time, and I finally just decided to dedicate some time to getting these upgrades done. I haven’t been able to get much else done during the process, but I’m hoping the time spent now will reap some good rewards quickly.  I’ll be updating the shop tour with a new video once I get everything pretty well situated, so keep an eye out for that video to see all the changes in-depth.

I’ll be releasing a new video of my unboxing the new drum sander shortly. It was quite a project getting it out of the box and setup, but the drum sander works really well. I’ve already used it a number of times over the past week, and it is pretty much a miracle machine. Easy to setup and use.

Don’t forget to sign up for my monthly newsletter to get the scoop on what I’ve been up to.  Also, don’t forget that Father’s Day is coming up soon. Get Dad a nice bottle of wine and skip the gift wrap and wine bags this time, and give it to him in a custom wine box.  Check them out on my Etsy shop.

Now, back to the shop so I can get all the upgrades done and start cranking out new products.


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