Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Workshop Tour – 13/02/2010

Admittedly, I should have made this post several months ago, back when I first created this blog on WordPress. Little has changed within the last four-to-six months, to be honest. Though, I do intend to make this a regular ‘feature‘ of my blog; opening a new ‘tour‘ every six-months. This way (as a post), we can all look back and see how work has progressed, without having to over-write the previous content (which is what I’d probably have to do in creating a separate page).

Please keep all arms and legs inside the vehicle – hope you enjoy the tour!

We begin, looking in from the outside, where it just looks your average car-free garage filled with a load of junk… Believe me when I say this; the lights are on!!

On the left, we have a woodturning lathe, who’s primary use is to provide a comfortable working height for my 12in. disc sander. Behind this, is a shelving unit containing more of my mum’s junk rather than my own. I’d like to get rid of this one day so that I can push my machines further back and walk in to the workshop without having to breathe in! What you cannot see behind the discarded cardboard sheets is a mountain bike and a couple of old micro scooters. The workshop radio leads us on towards my workbench – please tread carefully around those saw horses!

Moving on to the workbench now, built last summer. If you’ve followed my blog regularly then you’ll know I’ve recently worked quite hard to keep the area behind the ‘bench as clear as possible. That pillar drill is also one of the main reasons I need to move the front vice in from the right-hand end of the ‘bench. In the far corner, there’s a secure filing cabinet where I keep most of my hand tools with shelves above containing screws, bolts and other fixings – it’s amazing just how much we accumulate (and need!), as woodworkers! Behind the pillar drill is another floor-standing unit with shelves full of offcuts and many more woodworking accessories. I’d also like to remove this at some point (there’s plenty of free wall space), or at least replace it with a base unit on to which I could put my pillar drill and possibly the mortiser [next photo], with storage space below.

If you thought the rest was pretty bad, this is where things start to get really chaotic!!

My cast-iron mortiser is actually sat on top of an old chest freezer my mum is reluctant to get rid of (despite it’s redundancy, two-years ago). This provides a comfortable working height for most benchtop machines but, due to the a lack of convenient storage system below, I’ve relegated it to here, for the time being. This is essentially an area for machines that rarely get used. Don’t get me wrong; each is as necessary as the other; I just find myself turning to other tools (and hand tools) more often. As you can imagine, to get at the mortiser and use it, I need to remove the planer/thicknesser and dust extractor too get in there. This is not a permanent home for the planer as I wheel it out whenever I need to use it (most often, this is only at the beginning of a project), leaving just enough working room for the bandsaw.

That wood rack saves me a lot of space on the floor but, as you’ll see in this next photo, timber storage is one outbreak I have yet to contain…

It’s mostly oak and beech though, believe it or not, I do have plans for all the oak. Behind the sheets of OSB and MDF is a sunbed, of all things!! Still can’t convince her that it won’t see the light of day for another three-years though! I’d love to have more horizontal storage above, but the clearance needed limits me to a depth of 300mm. That may sound sufficient but, when you think about laying two 5in. wide boards side by side, with a gap in between; it doesn’t leave me with enough room.

You can just see my router table poking out the bottom of my mitre saw station… Which is clearly missing a sliding mitre saw, having recently sold my Bosch! That space is likely to be filled again within the next seven-days. There’s a chipboard shelving unit behind that which I’d like to get rid of (no takers yet, on Freecycle :() and my plan is to incorporate some kind of horizontal sheet storage system, with timber racks above. What is most important is that I protect all these materials from the damp walls and floor – I’ve thrown away a fair bit of 6mm ply and hardboard this winter and have also noticed some of my thick beech boards are looking soggy at one end… It doesn’t need to be complicated and I’ve already got a basic idea in my head – if anyone has any suggestions though, please, feel free to leave a comment.

To end our tour, we take a look at the current “storage solution” overhead – please, no questions at this time!! This has long be high up on my to-do list. I’ve got the suspended floor all planned out; I just don’t have the spare cash right now to buy the timber, hangers and chipboard. It would make a great feature for storing timber but, even if it could rid the ground floor or all the other junk that’s accumulated, it would make an enormous difference. I’d also need to stop the roof leaking first, as I doubt whether chipboard flooring would last long once it’s gotten wet.

That concludes our tour for today. Thank you, I do hope you’ve found this insightful.

I must apologise for the quality of a couple of the photos here. If you feel that there is anything else I should have photographed or would like further information, please, leave a message below. I won’t be able to re-shoot many of the photos you see here as I’ve already started rearranging things in preparation for a possible new arrival this week – not only am I looking at a new mitre saw but, it’s quite possible a large bandsaw could be arriving shortly!! I was hoping to do a bird’s-eye view in Google SketchUp at some point, I just haven’t had the time to measure everything, sit down and draw it all out. A short walk-around video clip might also be a possibility, when things are better organised.

I should add that overall dimensions inside are:

5.4m long x 3m wide x 2.1m high walls (plus roof space)

Here is  a current kit list, excluding power tools:

  • Axminster AW106PT Planer/Thicknesser
  • SIP 12″ 01486 Bandsaw
  • Axminster ADE1200 Dust Extractor/Chip Collector
  • Nilfisk-Alto Aero 25-21 Vacuum Extractor
  • Clarke CDP201B Pillar Drill/Drill Press
  • Smiths Woodworker” Mortiser (16mm/5/8″ maximum chisel capacity)
  • Jet JBOS-5 Oscillating Spindle Sander/Bobbin Sander
  • Hegner HSM300 12″ Disc Sander
  • Axminster M900 Woodturning Lathe
  • Work Sharp 3000 Grinder/Tool Sharpener
  • Freud FT2000VCE  ½in. Router (in Router Table)
  • Earlex HV5000 Spray Station

Thanks for reading – I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour! Please keep an eye out for the next instalment, six-months from now.

[Whenever I’ve tried to type “tour” in this post, I’ve ending up spelling “router“… This is an example of the kind of effect woodworking has on the human mind!!]

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