Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Workshop Tour – 13/08/2010

Has it really been six-months already?! Doesn’t time fly…

[Click here for my previous Workshop Tour.]

Welcome back to my workshop. Please step inside to see how (or, if!) things have changed since February…

Come on in!

From the outside, you should already be able to see the great 16in Startrite 401e bandsaw, which is one of several new arrivals since my last update. In fact, this arrived only days after the last one, if I remember rightly. Down the left-hand side at the front of my workshop, there’s still the big ugly shelving unit filled with mostly household junk. In front of that, I have my offcuts bin and bobbin sander, leading up to the new saw (with my mountain bike sandwiched somewhere in behind…).

Just in front of my bandsaw is where I like to stack my boxes of offcuts (which are offered to Freecyclers as firewood) and a bag of floor-sweepings, before it grows enough to be emptied in to the ‘Green‘ bin at the local Recycling Centre. I could try rearranging things so that this is closer to the door but, compared to the sander and wood bin in front, this actually has a smaller footprint (though, it still has to be moved when changing the bandsaw blade, so that I can get the door open).

I do keep another bin to the right of my mitre saw as well. This takes kindling-sized stuff which I deem too small to appeal to anyone look for real ‘burnable’ chunks.

Behind my bandsaw is where the vacuum lives. It is predominantly used with that machine and, being next to the workbench, it’s also ‘on stand-by‘ for any power tool work.

Moving on, and the workbench is still going very strong, one-year on and with all the recent modifications I’ve previously blogged about…

Workbench, 2009.

As you’ll see elsewhere on this visit; my workshop is still brimming with offcuts, stacked up to the rafters! Even the workbench cannot escape from its duties of storing a few short lengths, below…

Tool storage along the back wall has come along rather well:

Though, I’m still looking for a solution to storing my sash cramps, after having a 16amp socket installed… (It really was the best place for it, considering it is used solely with my big bandsaw.)

On to the far left corner and you’ll see that my router table now lives on top of a mobile toolbox [I’m desperate to find a buyer for that box!!]. It really is too heavy to keep lumping it around, in and out from below my sliding mitre saw (power tool cases live under there, now). The rest of this corner isn’t as tidy, with bits of spruce and a full bag of shavings obscuring access to my secure tool cabinet.

Let’s step-back and take a look at the rear-end of my workshop, for a moment:

I still believe that, if I can find the money to to fit some more joists and create a roof-storage space overhead, I would be able to clear this entire shelving unit and then push some of my less-easily accessible machinery (the mortiser!) back in to action.

Here is my mortiser, in case you were wondering; with my 110v transformer alongside it (both still atop the chest freezer) and a chip extractor on the floor, next to this.

From your last visit, you may recall that my smaller 12in bandsaw would have been in the next photo on these rounds (right-hand side, near the middle of the ‘shop). Now, however, this is where my lathe-cum-disc sander stand is situated, having shifted over to make way for the arrival of the Startrite 401e. This works quite well, for me, as it allows me to manoeuvre the planer-thicknesser quite easily, when required.

It’s also housed and shielded quite nicely below two more storage shelves:

Actually, since taking this photo, I’ve had a sort through this rack to dig out some 1in English oak for a wall rack I’m going to make. It’s odd, though… I barely found enough oak to do the job but, this rack still looks like it’s about to tear the wall down! πŸ˜€

Ah. Now, this would be the heart of wood storage in my workshop. Not ideal in any sense or meaning of the word! Particularly not in the winter, when damp creeps in through the walls and floor.

As much as I’d like to have most of this lot up on the wall as well, the up-and-over door would prevent me from storing anything wider than 10-12in. 😑

Then, there’s my sliding compound mitre saw. When you were last hear, this was the Bosch GCM 12 SD model. In truth, I never really got on well with that saw, which is why it has been replaced my the Makita LS1013. This one was also second-hand but, it’s as good as new and is far more reliable than that Bosch saw ever was!

As with most mitre saws, dust collection is highly inefficient. To be far, the bag fills up very quickly but, as you can see; an awful lot of waste ends up on the shelving unit behind. Incidentally, I’ve tried giving this one away on Freecycle but, still no takers. 😦 The back panel is pretty damp so, I may end up recycling this myself in to a horizontal storage rack along that back wall, later.

Painting the inside face of that door has made quite a difference. As much as I love having a large bandsaw like this, I do also appear to have lost some floor space which, in the past, had been used to assemble dining table frames – I know; hard to believe, isn’t it! πŸ™‚ If I can sort my storage out though, move things around at the back of the ‘shop and get that pillar drill off the floor (it’s a bit like Steven Gerrard – seems to think it has a right to wander wherever it chooses… Except, it’s not a c**t – it’s a Clarke! πŸ˜‰). I may even replace it with a smaller bench top model, as I really don’t need such a large drill press.

That just about concludes the tour for another six-months. You don’t need me to tell you that I haven’t yet made any developments on the overhead-storage front though, it remains sky-high on my priorities list. The irony is that, while I’m concerned about spending money on that part of my workshop (I would budget Β£200 in materials for the job), I’ve spent much more than that on timber and tools in the past six-months, without batting an eyelid! πŸ™„

I’ve had dreams of moving out and renting my own, larger workshop with space to breathe and leave each individual machine in its own designate space; perhaps even add some more kit… Though, as my business is slow a the moment and we can never know what the future does hold, I think I’m going to take some advice recently given to me by Richard Maguire… ‘Keep your overheads low for as long as possible’. Which, basically, means staying put and making more of the space I’ve got.

Now, if only I’d decided to do that when I had money in the bank…!! πŸ˜›

When is rains heavily as well, rust is still an issue in my workshop, as you’ll be able to see with the ‘scars‘ left on top of my planer:

This is also why a scrap of 6mm plywood sits on my bandsaw’s table, while the machine is not in use:

Before we end this tour, here is a glance at my current kit list; not including most portable power tools:

  • Axminster AW106PT Planer/Thicknesser
  • Startrite 401e Bandsaw
  • Makita LS1013 Sliding Compound Mite Saw
  • Axminster ADE1200 Dust Extractor/Chip Collector
  • Nilfisk-Alto Aero 25-21 Vacuum Extractor
  • Clarke CDP201B Pillar Drill/Drill Press
  • β€œSmiths Woodworker” Mortiser (16mm/5/8β€³ maximum chisel capacity)
  • Jet JBOS-5 Oscillating Spindle Sander/Bobbin Sander
  • Hegner HSM300 12β€³ Disc Sander
  • Axminster M900 Woodturning Lathe
  • Work Sharp 3000 Grinder/Tool Sharpener
  • Freud FT2000VCEΒ Β Β½in. Router (in Router Table)
  • Earlex HV5000 Spray Station
  • …And, not forgetting the DAB radio; tuned in to Planet Rock on a daily basis! πŸ˜‰

Thank you very much indeed for reading. I do hope you’ve enjoyed the tour. πŸ™‚


7 responses to “Workshop Tour – 13/08/2010

  1. knottywood 13/08/2010 at 18:06

    Thanks for the tour. You are starting to get it sorted and figured out. You remind me of me a long time ago. A little advice, nice to keep your over head low, but start looking for a new space now. It took me over two years to find the place I am in now. Then it took me a month of 12 hours days to build it out like I wanted.

    I have everything, access, parking, bathroom, utility sink, power, heat, lights, storage, high ceilings, constant temp and humidity, fire sprinklers, trash pick up, close to home and in the middle of the industrial district. I also have ten neighbors that have similar business so I can borrow huge band saws, Timesaver sanders, CNC router table and a spray booth. Even though we have separate shops we are a collective that keeps the rent cheap. They hook me up with work too! Until you look to see what is out there you won’t know.

    I was in a 12’x20′ space for benches and machines and another 12’x20′ for storage, office desk, drafting table, for 17 years. It was just going to be temporary for a few months… yeah, right. I never got it set up efficiently. I wasted so much time moving things so I could work, always cleaning up and repacking stuff like a Chinese jigsaw puzzle. Very slow and frustrating. The first thing I learned is to put everything I could on casters so I could move it out of the way.

    The upside was that I really learned how I work. The first thing I did in building out the new shop was to build benches with big drawers on full extension slides for all my hand tools and small power tools, jigs, hardware, fasteners. Everything has a place. The last thing I need to do is build a clamp rack. I have been in here for five years now and still haven’t come up with a good solution… but I will.

    You will move when your rips and off cuts take over, ha, ha.

    Good luck, I enjoy following your posts.

    • Olly Parry-Jones 15/08/2010 at 10:56

      Hi and thanks for your reply. πŸ™‚

      I agree, it would be good to start looking ASAP although, even if something comes up and I could afford it, I don’t think I’ll be looking to make a move until I have a more consistent stream of working coming in. There was a place around the corner that was available, until recently. I couldn’t afford it but, it had a separate office space (two, in fact!), was in a great area to attract passers-by and also had a very secure area (it used to be a car-sales lot). The ‘workshop’ wasn’t much bigger than my current space but, it wasn’t full of household junk, either! πŸ˜€

      Looks like I’ll have one more winter to spend in my current space… 😦

      I like the idea of being on an industrial estate. Your neighbours could sharpen all your tooling and repair your machinery for you! πŸ˜‰ If/when I do move out though, I think I’ll definitely be looking to share or rent-out a larger space with someone else. As much as I like ‘my own’ workshop, isolation doesn’t suit me.

      There are still a couple of improvement I’d like to make to the current garage, which could also add a small amount to the value of our house so, if the cold really bites again this winter, perhaps I’ll spend my time and money working on those instead.

      Thanks again for reading. I’ve also been keeping an eye on your blog. πŸ˜‰


  2. pobworker 18/08/2010 at 15:39

    You seemed to be squeezed for space.

  3. Ashley Short 01/01/2011 at 20:55

    Hi olly
    I just seen your blog and I like the workshop, I started on a lvl 2 carpentry & joinery course in september and now i’m converting our double garage into workshop. I just wanted to know what you thought about your planer thicknesser and whether or not you would have liked a seperate planer? what are your thoughts on the Axminster ct1502?
    How are you doing on your course when do you finish and what are you gonna do after it?
    Hope you don’t mind me contacting you Hope you have a great new year.

    • Olly Parry-Jones 02/01/2011 at 02:34

      Hi Ashley,

      It’s not a bad machine, overall. I do think that the efficiency of the dust extraction could be better when used as both a planer and thicknesser. Otherwise, it’s quite reliable and has good capacities for the money. If I had the space though, I’d love to have separate machines. I would actually like to buy a CT1502 planer, if I can reorganise things in a few months and squeeze it in… The plan then would be to remove the tables from the AW106PT and use that solely as a thicknesser – it’s got a nice induction motor, which you won’t otherwise get with one of these machines (brand new) unless you’re prepared to spend Β£800+! πŸ˜›

      It would just save a bit of time and hassle having to change between modes, if I had two separate planing machines. You do have to remove both the fence and bridge guard assembly (and, store them temporarily somewhere!) on the AW106PT. Some might see the 6in width capacity on the CT1502 as a limitation but, it depends on the work you do… For furniture and a lot of joinery jobs, you can usually work around it, when you have to, even if it means carefully splitting wide boards in two before rejoining them. If wide boards are reasonably flat and true then, you could probably get a decent result just feeding them through a thicknesser.

      With a double-garage though, you shouldn’t have any issues with space or anything – unless you’re planning to do something daft like keep a vehicle in there!! πŸ™„ πŸ˜‰

      I’m currently working a seriously degrading, demoralising job in a warehouse, just to keep a pitiful amount of money coming in through the winter (I’m counting down the days until March!!!). My course finished last summer and, although I took part in a couple of furniture exhibitions, I haven’t yet had much work come through to keep me busy. The plan is to try and stick this out for another month or two (until the weather improves!), at which point, I’m going to start advertising properly and hopefully get something off the ground…

      Most of the money I earn is going back in to the workshop (insulation, etc.), to make it a better place to work efficiently. I wish I’d done all this before I started filling the space with tools, though… Sounds as though you might have the right idea! πŸ™‚ I highly recommend good insulation in the roof and also a couple of inches in the walls, if you can afford it (it would also help to keep the neighbours happy by reducing noise!).

      Where are you studying?

      Thanks for your message. Happy New Year,


  4. Ashley Short 02/01/2011 at 18:11

    HI olly thanks for the reply.

    I’m studying at Otley college Suffolk. I’m thinking of doing a furniture/cabinet making course when I finish this one, (Is that what you were studying?). We get to fit kitchen cabinets as part of the course and I would like to learn how to make them also among all the other thing’s I want to make lol. How’s the pk200 table saw? Did you sort out what was wrong with it?

    I got the Makita 2704 a little while ago (I’m a bit of a Makita addict lol ). I think it is good as when I’m not using it I can drop the stand and move it about a lot easier. Plus the tables can extend. Still a bit tricky ripping down 8 x 4 though I think it is safer to use a circular saw to rough it out then use the table saw to finish up the cutting, Especially when you work alone like us.

    My grandma parks her car in there over winter BRING ON THE SUMMER LOL.

    Is the Jet planer the same as the axminster?

    I was looking at jets 8 inch planer on ebay one sold for Β£499.00 shame it wasn’t near me.

    I might be able to get some Celotex from the company as it is only 15 mins down the road from me and someone said to me that they give away any damaged or 2nd’s quality stock that they cannot sell. Might have to go down one day and load my van up lol. I bet it gets pricey if you have to buy the stuff.

    If your that stuck for space I’ll happily take that startrite bandsaw off your hands ROFL.


    • Olly Parry-Jones 02/01/2011 at 23:20

      Yes, that’s basically what I did – three-years in Carpentry, followed by another three in Cabinet Making (with a one-year ‘break’ of full-time work in between). With the furniture course, you’re actually awarded a certificate in “Furniture Production” – it’s just a name that suits society today… We didn’t get to learn about (practically) hanging cabinets or any fitted kitchen work, for that matter, in either course, which is strange, I must admit. Everything else was covered though – and, I mean, everything! πŸ˜‰

      I haven’t used my table saw much at all but, it does seem to ‘work’, sort of… That reminds me that I do have some crude video footage to edit at some point where I’m ripping with a couple of new blades. At Β£52 though, it was too good to ignore. I would still prefer to have a saw with telescopic extensions in my current workshop and I narrowly missed out on buying a used Makita 2704 locally for Β£200, shortly before buying the PK200. I’m still convinced it can be a good saw, I just haven’t yet worked out how to make the most of it in my current space.

      I’m not aware of any other branded machines that are identical to the CT1502. Fox used to do an 8in machine for a reasonable price but, that disappeared from the UK market three or four years ago. The Jet 60A would be the next option up but, it’s more than double the price! I can’t understand why there’s nothing in between… Especially when you can buy a 10x7in planer-thicknesser for Β£600-700.

      There’s a company called Seconds & Co. who specialise in supplying seconds-grade insulation sheets. However, I had a quote from them not long ago and it was barely any cheaper than buying new, once you factored in the delivery costs (several eBay sellers offer free nationwide delivery for new stock, although there is a minimum order quantity). Sounds like you may have it sorted, though! πŸ˜‰

      Anyone who wants that bandsaw would have to go through me – it won’t fit through the workshop door, either!!! πŸ˜€


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