Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

While I’m Working…

A few weeks ago, The Wood Whisperer (Marc Spagnuolo) made an honest admission (with a video) that the current layout of his workshop, one-year on, was far from ideal when it comes to actually making something [see Shop Evaluation Update]. I thought it was great to be able to see the true state of his ‘shop, while he’s working – which is something you don’t get with with most Workshop Tours, since the author generally has a thorough tidy up and puts everything neatly back in to place, ready for the camera…

I’m equally as guilty of this myself. 😳 So, in order to clear my conscience and cleanse my soul, let’s take a look at how much ‘shop has been looking for the past week… 😕

Enter, if you dare...!!

Before we go any further, I’d like to mention that I’ve only been in my workshop for the odd hour here and there, throughout the past seven-days – which doesn’t really do anything to help justify why it lives in such a state…

From that first photo, you should be able to see that my router table is set up and ready to go, which eats away another two-square feet of precious floor space (no room for assembling any large dining tables, etc.). Also note the small deposits of shavings left carelessly on the floor – there can often be more than four-times as much, when I’m working in here on a regular basis!

Next up, we have a view of the workbench:

"Yep, my 'bench is under there, somewhere..."

Again, you need to bear in mind that I haven’t spent much time in there lately – and yet, my beautiful workbench still ends up becoming a ‘dumping ground’ for all the tools, bits and pieces I’ve been carrying around with me. 🙄 God, help me, whenever I need to use my ‘bench again!

That space behind the pillar drill, in and around my mortiser, remains almost spotlessly clean – though, that’s probably got more to do with the fact that it’s almost inaccessible, most of the time, even when my space is ‘well organised’!

I should also perhaps mention that my pillar drill was being service (brand-new bearings and drive belts) when I took this shot, which does at least explain why that one is littered with tools all over. I’m still waiting for one spare part to arrive, before I can finish this off and sell it – yes, I have a replacement lined up, which I should be collecting on Friday! 😉

A familiar scene, regardless of what I am working on, is to find the planer-thicknesser less in thicknessing mode, as it’s very awkward in a small space (more-so than time-consuming) to switch back to surface-planing; having to refit the fence and bridge guard, and rotate the machine 180° so that I can connect my extractor. I don’t mind having to roughly face and edge something by hand when I need a replacement, as the thicknesser will do all the rest. It’s still a right pain having to store the fence and guard elsewhere, though.

What floor space?!

I’ve regularly been using my router table for moulding, rebating and grooving operations, which has seen it left set-up in the centre of my space. It does make for another tight squeeze to get around the bandsaw and it also has to be moved again when I need to use my thicknesser. At least though, on that B&D Workmate, the working height is conveniently higher than both the planer and bandsaw – not something I had planned for but, it’s very welcome, all the same! 😉 Damp rags and used pots are usually left on the disc sander table, while I wait for the excess oil to dry.

Let’s take a closer look at the bandsaw…

If those lengths (most of which, I promise you, I am intending to work with!) aren’t sat here then they’re usually sat on my mitre saw station. When I need to use my mitre saw, they find their way on to here; and vice-versa. I still don’t have a home for components as I’m working with them – one day, perhaps, if I can free up some available wall space…

One machine I will I will not apologise for is the bobbin sander:

I doesn’t get used as often as most of my other kit but, when I do need it (usually for shaping MDF templates), there’s no better machine for the job. You hear horror stories of how sanding bobbins can vibrates loose from pillar drills while under load, which is why I much prefer to have a dedicated machine. As I don’t use if that often, it does lend itself to being a useful space for dumping spanners and the like, as it also sits close to the main door. It doesn’t take up much space, either, and I can use it without having to move it very far at all. But, yes, storing all that sits on top does present another problem in itself! Behind that, you can see (currently) three bags of shavings, ready to find a new home.

I can’t think of anything else to add right now although, I’m sure I’ll trip over something else if I decide to venture out in to the workshop, later on today (I am secretly working on my entry for British Woodworking’s Block Plane Challenge – only ten-days left to enter!!). Having used my toolbox a lot in the past week, I’m already aware of a few areas in need of development – I’ll be sure to add to those in future and, of course, I’ll keep you posted!

Thanks for reading.


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