A Wood Shop of Sorts

One of the reasons, besides the Pacific Northwest winter weather, that I haven't been posting anything Bolero related is that I have been finishing up building and outfitting a small wood shop.

Why a wood shop of sorts? Well limitations on space and a bunch of other issues determined that the maximum footprint would be 10 ft x 12 ft. Also no permanent electrical service. So basically an over achieving shed.

Having just worked with Tim to find a way to have a modicum of comfort in an old skinny race boat I was optimistic that I could come up with a small shop that I could do real work in. I was also motivated to give up my existing outdoor front porch working environment.

After a bit of studying of various types and plans for small sheds I settled on the Saltbox design shown below.

I have always like this design and I thought it would fit nicely on the site that I had planned. It is pretty conventional although I did make a couple of significant changes. First I incorporated a structural ridge beam so I could have a high ceiling without collar ties for the rafters. And second, I elected to use two large skylights in lieu of windows in the walls.

The project was carried out over many months in distinct stages. Before you rightfully label me a slacker, which I am, remember I had some important sailing to do and a boat shed to build. Still, the Pyramid job probably seems fast by comparison.

Framing (February & March 2008)
I had already laid a gravel pad when I repositioned my irrigation catchment tank. I knew a small shop was coming so I sized it accordingly. That made framing easy since I had a nice place to work that was out of the mud. As seems to be the case, the stick go up quickly.

Roofing and Siding (Summer and Fall 2008)

For some reason I can't find my photos of the this stage of the building process. But the roofing went on first, after a lengthy roofing order delay, and the siding quickly after that. I also built a sliding door. All in all mostly finished by this time.

Insulation & Finishing (January 2009)

Two events cause work on the shop to come to a grinding halt. First Tim finished Bolero's construction and she was delivered to Lopez in late September. And every day I wasn't sailing I was working on the new Clearspan boat shed. So finishing up the interior languish until the new year.

Nothing special about this stage. Traditional insulation and I elected to use Luan plywood instead of drywall for the interior finishing. I also insulated the sliding door with rigid foam.

Electrical and Dust Control (January 2009)

With the insulation and siding complete I was getting anxious to wrap this project up. I had already moved many of my tools in and I was getting tired of moving everything every time I did something new to the interior. The dust control system was pretty straight forward as everything was going to run through my shop vac. The electrical system was a bit trickier. Since there isn't an electric panel in the shop I run everything off of two heavy duty extension cords from exterior outlet from the house. What I wanted to do was eliminate the messy and dangerous tangle of extension cords I was currently using. So I created and internal shop electrical system that plugged in (I also did this for my air compressor).

Pictures of my electrical system and dust control system will be in every picture in the tool outfitting section.

Tool Outfitting (February 2008 thru February 2009)

I did quite a bit of reading and researching trying to decide how to outfit my small shop so that I could actually use the tools after they moved in. I started out being drawn towards the Shopsmith system but could never quite commit to it. The big problem that concerned me was infeed and outfeed requirements for a table saw, jointer etc in a small 10 ft by 12 ft space. I finally stumbled onto Festool and their guide rail system. This has the advantage, for my small space, of moving the tool over the wood instead of the wood over the tool. So my basic Festool woodworking tools include the following.
  • 2 Festool MFT3 Multifunction Tables
  • Festool TS 55 Plunge Cut Circular Saw
  • Festool Rotex RO 125 Dual-Mode Sander
  • Festool OF 1010 EQ Plunge Router
  • Festool CT 22 HEPA Dust Extractor

That is the new side of my small shop. There is also an old side with some classic "arn".

I always knew I wanted a bandsaw and a drill press but the more research I did the less I was drawn to the modern imported big box tools. Somehow I happen across the Old Woodworking Machines forum and quickly found these gems. The bandsaw is a 70s vintage Rockwell 28-200 14" and the drill press is a 40s vintage Craftsman 101.03622. Both are quite stout and working fine. I also have an old Atlas shaper which isn't shown (a small project).

In addition I have a slew of 18 volt Bosch hand tools, an Akeda dove tail jig, a Makita 2012 bench top planer and other stuff.

So that's my small wood shop. So far it is working out great. Time will tell if I can get the functionality I hope for out of such a small space. I do know that I have two pretty aggressive projects ahead to test the concept. A full size Murphy bead and an 8 ft dinghy. I figure if I can build them the rest will be easy.