Furnishing the Penultimate Shop

I’ve called this web log The Penultimate Woodshop because that’s what I feel I’m constructing. I know I’ll never be done and have the ultimate woodshop so I’m figuring that if I can achieve my penultimate shop, I’ll be in good shape (yes, even that may be an unrealistic goal). I would like to begin by sharing some of the shop projects I’ve completed and some which are still on the drawing board.

Completed (or at least in use) shop projects:
These projects are currently in use in my shop. Most are finished.

Vacuum Boom Arm: I built this quickly from some scrap 3/8” plywood and two butt hinges. It’s mounted to the wall above my workbench. I have a premium Ridgid vacuum hose and an extension cord permanently mounted to it. The hose runs behind and under the workbench. When I’m using it, I plug the hose into my Festool CT22 dust extractor which lives next to the bench. The extension cord is either plugged into the wall or the CT22, depending on whether I want tool actuated vacuuming or not. In practice this quick item has worked even better than expected. It keeps my shop dust free and all the cords out of the way like a charm.

Slide Out Storage Cabinet: This quick cabinet came together after viewing a similar item on the Grizzly website. I almost broke down and bought theirs until I realized that their side accessed slide our racks would use up the adjoining wall space and not save me any room. I built my cabinet so that all five slide out compartments pull out from the front. Currently that allows me to hang cords and hoses on the sides. Ultimately, it will let me install additional cabinets immediately next to it.

Drawer Box Stack: This is a quick frame to support four TaskForce mid-drawer units I picked up on the cheap from Lowe’s. I’m currently storing everything from planes to pencils in the drawers. As my only complaint about this unit is that it’s too small in the future I need to better organize these drawers and either buy more of the TaskForce units or make some custom ones of my own.

Rolling Drill Press Bench with Storage: This is the only cabinet that survived the move from my old house & shop. The others just didn’t fit. This cabinet has Lee Valley metal drawers on the front and two shelves on the back. It was originally designed as a stand for my drill press. While the drill press still rests on top, it now must share the space with my 12” sliding compound miter saw. Needless to say neither can be used when they share this bench. As the shop progresses, this will be replaced or cannibalized into other cabinets.

Future Shop Projects:
My future projects approach delusions of grandeur. I’m looking forward to building them and I hope they make interesting content for this web log.

Insulation and Sheathing: I plan to insulate the walls with polyisocyanurate insulation and sheath the inside faces with 3/4” T&G OSB. That will get me an R value of 40 and rock solid walls I can attach anything too.

Workbench: I’ve been converted to the workbench religion by Chris Schwarz. I’m experimenting with various materials (Timberstand, pre-made finger joint panels, LVL’s) and plan to ultimately build a cross between Megan Fitzpatrick’s Gluebo Workbench and Bob Lang’s 21st Century workbench. I also plan to incorporate many work holding elements into my miter saw bench for more options.

Miter Saw Bench: I’m a miter saw lover. I have a decade old DeWalt 12” sliding dual compound miter saw. As I need to place it against the wall in my new (yeah, 2 years on I still call it that) shop I’m contemplating replacing the DeWalt with the Festool Kapex KS 120, Makita LS1016 10-inch Dual Bevel Sliding Miter Saw or the new Bosch GCM12SD 12" Axial-Glide Miter Saw. In the end the unit which lets me place it closest to the wall will win (probably). The miter saw bench may be built of torsion boxes, but will most likely be made of solid wood like an actual workbench. I’m also planning to add work holding features (such as a crochet and some sort of face vice) so that it can do double duty as a long workbench when I swing the saw handle out of the way.

Flip Up Planer Stand: I have a DeWalt 13” lunch box planer, which I really like. In the completed shop it will either live behind my table saw or (more likely) under my miter saw bench. Regardless of which location wins out, I’ll have to make a flip stand for it so that it can rotate to be on the stand or hang within the stand. That way it’ll fit under the table saw table or miter saw bench.

Plastic Storage Case Drawer Unit: I use lots of plastic suitcase style cases for my fasteners. I like the portability of the suitcase style for projects outside the shop and the lids keep everything dust free. My problem with them is that I never have the open counter space in the woodshop to pull out a case and open it without burying something else. I plan to make a custom drawer unit which will store the suitcase style cases on drawers. When closed they’ll all sit in a nice stack and I can open a drawer and then lift the lid of the suitcase container while it rests on the open drawer. If I need it out of the woodshop, I can just lift the suitcase style case up and carry it off.

Those are some of the projects I’ve either already build or have floating around in my head. As they get built and turn into reality, I’ll share the process.

What have you built for your wood shop? What do you want to build for it?