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Idea Shop 6, Paycheck 7: On the Right Rout

Idea Shop 6Many woodworkers rate a router as the most versatile tool in a shop. It performs dozens of operations: creating decorative edges on workpieces, cutting dadoes, grooves, and rabbets (see definitions of those terms at the end of this article) for joinery, duplicating parts, and more. If you haven’t used a router before, get started with the basics of handheld router operations here. Read more

Idea Shop 6, Paycheck 6: A Plumb-perfect Rack

Idea Shop 6Much of this paycheck finds it way into the piggy bank, helping grow the balance for the purchase of a router in a few weeks. 

About $25 purchases materials for a wall-mounted rack to hold boards. Secured to wall studs by lag bolts, Read more

Idea Shop 6, Paycheck 5: Rack ‘em Up

Idea Shop 6Building projects requires boards and plywood, and that requires places to store those materials. Part of this check’s budgeted amount buys the plywood, lumber, screws, and casters to make a rolling rack that doubles as a sheet-goods cutting station. Read more



If it’s Thursday, it must be another trip to the airport to fly somewhere representing WOOD Magazine. This last Thursday, February 11, the destination was St. Louis – land of the Arch, baseball’s Cardinals, BBQ joints, Anheuser-Busch and the Woodworking Shows in nearby Collinsville. I also spent some long overdue time with Mike (my self-described younger and better looking brother) who was also an educator at the shows. A dinner out with about a dozen mutual friends capped off a great weekend.

Part of that Thursday was also spent at the Campbell House Museum located just outside downtown St. Louis. Built in 1851 and occupied by the third owners, the Campbell family, it became the social center of that area in the 1870s, with frequent lavish parties and renowned guests including Ulysses S. Grant. The family story is one of great wealth and accomplishment as well as personal tragedies. The home was opulent with the trappings of their elite social status. With all the money spent in furnishings, I was really surprised to find that all the woodwork throughout the home was faux finished to resemble quartersawn oak and figured mahogany. Even the fireplace mantles and many wall coverings were simulated marble. Funny what we woodworkers would find interesting and a bit odd.


As has been the case for as long as I can remember, the St. Louis venue has been well attended and this last weekend was no exception. Even on Sunday, when the snow and slippery conditions would have scared away many lesser individuals, our woodworking friends were out in force. Most vendors reported brisk sales over the three day event.

Like most attendees, I found a lot to look at. During my Saturday morning walk on the show floor, I stopped at Bontz Saw Works and talked to Ron about how he creates these beautiful and functional one of a kind hand saws. From the length of the saw to the tooth count and set as well as the custom fitted handle, these works of art were amazing.

The Belleville Area Holzschnitzers Woodworkers Club featured some bird carvings that almost seemed like they were about to take flight.

A stop at the St. Louis Woodworkers Guild resulted in a very pleasant 15 minute discussion about the guild and its offerings. A number of classes are offered every year and the club has a shop (in partnership with the Creve Coeur Government Center) where members can use the tools and space at no charge. They have also donated over 40,000 toys to area children in need. All this for $30 a year. What a deal! What a club!

The Project Showcase also has a number of excellent entries to be voted on this last weekend. It was very hard to pick winners among the turnings, furniture and jewelry boxes that combined function with beauty and craftsmanship. In the end, it was the “Bonsai Planter Stand” by Jed Conroy that won the Educator’s Choice award.

The People’s Choice went to Carl Probst for his “1918 Minneapolis Moline Tractor” that almost looked like it could have been fired up and driven off. Bosch tools were awarded to each of the winners and all of the over one dozen entries received a show goodie bag for their creators.

With only a couple of days to recharge my own internal batteries, it’s on to New Jerseyand the Garden State Exhibit center in Somerset for a show that runs from February 19-21. Being a part of the Big 10, I fully expect this venue to be jammed from the opening bell on Friday to the shows close on Sunday. In years past, even the expansive outer lobby couldn’t hold all of our attendees prior to opening the show gates. If you haven’t been to a show lately, you owe it to yourself to spend a couple of days with us to take in all of the education and search out that special tool or accessory. You’ll see all our old familiar faces too and meet some new ones as well. And, by the way, the show will have local woodworking clubs helping attendees turn and keep their own pens. Hope to see you there!

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador



It’s been five years since the Woodworking Shows has made an appearance in Chantilly. It was the inability to get into the Dulles Expo (for a myriad of reasons) that had us exhibiting in the general region with varying degrees of success. Though the opportunity to return came with very little notice, we all cancelled plans to get back to what had always been a very successful venue. And we’re glad we did! Read more

Idea Shop 6, Paycheck 4: Teach an Old Drill New Tricks

Idea Shop 6Jigs such as your straightline cutting guides and crosscutting jig help you work more accurately. With this check, you’ll add that kind of accuracy to your cordless drill, and outfit it to do a job you may not have thought about: Read more

Idea Shop 6, Paycheck 3: Get on Your High Horse

Idea Shop 6Working on the floor takes a toll on the knees and back. With this check, you build a pair of sawhorses to elevate your work. When the job is done, the sawhorses fold flat for storage.

Read more

Idea Shop 6, Paycheck 2: Guidance is Needed

Idea Shop 6The straightedge guides made earlier work well for cutting sheet goods to size, but are far too bulky to cut stick lumber to length. To accomplish that, build this simple crosscut guide that provides dead-on accuracy.


Read more

Idea Shop 6, Paycheck 1: Start Off on the Straight and Narrow

Idea Shop 6With your shop site assessed and basic tool kit gathered as described in the first post, the first payday has arrived and you have $150 ready to start building a shop. So without any woodworking-specific tools (yet), where do you start? Simple. Read more

Welcome to Idea Shop 6 – Built on a Budget

So the woodworking bug bit hard, and now you want a nice space to build more stuff. But setting up a fully outfitted shop can be expensive and confusing. Not any longer. As described in issue 238 (March 2016) of WOOD®, we will show you exactly how to set up a shop by working within a budget of $150 every two weeks over 26 pay periods. On that modest amount, you can take an empty space such as the one shown below, and transform it into a full-on woodworking shop, outfitted with quality tools, accessories, jigs, and fixtures. You’ll see immediate results, building things with your new tools right from the start.

Idea Shop 6 before:


 Idea Shop 6:



To coincide with each paycheck’s budgeted $150, we’ll provide in this blog, links to related articles, plans, and videos. To get an email reminder of that posting, sign up for our newsletter by clicking here: woodmagazine.com/newsletter.

The next four posts will outline what to do with your first four budgeted amounts. Because not all of the money gets spent each two weeks, bank the leftover cash for purchasing big-ticket items such as a tablesaw, planer, and jointer. We will recommend good-quality tools but, because this is a budget-based shop, they may not be class-leading. If you can afford more than the budget (or already own some of the items listed), put that extra money towards upgraded tools. Find tool evaluations to guide your choices on ReviewATool.com. At its core, Idea Shop 6 is less about the specific items in it, and more about how to create a workable shop, over time, without breaking the bank.

The first step to setting up a woodworking shop is evaluating your shop site for spaceelectrical needs and wiring, and comfort. As you address any needs in those areas, you can still get started with purchases for your shop. You should have on hand your basic tool kit, described below, or order any missing tools.

Ya Gotta Start Somewhere

You likely already own the tools shown below. If you don’t, acquiring them will cost only about $150, so just tack one more two-week period onto the year. You’ll need them mainly to assemble stationary tools, but the hearing and eye protection, tape measure, and extension cord will be needed from the get-go. Purchase any or all of these items in one fell swoop, and have them delivered to your door: woodmagazine.com/is6basickit.

The recommended basic tool kit includes: Wrench set (metric and imperial), pliers, hacksaw, hex-key set (metric and imperial), safety glasses, ratchet and socket set (metric and imperial), 12′ or 16′ tape measure, screwdrivers (Phillips and slotted), 12-gauge extension cord or power strip, hammer.

In the next post, with your first $150 in hand, you’ll start outfitting your shop.

Curious about Idea Shops 1–5?

Our previous Idea Shops are packed full of ideas including tool stands, innovative storage solutions, tool organizers and more. Here are the issues of WOOD in which each appeared. See highlights, including floorplans with tool placement, at woodmagazine.com/ideashops.

Idea Shop, 14×28′ shed, issue 54 (September 1992)


Idea Shop 2, 24×24′ two-car garage, issue 72 (September 1994)


Idea Shop 3, 12×16′ basement room, issue 100 (November 1997)


Idea Shop 2000, 12×20′ outbuilding, issue 119 (December 1999)


Idea Shop 5, 15×22′ garage stall, issue 151 (October 2003)



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