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Shop Reorg – The cause, the solution

Oh man, do I want this cabinet built and done with. My shop looks like it’s been turned upside down and shaken.

To ready the old cabinets for sale, I had to empty the contents into boxes. Those boxes are piled on and around my second bench. The cabinets then went to the front of the garage, leaving j-u-s-t enough outfeed space at the jointer. The motorcycle had to be moved over to within inches from the sheet goods rack. And I only sold one of the old cabinets, so the larger of the two still sits in the garage. The carcase of the new cabinet lies on its back in the middle of the floor by the main bench. There’s j-u-s-t enough room for me to squeeze around it. And that’s only possible because I’m not a very big guy. The bench is piled with tools and hardware. The wing of the table saw is piled with drawer parts. And I still have to step over that #!*% DC duct a hundred times a day!

I’m able to work and find what I need, but shimmying sideways around the cabinet carcase is getting old. And that cabinet is the key to getting everything reorganized. Odd isn’t it? The cause of the problem is also the solution.

Craig Ruegsegger

Shop Reorg – Chapter 1

Okay, here’s a photo of the shop as it stands now. Believe it or not, I tidied up before taking this. The new DC is in the foreground. The arrow points to the hose I have to step over every time i enter the shop. Not good. Plus I have to wheel it around to reach the bandsaw. The arrow toward the top of the photo points to the old cabinets back in the corner that are going bye-bye to make room for the DC back there. A run of 6″ duct from the DC, along the wall under the window will allow for branches to each machine.

Shop Before - DC hose

Shop Before - DC hose

Here’s a look at the old cabinets. Just salvaged from friends when they were remodeling. Think I paid $35 total for both. They’ve served well, but they’re sure ugly. Read more

One thing leads to another

I’ve acquired a new dust collector, a 1 1/2hp Jet. It’s just enough bigger than my old machine, footprint-wise, that I need to do some rearranging of the shop so I’m not tripping over the hose. So I measured all the tools, cabinets and my bench, made scale drawings of them and my shop and then proceeded to start arranging things on paper. Much easier than pushing machines around. It’s also something you have to really think about. One factor I neglected to consider initially was room for me! So I made an additional scale of about 30″ square and called it “My Space”. Then after getting machines in the positions I thought would work, I moved “My Space” around to see if I could fit between the machines and had enough room to work. I also made a scale of a 4′x8′ sheet so I could test whether I’d have enough room to move sheet goods.

I think I’ve got the layout decided. And like so many projects, before you can do what you originally wanted (relocate the DC) there are about 10 other things that have to be done first. I’ll get some “before” shots of the shop and post them so you can follow along as I go through this. The big picture view is I’ll be getting rid of at least one, possibly two floor-standing cabinets. To find a home for the items in those cabinets, the DC will rest on a 40″-high cabinet with doors and drawers. Then I’ll rout ducting along one long wall (about 25′) and branch off for each of the machines.
Pics to come to help you get your bearings.
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