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A fully loaded workshop play space

Paul Amberg knew he wanted a well-equipped workshop when he retired, but he didnt’t want to wait that long to have his fun. So he built it 20 years early.

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Lit for success

An ample number of high-intensity fluorescent lights provide illumination for close-in operations that demand a high degree of accuracy. Several windows provide natural light. A 3-hp cyclone dust collector helps keep tools and workshop clean.

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Insulate to save

By simply adding two layers of 2'' extruded foam to the exterior of the shop's garage door during the winter months, Paul cut his heating bills in half. Six-inch studs allowed for plenty of insulation. A ceiling-hung noncombustible heater is fueled by three 100-gallon tanks stored outside.

TYPE: Dedicated outbuilding that mimics the look of the owner's home

SIZE: 24x36' with 10' ceiling

CONSTRUCTION: Concrete pad with insulated 2x6 wall framing and epoxy floor coating

HEATING: LP-powered ceiling-hung heater


ELECTRICAL: 220- and 110-volt service

LIGHTING: Six 8' fluorescent light fixtures

DUST COLLECTION: 3-hp Tempest cyclone

AIR COMPRESSOR: 27-gallon Coleman Powermate

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A matching pair

To comply with subdivision covenants, the architecture of Paul's detached workshop matches his home. "It was more expensive that way, but I'm glad I did it," he says.

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All the right stuff

The workbench in the background was built at the same height as the tablesaw to support sheet goods.

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The floor plan

Paul designed his shop for an efficient movement of materials from one workstation to another and for easy storage and access of unwieldy sheet goods. An overhead garage door and a rafter-mounted winch nearby facilitate unloading heavy equipment from his pickup truck. Inside the 24x36' shop, another winch system makes hoisting and retrieving sheet goods to and from the attic storage space easy.

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Super-simple sheet goods elevator

Paul lowers sheet goods into the workshop from the attic with help from a rafter-mounted winch. This approach lets him store bulky materials out of the way, leaving more room in the shop to move around.

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Easy on the back

With the sheet goods carrier lowered to the floor, Paul turns a screw-mounted block of wood to release the plywood. He'll return to the attic to winch up the empty carrier and store it out of the way.

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Low-dough, easy-on, easy-off drill-press worksurface

Simple but effective, two carriage bolts hold this medium-density fiberboard (MDF) worksurface to the drill-press table, and a pair of C-clamps secure its fence. To build one for your drill press, simply make any modifications needed to fit your model's table.

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Flip-up pipe-clamp support

Frustrated with pipe-clamp holders that tipped over, Paul added these ingenious flip-up supports to his workbench. A short piece of dowel holds the hinged holders in the up and down positions.

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Inexpensive floor sweep

A simple bottomless box made of MDF, with a dust-collection hole in its top and angled baffles for channeling debris, makes for an inexpensive but effective floor sweep. The main duct runs diagonally across the ceiling, with branches serving individual machines and this floor sweep.

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