The "over-the-top" workshop
From the outside, Mike Walker's workshop looks like a well-appointed lakeside retreat . It looks like that on the inside too—except for all the woodworking tools.
Obsessed with organization
Nestled in the forest on a shore of Lake Chelan in central Washington State, Mike Walker's 1,670-square-foot workshop is the epitome of organization. From the outset, plenty of storage space and an efficient workflow dominated the planning. "I am obsessed with organization," Mike says, "and we spent a lot of time planning spaces to accommodate all of the tools and accessories."
About his shop
Mike Walker in his shop.
TYPE: Dedicated outbuilding above a three-car garage and maintenance room
SIZE: 36x39'4'' plus 16x16' project design room (1,670 sq. ft. total)
CONSTRUCTION: Wood frame with 2x6 studs and R-30 insulation on masonry foundation. Ceiling height ranges from 9' to 17'. Lake-facing facade has Marvin low-E bronze-tinted windows.
HEATING: 5-ton Trane heat pump, 25-kilowatt electric furnace, and wood-burning stove
COOLING: Trane heat pump
ELECTRICAL: 200-amp single-phase and 200-amp three-phase service panel
LIGHTING: Ten 2x6' skylights, forty-eight 4' fluorescent lights, ten 75-watt recessed can lights
DUST COLLECTION: Oneida 3-hp cyclone, two JDS Air-Tech air cleaners
AIR COMPRESSOR: 10-hp Eagle
Lots of light
Skylights, fluorescent lights, canned lighting and a wall of windows give Mike sufficient illumination, day or night.
A penchant for play
Creature comforts include a plasma TV and Dolby surround sound.
The floor plan
Mike's shop is built into the side of a hill, which dictated the position of the 8' sliding door on the back of the shop. Materials are stored just inside the door on embedded cantilever-type racks with adjustable arms, which were framed into the wall during construction. Placing the radial-arm saw nearby eases the job of cutting boards to length. With the tablesaw in front of the slider, it can be opened easily when ripping an extra-long piece. "We wanted storage close to the door so we didn't have to cart materials all over the shop," Mike says. "And we wanted the cutoff saw close by. The next thing you use is the tablesaw and jointer. It was kind of like dominoes from there."
Router table riding on air
This 42'' mobile routing table has an Incra precision router lift and Super System fence. Inside, a frame made of used truck parts and air bags allows Mike to raise the table off the floor and move it around the shop.
Storage space galore
Storage space abounds. The router table's multiple drawers provide plenty of storage for a set of twist rings, plus cutters, routers, and related equipment.
Toggle-operated floor sweeps
Floor sweeps with hinged doors help keep the shop floor clean. The original plan was to have the system activated by a magnetic switch when the door was lifted. That was abandoned because the vacuum pressure would slam the door shut while the collector continued to run and clear ducts. A toggle switch just below the door proved to be an adequate substitute.
A place for everything
Drawers under the tablesaw provide an abundance of storage space. These double-sided vertical drawers were made from a single sheet of 4x10' slot wall covered with knotty pine laminate. Two pieces of slot wall were sandwiched in a 2'' alder frame. They glide out easily on full-extension 60'' extra-heavy-duty slides. The cabinet is through-bolted to the floor for stability.
A shallow spot to the left of the cabinet and in front of the saw motor houses a miter gauge, tensioning jig, and other accessories.
A drawer for drills
The drawer was designed to store cordless drills, batteries, and chargers. It is equipped with a timer to prevent chargers from overheating.
Clamps on the move
Rather than mount his clamps on the walls, Mike built this mobile cart.
This wood storage rack, located just inside the 8' sliding door, makes unloading of sheet goods and solid stock efficient.
Tip of the Day
“Feather bar” for working wide pieces
The slot-mounted featherboard that normally guides cuts on my tablesaw doesn’t work for cutting... read more