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Not your typical workshop

Not many woodworkers move their sheet goods with a tractor, but this Colorado shop has the space and the equipment, so why not?

  • Colorado classic

    Outside Elizabeth, Colorado, on the eastern slope of the Rockies, John Herboldsheimer's 18'x28'6'' workshop lacks a view but not much else. Contained within a larger metal structure, that used to house his concrete business, the shop is surrounded by hallways and small offices once used by his employees. "We built those offices for the business, and it took my view away," says John, 66. No matter. After spending most of his life on this 41-acre homesite, John is well aware of the scenery.

  • Shop within a shop

    Shop Specs

    TYPE: Outbuilding

    SIZE: 18'x28'6'' shop within a larger building; ceiling height is 8'

    CONSTRUCTION: Metal structure with foam insulation on concrete pad

    HEATING: Overhead waste-oil heater

    COOLING: None

    ELECTRICAL: 200-amp service

    LIGHTING: 2x4' reflective ceiling troffers; task lighting

    DUST COLLECTION: Jet 3-hp four-bag system with remote

    AIR COMPRESSOR: Upright 80-gal., 3-hp

  • Retired but not resting

    John is semiretired and spends a lot of his time at this mobile island workbench, which he built.

  • Lots of height

    Rows of 2x4' reflective troffers illuminate John's shop, and acoustical tiles absorb much of the noise. Aluminum-reinforced slot wall provides substantial space to store hand tools and accessories. A collection of Nebraska license plates started by John's father lines most of the shop's perimeter.

  • He sharpens his own

    Trained as a machinist, John has fully equipped his shop to keep blades sharp and his tools in good working order.

  • The main work area

    The sliding doors shown on the left connect to the vehicle bays, where most of John's stock lumber and sheet goods are stored. Tools are conveniently positioned on each side of the sliders so workpieces can be easily cut down, minimizing the movement of large pieces inside the shop.

  • Room for metal working

    A 10'x10'6'' metalworking room connects to the workshop through a sliding door. The room contains a metalworking lathe and mill, as well as a sharpening bench with grinders and a finishing machine.

  • The floor plan

    John knew that his tablesaw would be at the center of his shop, but because a pair of sliding doors on one side open to a larger building, he was able to distribute tools, accessories, and supplies around both. The effect is an organized shop, with the frequently used tools close by, and the noisemaking, space-eating accessories such as the dust collector, air compressor, and furnace in a separate space.

  • Wall-storage options

    Organization and accessibility are important to John, as indicated by the tools and accessories that line this wall. Dust-collection ducts around the perimeter at ceiling height include drops to the disc sander, router table, and shaper, all of which are on wheels. A knob at each tool controls a blast gate. The dust collector is operated by remote control.

  • Mobile router table

    John wanted his router to be mobile, so he built this router-table cabinet from scratch. The cabinet rests on a caster at each front corner and a pad on each back corner. A third caster was placed in the center. By lifting a small handle (on the left side of the cabinet in the photo), the side with the pads is elevated to caster height. The unit sits square and stable when the handle is lowered.

  • Organzied to the hilt

    Multiple compartmentalized drawers provide organized storage for insert plates, bits, and other accessories in his router cabinet.

  • Rolling workbench

    John built this island workbench-the focal point of most projects-that includes storage shelves on the front and back, a vise, and electrical outlets. The worksurface extends beyond the cabinets to facilitate clamping. The surface is bored at intervals for bench dogs that extend vise capacity. One end is on fixed wheels; the other end is on feet. John also designed the handle, which includes a set of wheels. When a pin attached to the wheels is hooked under a lip attached to the workbench and the handle is pushed down, the workbench rises and can be towed around the shop. "I hang the handle behind the drill press," John says. "When I need it, I know where it is, and when I don't, it's out of sight."

  • Not your typical workshop

    He built the wagon toy box for his grandson, purchasing the pattern but modifying the design. The wagon is made of oak and oak plywood.

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