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Compact and Clean Shop

Tom Medina's shop.
Easy-to-clean and waterproof vinyl plank flooring doesn’t mar when moving equipment around.

Wall showing tool and work bench.
Using a prefab butcher-block top, Tom built his main workbench complete with a face vise, dogholes, and a machinist’s vise.

Floor plan of Tom's shop.

After serving 11 years in the Marine Corps followed by 30 years working for the federal government, Tom Medina would have loved to construct a big woodworking shop in his backyard. His deeply sloping property prevented that, however. So instead, he built the best, most practical basement workshop that fit in the space he had. On the plus side, the slope makes the basement a walk-out, which makes it easy to bring supplies and equipment into the shop.

Tom takes dust mitigation and collection seriously. His air-filtration system, wall-mounted above his router table, more than handles the size of his 210-square-foot shop. For efficiency the filter’s air intake faces the business end of his belt sander, which generates the most dust.

Tom tucked a wall-mounted garage/shop vac into a corner. Its 20' hose reaches anywhere in the shop for cleanup and connects to portable hand or stationary tools, such as his plunge router and random-orbit sander.

Router with steel plate behind it.
A shop-made, magnetically mounted dust port attaches to a fixed steel plate mounted to the drill-press column. Tom can raise and lower the port to accommodate the workpiece thickness.

Using skill saw to cut slot.

Hose attached to box.
The custom dust port for the mitersaw integrates with the fence and connects to a pair of hoses in the back. The replaceable zero-clearance insert up front helps direct dust, and eliminates chip-out for cleaner cuts.

Purchased cabinets.
Purchased cabinets topped with laminate countertops form a space-efficient workstation for benchtop tools.

 Drill press on cabinet.
A lowered mounting surface for the drill press brings the table height to a more comfortable working level.

The dust-collection system starts with 4" PVC ductwork run just above his benchtop-tool workstation and piped into the dust collector in an adjacent room. He connects that run to the tablesaw and other tools with flexible hose only when needed. He made custom dust ports for his drill press and mitersaw (shown above).


Benchtop tools, including an oscillating spindle sander, jointer, and belt sander, occupy space on the bench under the main dust-collection duct. The benchtop drill press rests on a custom cabinet built between two of the main base cabinets. Although his tools share only two dedicated 110-volt circuits, Tom says he’s never tripped a circuit breaker. His dust collector runs on a dedicated 20-amp circuit.

“I am fully retired and my shop is the neutral corner I retreat to when I get underfoot and begin to annoy my bride of 38 years,” he says.

Tom Medina in his shop.
Tom Medina took an interest in woodworking in high school. Lately, his projects have included presentation cases, chess and backgammon storage cases, and speaker cases.

Tom Medina's shop.
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