Handsome Hillside Two-story Shop
When Ken Balatgek built his new workshop, he put a lot of thought into the design. Embedded in an embankment, with the upper-level shop accessible from the main driveway, he uses the lower level for storage and parking his truck. The bottom floor also houses a finishing room, cyclone dust collector, air compressor, and furnace. Between both levels, Ken has about 2,600 square feet of space. A custom-made open freight elevator helps move lumber and projects between floors. Foot traffic uses a spiral staircase.
Blast gates in the floor route dust from the stationary tools, including dual bandsaws and tablesaws, as well as a wide-belt sander, to ductwork in the lower level. Ken ran ethernet cable from each blast gate to a panel with an array of LEDs. Magnetic door- and window-alarm sensors at each blast gate complete a circuit when a gate opens, and a corresponding light glows on the panel. One glance tells Ken how many and which blast gates are open.
For storing hardware, such as screws and other fasteners, Ken was fortunate to obtain some heavy-duty card-catalog cabinets from a library auction. He repainted them and added dividers. Ken built much of the other cabinetry using lumber milled from a beech tree felled by a friend. He made his traditional workbench from soft maple using plans and hardware from Benchcrafted. "It was my first 'big' project," he says.
A heavily insulated ceiling and 2×6 walls allow an air conditioner to cool the shop in the heat of summer without stressing Ken's wallet. Wintertime heat comes from a wood stove or the furnace.
Ken recently acquired a Digital Wood Carver 2440 CNC router. He's having a lot of fun exploring its potential for creating signs, plaques, inlay work, and whatever else he can dream up.
Ken Balatgek stays busy with his dental practice
and raising three girls. His woodworking ventures started less than a decade ago. He enjoys building furniture and woodturning while discovering new potential for his CNC router.