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Man-cave Workshop

Making his bandsaw, router table, benchtop-planer stand, and clamp rack mobile allows Gary to roll them out of the way when not in use.

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Walking into Gary Toles’s outbuilding, you might be confused as to whether you’re in his shop or his den. The recliner, flat-screen TV, mini-fridges, and woodstove within spitting distance of his tablesaw and workbench could throw you off. 

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A retired construction manager, Gary Toles has been woodworking for about 30 years, starting with a Craftsman tablesaw and a Black & Decker router. Over the years, he’s outfitted his home and yard with projects he designed and built.

Gary’s shop is the culmination of 30 years of woodworking and construction experience. Cabinets he built from New Yankee Workshop plans house hand and portable power tools. Besides providing plenty of countertop space to work on—and plan—projects, the cabinets incorporate a fence shared by the radial-arm saw and mitersaw.

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Gary built all of his shop cabinets to maximize storage space. Even his pancake air compressor rolls on a mobile base to tuck under the countertop. Wall-mounted parts cabinets keep hardware close at hand.

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A 6'-wide double entry door makes it easy to move material and projects in and out. Large windows on three walls provide plenty of natural light.

Gary hid dust-collection ductwork in a hollow backsplash on his cabinets, with the top of the backsplash serving as shelf space. He piped two auxiliary dust-collection ports to the front faces of the cabinets so he can roll his router table and other tools up to one and plug in a flex hose. 

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Ductwork and blast gates built into the shop cabinets make dust-collection hook-up easy. The wall-mounted dust collector saves floor space.

The main workbench features a replaceable worksurface and more drawers, and rides on casters for mobility. The tablesaw stands in the middle of the shop, away from the main dust-collection system. So a shop vacuum, operated by a switch at the front of the saw, extracts chips and dust. 

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The main workbench in Gary’s shop features a large, replaceable worksurface, drawers for storage, and casters for mobility. In the background, his mitersaw and radial-arm saw share a fence system on his custom-built cabinets.

Because Gary doesn’t like clutter, he takes the time to clean up between projects and puts tools in their respective storage locations. 

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To keep dust off tools and accessories, Gary built large, deep drawers into his shop cabinets. Full-extension drawer slides make them easy to access.

How has this shop/living-room combination worked out? “Life is not all woodworking,” Gary quips. When the blades and bits aren’t spinning, he loves watching baseball games from the comfort of his backyard hideaway.

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Gary’s shop also serves as a hideaway, where he can relax in his leather recliner while watching sports on a flat-screen TV. A woodstove keeps the shop toasty warm in the winter.

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