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