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The Southern Yankee Workshop

Shop organization revolves around the tablesaw. Bill can cut 4×8' sheets with the overhead door closed. He allowed plenty of walking room between stationary tools and benches.

Bill Barsh’s workshops have progressed from his first, in a 10×10' metal shed, to a one-car garage, a two-car garage, and finally, his dream shop, built in 1995 on his property in Mississippi. His hobby eventually grew into a small business, Southern Yankee Workshop. 

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Step into Bill’s shop and the first thing that hits you is how bright it is. The walls, ceiling, and cabinet faces are all white. Bright-white fluorescent fixtures and LED task lighting eliminate shadows. A few windows let in natural light. The second thing you notice is his radial-arm saw, a carryover from the 1970s. He uses it mostly for rough crosscuts and making half-lap joinery.

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Pegboard running around the perimeter of the shop provides plenty of options for hanging tools and jigs at a convenient height.

Bill placed his dust collector in the attic. Although changing the dust-collector bag is inconvenient, it’s a small price to pay for the reduced noise and added floor space. 

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The attic houses project lumber and a dust collector with a trash-can separator. The dust collector is operated by a wireless remote control.

Sheet goods, cutoffs, and shop chemicals are stored in an adjacent room. Inside the main shop, 86 drawers keep the work area clean and organized. Yes, he knows what every drawer contains. For additional storage, he lined the walls with a 30"-wide strip of pegboard.

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The heavy-duty workbench and wall of cabinets serve as a project-assembly area.

When needed, Bill creates a finishing “room” in the corner by sliding a canvas curtain along a wire on the ceiling. The curtain tucks in beside the garage door when not in use. A combination of open doors, fans, and vents ensures fresh-air flow when spraying.

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Canvas “walls” form a convenient temporary booth for spraying finish.

He plumbed in a couple of conveniences, too. A bathroom occupies one corner of the shop, and a utility sink provides easy cleanup of tools and finishing gear. 

Bill’s shop is an example of cleanliness and efficiency in a relaxing atmosphere. He wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Bill is an Air Force Vietnam veteran and worked for 23 years on the space-shuttle program. Find his shop online at southernyankeeworkshop.com.

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