SHOP VISIT:Built from the ground up, this cottage shop is a model of efficiency and function.
SHOP OF DREAMS
SHOP OWNER: Walt Segl
LOCATION: Pleasant Valley, PA
After three years of searching for a farm, we found a wonderful 175-year-young Pennsylvania stone farmhouse. Unfortunately it didn't have a bank barn where I could set up shop. My wife Deb graciously relented to let me knock down the adjacent guesthouse and construct a "dream shop."
Over the past ten years I had worked in a low, dark basement, building furniture and keeping a list of all the attributes I would incorporate in my next shop, never guessing that I'd get the chance to utilize the list. My father designed the building, reminiscent of the Hay Shop in Willamsburg and drew up the plans. Over the next 14 months we spent every free moment available constructing the shop. The concrete, blockwork and trusses were the only items contracted out.
The shop is a 30x40 open area with 9' ceilings. A small, efficient oil burner circulating hot water through radiant tubing in the slab provides heat. Heavy insulation in the 2x6 walls coupled with a wide expanse of south-facing windows and skylights keep heating costs to a minimum during the winter. On one side, where an insulated garage door is set, the floor is at pickup bed height allowing easy unloading of equipment and wood. I store most of my wood in the stables across the driveway to keep the shop's floor space open.
Every piece of equipment has its own dedicated circuit. Thirty-two additional GFCI-protected 110v outlets are strategically positioned throughout the shop. General lighting is provided by 8-ft. twin tube fluorescent fixtures equipped with CWX bulbs. Overhead track fixtures equipped with halogen flood and spot lights provide task lighting. In-wall cabling and surface mounted jacks supply the quad stereo system.
Ease of clean up was a major concern. The Andersen windows all have internal mullions. The floor is coated with epoxy paint providing a smooth surface. Compressed air and roller bases make short work of equipment cleanup. Floor sweeps capture the bulk of the waste and a JDS Air Handler clears the air.
The dust collection system is housed in one of the closets where a custom cyclone is suspended through the ceiling and empties into a large waste drum. The 3HP Delta dust collector fan is suspended from the ridge in the attic, in close proximity to the suction side of the cyclone. In operation the system is extremely quiet. Air Handling supplied the design expertise, custom fittings and spiral steel pipe for the main trunks and drops.
The equipment is laid out in a logical manner to to maximize working areas and facilitate the easy handling of boards up to 18' in length. The built in benches house cabinets providing clean, organized storage for hand and smaller power tools. The long bench has a Record vise let into it which works in conjunction with a Shaker style board jack on a 12-ft. track. This allows easy single-handed clamping of longer boards and cabinet doors for jointing and fitting. A 5-ft. section of bench moves on lockable casters and does double duty as a mobile chop saw / router table work station. For long sections of delicate molding this arrangement works well. An engineering drafting table provides a nice area to plan projects.
The shop is fairly well equipped to do almost any type of woodworking, though most of my limited time is spent on the reproduction of 18th-Century period furniture.
Overall the whole project was fun, but at times it seemed it would never end. Was it worthwhile? YES, but I prefer being a furnituremaker to a carpenter. Being able to spend quality time working with Dad made the whole thing worthwhile to me.. . . Walt Segl
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Here are a couple shots of Walt's roll-around tablesaw accessory cabinet that resides under his Excalibur sliding table. I was quite interested to see the forethought and attention to detail that went into this fixture. I'm also including a shot of Walt's panic switch on his tablesaw. It's an improvement on most designs I've seen.]
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P.O. Box 493
Springtown, PA 18081