WELCOME TO MY SHOP
Making do in a small space.
SHOP OWNER: Robert R. Clough
LOCATION: Muskego, WI
The building my shop is in is concrete block. The entire building is 40' x 20' of which two stalls are for vehicles, one for the maintenance, lawn and garden equipment, and the remaining space, 12' x 20', for the shop. Originally the building was a machine shed for farm equipment with an attached milk house walled off from the rest of the building, which is now the shop. It has 3 concrete block walls and a ceiling. The fourth wall is wood - I had to take out and replace it as it was rotten. I insulated it, added a window, made a man door, insulated the ceiling and put in a heater. My original heater was a wood stove. This was totally unsatisfactory for Wisconsin winters and for safety so I had a hanging forced air gas heater installed. Nothing is open to the inside air. I have also just installed AC since these pictures were taken - and this summer it really helps.
The picture at right, showing the table saw, looks toward the East wall. My workbench with a removable L extension is to the left. I also use the saw as a table (covered of course) as necessary. You can also see the belt/disc sander, grinder, the furnace, and various cabinets.
The remaining pictures continue around the shop...
I have crammed a Delta 10" Contractor Saw, a Delta 14" Band Saw, a moveable router table with the Joint Tech system, a floor Grizzly Radial Drill Press, a Performax 16/32 Drum Sander, a moveable horizontal folding router table which I made myself, the bench, various cabinets, book shelf, storage units, plus the belt/disc sander, etc. The wall cabinets house drill bits, sanding supplies, screws, finishing supplies, and so on. I also have all of my woodworking books in the shop. My portable power and hand tools are in one of the standing cabinets.
The dust collection system is from Rigid and works very well for me. I do not use a shop vac for power: I have a Grizzly "portable" collector set up permanently. As long as I open the gate only to the machine in use I am fine. It does work, but not well, for two machines. I have two shop vacs for additional collection where needed. I also have an old Hoover Spirit I use for my portable sanders and I permanently attached a shop-built collector for the Performax. Finally, I have a Racal mask also.
As you can see, I have very little space in which to work which means I must make do with what space I have. With such a small space, it becomes necessary to plan work and plan it well. I have made a hanging cradle here, an extension dining room table, a library table used as a desk, multitudinous boxes, cabinets and smaller tables, and a few lamps both standing and table.
It is even possible to have two of us working there at the same time - carefully (and we'd better be friends). My son and I have made cabinet doors, a gun rack, a wooden trash container that my wife Sarah wanted, and so on. And Sarah and I have made a few small cabinets together.
The wall cabinet shown at left is my adaptation of a Shaker piece. This one has a plywood back because my Daughter wanted it that way. I have used standard shiplap style as well. This is the third cabinet of this design I have made. Unfortunately, the pictures do not show it to good advantage.
In the warm months I park my truck outside and use that space as well for rough work. Although cramped, I know where everything is; and, with proper planning, it is amazing what can be done with such a small space.. . . Robert R. Clough
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