Curt’s Standalone Shop
Curt's dual purpose standalone shop in VA.
When we purchased this home, a basement was a $20,000+ option that I decided would make a shop prohibitive. Our home did come with an unfinished loft above the two car garage. The loft floor was one inch OSB supported by a steel I beam, however it is 15 steps up from the laundry room. The challenge was moving all of the cast iron up those steps. Most tools were moved up on a hand truck by brute force, but when I purchased my SawStop, a requirement was delivery to the shop. As the loft was entirely open it provided a great opportunity to add three 220 and six 110 electrical circuits along with heavily insulating the south facing roof. I was also able to install four recessed light fixtures before hiring a drywaller to install over forty sheets (that stairwell again). The shop is sealed off from our home by an insulated and magnetically weatherstripped door, and heat is provided by a single electric heater and cooled by a portable air conditioner unit. I had planned to add a linoleum floor for easy clean up, but my wife pointed out that it would be very slippery, so I just painted the OSB floor and that is very slip resistant, but cleans up well.
Wood storage is at the top of the steps and can accommodate full sheets, although I usually break them down in the garage below.
The end wall has my bandsaw, sander and drill press–all are hooked to the dust collection header mounted on the wall. Below the clamp rack, the half double doors allow me to access storage for lengths as long as 12′ under the eaves.
The lathe is bolted to the floor in the alcove to provide the best light and supplies are stored in the modular drawer system. I settled on a consistent drawer module of 30″ wide, 20″ deep with drawer slides supporting either a 6″ or 12″ drawer. Any drawer can move to any position. The counter tops are cabinet grade particleboard and I don’t hesitate to use screws into the top to hold down parts or jigs.
My workbench is supported by a single screw jack and raises over 12″. When fully lowered the wheels below the tool storage hit the floor and the workbench is fully mobile.
The router table and planer are on carts, but they are designed to lock to the end and side of the workbench and feed into a dust collection port above the workbench. While the sharpening station is a bit far from the lathe, the outfeed table is removable for easier access. The SawStop is on wheels and can be rotated to rip longer stock, although it is placed to feed right over the jointer. For long boards, I open the attic access door for jointer feed out.
The dust collection is 6” S&D pipe embedded in the ceiling and under the table saw. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford the new dust collection until a few years after the drywall was installed, so I had to install the piping in the attic above the shop and deal with the sloping headroom. I built a penthouse into the attic to allow for the full height of the cyclone above the stairs. Almost all of the slide valves are shop built.
The sliding double bevel saw sits between two more worktops, which have modular drawers below. The vacuum is below the saw, but can roll out when needed and is held in place by the floor sweep. Jigs hang on the walls near the appropriate tools.
I primarily build furniture from ash, maple and cherry along with some bowl turnings from local downed trees. Although recently I’ve added rocking horses as a first birthday present for our two granddaughters, while each of my great nieces and nephews got a hand built wooden truck.