From the Archives
This is a rather unique shop location. My day job is maintenance at an apartment complex. They had a spare 3 bedroom apartment that they were using as storage when I took the job. I removed all the trash, cleaned it up, put my tools in and have since called it “my shop.” As you can tell, this is a function over fashion type of shop.
When you first walk in you are in the living room, better known as the assembly area. I keep this 12’x 12′ area relatively free to accommodate larger project assembly. It is also really handy to have a space for plywood breakdown before it hits the table saw.
Moving right to left you will start in on my miter saw area. The dining room has a small coat closet that works great for a miter saw location. For material support I use a small bi-fold door to give slightly more than 6′ of support to the left. For material support on the right I use a salvaged sink base cabinet with casters on the bottom. This allows me to support longer stock by simply sliding the cabinet around. I like this method a lot better than having a dedicated support cabinet/shelf that may at some point be in the way.
Right to left again, the kitchen area is where I store most of my “junk”, finishes, and chemicals. This area stays in a state of organized chaos so I figured I would leave it as is for the picture. Having access to a sink in the shop is something I have grown very fond of. When the time comes to build my own shop I will definitely have some type of running water in it. I also have my modified Harbor Freight dust collector in the kitchen. To eliminate the need for a decent canister filter I modified the unit to incorporate a the in baffle right below the motor and ported the exhaust air outside. The duct work is half 4″ Sewer and Drain PVC and half 4″ flexible hose. This runs back to the miter saw, out to the table saw station, and into the hallway for my planer station.
The table saw station is a simple half lap 2×4 skeleton. It houses my Porter-Cable PCB270TS table saw and my dual router setup. I purchased plans for a homemade router lift and am extremely satisfied with the results. I have two routers on separate lifts for less money than one manufactured lift (routers included). This station is on casters as well to allow for easy shop changes. I also have 2 other small shop carts on casters for wheeling material around during a build.
I recently moved my planer into the hallway and am really glad I did so. This gives me plenty of infeed and outfeed support. It is stationed on top of a reused dresser that I found. I also have some reused cabinets above that are great for storage that is not accessed often.
The bedroom at the end of the hall is where I store my lumber scraps and my air compressor. I have the compressor in a closet which keeps the noise down considerably in the main work area. I also like this because I can just throw the hose out of the back window and spray finishes outside. The hallway is also where I store my clamps, levels, and straight edges. The other two bedrooms are full of doors and other supplies for my day job.
Moving along we are back at the entry door. I store all of my jigs and patterns along this wall. Its amazing how quickly they can add up. I also store my stackable saw horses behind the door. These get used daily. When the time comes for me to move I will be building my first actual standalone shop. In the mean time, I am grateful to have access to this unique shop space.
From the Archives