From the Archives
Michael’s Basement Workshop
Submitted by Michael Finnefrock from Williston, VT
Added on February 5, 2013
I love looking at everyone’s shop! There are great ideas for unique storage solutions, organization methods and floor plans that are helping me plan and build my shop.
My shop’s a 14’x14′ corner of our basement with bulk head access. It is outfitted with a Ridgid chop saw, Milwaukee router and a Ryobi circular saw I bought 10 years ago to repair our first house (a falling apart 1850s era home). For all my home repair needs, which was constant and unrelenting, they did well. When we bought our 2000 era home last year, constant repairs became a task of the past. I decided to spend my new found free time building furniture.
My father-in-law gave me his grandfather’s old Delta tilt-table, fixed-blade table saw. Absolutely love that machine*! So, as soon as I could, I pushed it into the furnace room, searched Craigslist and bought a well used Ridgid contractor saw from a local woodworker. He told me the table scratched, the base was wobbly and the blade and miter tracks did not align. When I got the saw home I noticed that every bolt was loose! I completely disassembled the saw, hand sanded the top, realigned, reassembled, re-leveled and gave it a good waxing. Now it runs like a champ. (*That statement was dripping in sarcasm – that machine is not safe at any speed. Nader wouldn’t approve.)
The out-feed table is also a router table. It is height adjustable and made from 2x4s and MDF. I used aluminum U channel under the table and some wing nuts allow a router plate be leveled and flushed to the table top. I traded a plumber a 12″w x 12’lx4/4 board of Jarrah for a bench top belt/spindle sander and a old scroll saw. My family spoiled me last holiday season and helped me get a Grizzly 17″ bandsaw. I recently installed the overhead Jet dust collector and built a dust separator from an old trash can, left over plumbing parts and a can of spray foam. It’s a lazy separator and only separates about 1/2 of the dust. I’ve been thinking of laying it off and letting it go, but it just doesn’t feel like the right time. It’s a trusted worker, and has been with me since the beginning, but it is missing the skill set required to move the team forward.
Against the “back” wall we installed an old barn door for access to the rest of the basement. Currently it’s flat wall space where I store all my jigs. The jigs in the photo are for a DJM inspired cocktail table. The lumber photo is parts for more tables – family gifts – in different stages of progress. The lumber pile is Jarrah. Awesome story…4 years ago our porch collapsed. I took a risk and bought 200 bd ft of “construction grade Jarrah decking”, sight unseen, for $4 a bd ft delivered. It arrived and was so beautiful that my wife made me rebuild with douglas fir and paint. The order was awful decking material! About 1/2 the delivery was 4/4×10″x12′ the other half was 8/4×8″x14′. My router, circular saw and I would have never been able to make it into decking. All of the Jarrah is straight grained, furniture worthy, rough sawn lumber. I have since found out what Jarrah is worth and realize how lucky I am. I think the price was a 2008-US-economy-collapsing-panicked-lumber-yard special. After the Jarrah arrived, I impulse bought a Dewalt planer and then realized I needed a jointer. So, for 4 years the planer sat on the lumber pile. I still don’t have a jointer, but two months ago I was introduced to a coworker with a really nice Grizzly jointer. We’ve worked out a Jarrah for Jointer [time] exchange.
Matt Vanderlist might have outgrown peg board (podcast 113) but I haven’t. I have two more sheets to hang! My shop is a wreck and I need to build some storage. I am finding out tools are like rabbits, start with two and before you know it they are everywhere and multiplying out of control. I would love to install a lumber rack similar to the metal adjustable ones I have seen in a lot of the shop photos and Marc’s new shop video. Lastly, after beating up my out-feed table trying to chisel out mortises, I would love to build a work bench. But alas, my wife has me on a 3 project at a time diet!
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