From the Archives
Shannon’s Basement Woodshop
Submitted by Shannon from St. Louis, MO
Added on October 23, 2014
This is my second shop since I began woodworking. My first was in the small basement of a townhouse and while it was great to work in, I had a pesky thing called neighbors on both sides of the wall and had to strategically plan my woodworking time. But along with rising rent, it was clear I needed to start renting my own house (with the long term plan of saving for a down payment for a permanent home).
Now in a house with no one directly on the other side of the wall, noise is no longer a concern and it’s awesome to just pop in at 1AM and start working. There’s a door leading outside that is welcomed for hauling materials in and out (despite a challenging angle.) The downside is that the ceiling is MUCH lower than my old shop.
The heart of my shop features my trusty General International granite top table saw. My Rikon 10-325 bandsaw sits in the empty wing of the table saw as space is limited. Definitely a controversial place to put it and admittedly it would be better suited for a router table station, but I already have a router table station I wasn’t going to part with, and this unusual setup actually has some advantages. I’m able to take advantage of the hall area behind it for long boards, and the table saw fence can be jigged with a platform to serve as an outfeed for the bandsaw. The disadvantage is that the maximum width I can cut on the table saw is limited, but I figured the Festool MFT/track saw could do this in the tablesaw’s place and I’ve found the arrangement perfectly acceptable.
I have a Jet JPM-13CS 13″ planer with a custom platform I built to place a Jet air filtration unit. The air filter hung on the ceiling in the center of my old shop, but due to low ceilings here this is the only solution I could come up. Not the optimal placement, but it does help with dust. The platform also has my Festool TS55 tracksaw, OF-1400 router and Domino sitting there.
Behind the planer towards the back corner are my clamp racks and the router table station, loosely based on the Norm Abrams’ design. It’s a bit beat up but works exceptionally well, the only thing I would improve in the future would be a router lift.
Next to the router station is a 1987 Powermatic 60 8″ jointer I bought off a woodworking production shop in Illinois a few years ago. I ran into a dangerous situation when a cutterhead head block bolt came loose, causing the head to smash into the porkchop, throw the knifes and shoot one out the flange (thankfully the dust port I installed on the flange stopped it). The cutterhead was ruined and rather than hunt down a used one, I bought a Byrd spiral cutterhead to replace it. After installing the spiral and new/stronger bolts, the jointer has been true ever since. Also, the router table is level with the jointer which helps with additional in-feed on long things.
Next to the jointer is a Grizzly drill press. There are things I don’t like about it, but it drills and I can’t ask for much more than that. I built a custom table/fence for it, and I can also lower the table to serve as additional outfeed for the jointer.
Moving along the wall is a Festool Kapex mitre saw station with a CT26 underneath. Next to that is the MFT which is where I cut plywood, and serves as my primary workbench and sanding station. Not pictured is a Mirka Ceros sander hanging up which I can quickly access. The boomarm dust hose above is shared between the Kapex, sander and any power tools I need.
In the opposite corner of the MFT station is a modified Harbor Freight dust collector, connected to blast-gated duct work running to nearly all major power tools. I altered it into a two stage collector with trash can, Thein baffle and Wynn air filter. Unfortunately at the time I modded this, I ran out of plywood to build a proper cart, and have no motivation to finish it right now as it currently does the job.
Next to the dust collector is a Jet 16-32 drum sander. A luxury for sure! I don’t consider it for actual sanding so much as for doing everything that the jointer/planer would rip up or can’t handle. Thin strips, bent lamination, flattening exotic woods and large panels, etc.
In a small room behind the drum sander is wood storage and my scroll saw. The laundry area has a utility sink and a shelf where I store all finishing products and where I clean up my Earlex HVLP. The door is nearby so I spray outside on nice days and try to stick with water-based finish when I can for easier cleanup.
And that is my shop, though there is a bittersweet epilogue to the story: I’m about to lose my shop for a while. I’ve been battling problems with mice since moving in and exterminators and my efforts have been ineffective. My lease up in two months, I have no plans to renew and be forced to put effort on what is not my own property. So my plans have been accelerated: when the lease expires, I’m putting nearly everything I own in storage while I continue to save for a down payment on the perfect home. So after one final project I’m doing, it’s goodbye…for now.
I think it will be totally worth it in the end. I’m tired of not owning my own place and not being able to do what I want. I want to be able to add/remove walls and finish the area, and have MORE than two stinkin 120v outlets and more 220v outlets that don’t need to share with the dryer. Once I find the right place that passes inspector blessings but just needs a little TLC, my power tools become my paintbrush and I can finally put together a home (and workshop!) in my own vision.
From the Archives