Sunday, March 23, 2014

More Workshop Details

The Lathe Bench

I guess I have pretty much beaten the “Dust Collector Horse” to death, I’ll move on to other topics now.  

Another significant problem with the old shop was that all of my tool, equipment and wood storage was on “open shelves” (Definition: unenclosed areas exposed to the air where dust and miscellaneous crud continuously accumulate over time resulting a generally unappealingly cluttered mess!).  I vowed that when I finally got around to changing things I was going to incorporate some sort of internal storage (i.e. lots of drawers and cabinets).

My main trigger for getting started with the rebuilding process when I did was my discovery that the local “big box home products store” was on the 6th day of a weeklong 20% OFF sale on all kitchen cabinets.  I rushed over and quickly picked out a set of 4 identical under-counter cabinets, each with a drawer and a door, and an off-the-shelf countertop.  Of course, since you can’t exactly toss 4 cabinets and countertop in the trunk of a sub-compact car, so I ended up spending the entire 20% savings on the delivery charges (I think they might have planned it that way :-o ) A couple of days later they arrived at my garage door, so work shop construction could begin in earnest.

Lathe Bench

After removing the existing bench -- leaving the existing pegboard in place -- I installed the four cabinets and the countertop.  You will notice from photo #1 that I positioned a 10 foot countertop over only 8 feet of cabinet leaving a curious 2 foot gap in the middle.  No, that wasn’t a measurement error.  That was actually planned.

Using my router and a crude circle guide, I cut a 12” diameter circle directly under where the “business end” of the lathe would be located.  Hopefully most of the big chunks generated during wood turning will now fall (or be easily swept through) the hole into a (not yet purchased) trash can that will sit right in the middle of the 2 foot gap – I told you it was planned. :-) I had a similar arrangement in the old shop but it was such an afterthought that I couldn't position it where i really should have been.  Again, it worked...just not as well as it could have.
I then installed -- from left to right -- the bench grinder (to ensure that the lathe tools are as sharp as I know how to make them), the lathe and the belt/disk sander.  I added a nice arm light left over from my desk at work so now I can actually see what I am sanding (Big Improvement!). 

High on the wall, a re-purposed bathroom light fixture is positioned to throw more light onto the work piece in the lathe.  Below that are lathe tools right is easy reach.

I now have lots of drawer and cabinet space.  For now, I just have stuff kinda tossed in there.  I’ll address what goes where as soon as all of the other issues have been resolved.  I’m thinking that I may make double-decker sliding trays in the drawers to maximize the storage space.  

I am less sure as yet what I will do with the cabinets.  Out of the box, they come with a full bottom plate and sort of a "half shelf"...not all that useful.  What I’d like to do is make sliding pullout panels behind at least some of the doors so that I can take better advantage of their significant storage volume.

The Drill Press Bench
Drill Press Bench

The drill press bench is one of the few original pieces that, so far, has been kept pretty much as it was…just relocated. The drill press itself was located in almost the same physical point in space, just on another bench, now gone.  My intent here is to keep all of the drilling paraphernalia on or near this bench – it wasn’t before.  I did add a second shelf underneath for storing the drill press vise and similar tools.

I built a Battery-powered hand drill charging station that mounts on the wall above and to the right of the bench.  There is nothing terribly noteworthy about the design.   I threw this one together in an hour or so.  Sites like YouTube and Lumber Jocks have had dozens of similar combined storage/charging stations.   If you need one, you should choose the design that best suits your drills, chargers, space and “aesthetic requirements”.

Two little niceties that I did include were:
     1)  An internal electrical box with a standard 3 wire cord and plug to minimize the wire clutter coming from the two chargers. 

     2)  A little block on the right side to store my “Screw holding bit” (I really don’t know what the right name is for that little gizmo).  I was always losing it.  Now, at least it has a place to sit while it waits for me to need it :-)

Next time I will address the assembly bench.  I used a rather (I think) clever cantilever scheme that saves floor space and simplifies sweeping the floor.

‘Til next time…Keep Makin’ Chips!

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