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Here's My Workshop!

by Stephen Nelson
Vancouver, WA

For years my wife and I had agreed that we would one day leave Oklahoma for someplace we really loved. That day finally arrived last year when we found a home in Vancouver, Washington that met our dreams. Only thing missing was someplace for a woodshop. Well, there was a place, under a deck, but not a room. So, as part of the move we had a local contractor build a room that would one day be the wood shop. Fortunately there was already a door from the house into this area, and about half of the “walls” were there, in the form of concrete retaining walls.

The deck was just painted wood, with lots of space between boards. So, while the room below was being made, the floor above was turned into a roof – complete with impermeable membranes, concrete and tile.

Fortunately my contractor believed in doing things in a big way, so there is lots of beef in the new floor!

Part of the allure of our new home is that it overlooks a lovely lake – which is great with all the windows that now face the lake!

While not as large as I would have liked (is a wood shop ever big enough?), it is about twice the size of my previous shop. It measures about 12 by 25. Fortunately I had managed to find quite a bit of shelving before the move, so I was able to install shelving along two walls. And the work benches were made from wood salvaged from packing crates from Europe and left over yellow pine car siding and flooring from remodeling the old house.

Since I had the luxury of building from scratch, I included a lot of storage for clamps, and a decent sized dust collection system. But, even with the long benches, most of the power tools reside on shelves until needed.

As part of my antique restoration work I do a lot of faux finishing – hence the supply of stains and paints. Since I didn’t want to dust the house, the new shop is not connected to the house heat and air system. But, having just finished our first winter I now know the shop didn’t get below 45 degrees – and, the oven in the corner can make the shop toasty in no time at all.

Here is a view from the opposite direction of the benches and the clamps. You might notice the black mat on the bench to the lower right – a local hardware store has 1/8 inch thick rubber available – makes a great cover for part of the bench to protect the bench when I have to hammer on something.

The only tools that are on wheels are my table saw, lathe, and band saw. The shop is just big enough that they can be wheeled out of the way and allow me to work without running into them all the time.

As part of the new shop I splurged and got one of the new Bosch “Glide” power miter saws – it is really nice in that it does not need a deep bench. And, darn does it ever work well!

In as much as I am a clamp freak, I needed some way to organize clamps without spending a mint on brackets. In our previous house we had a number of glass shelves –which I didn’t plan to put up here. But, the brackets were great – I laid in two tracks next to each other, then took a pair of the shelf brackets, cut a piece of 9/16 x 9/16 x 3 inch pieces of wood – put the wood between the brackets, shrunk wrapped around the brackets and wood, and came up with some really stable clamp hangers.

Then I notched some 1 by and 2 by stock to make hangers for my longer clamps.

And stacked more clamps on top of the shelves.

Those with sharp eyes will spot the leaf blower – I have set up the house so I can blow air from the garage through the wood shop and out the double doors. The leaf blower makes it really easy to dust the shelves when the fan is purging the shop.

Yes, it would be nice if it was bigger, but so far the new wood shop has been a dream come true for the restoration work I do.

You can email Stephen at .

Want to see more shops? Check out our Shops Gallery , featuring many of the shops that we have featured in previous editions of Wood News.

Do you think your shop belongs in this column? We invite you to SEND US PHOTOS of your woodworking shop along with captions and a brief history and description of your woodworking. (Email photos at 800x600 resolution.) Receive a $50 store gift card if we show your shop in a future issue.

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