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Here's My Montana Rockies Workshop!

by Kevin Ruble
Eureka, MT

I built this shop in summer of 2007. I hired a young carpenter I know to help me. For many years I was in a very crowded basement shop. It got to the point, heaven forbid, where I could not purchase any more tools due to lack of space. My wife and kids did not like all the noise either. This was great incentive for my wife to agree to build a new shop.

Since I teach Architecture and CAD/engineering graphics at the local high school I have experience in design and I designed it all with CAD programs. I sell some furniture and also draw house plans for some local contractors and by word of mouth. I needed a nice office to meet clients for this and I also wanted to make the front of the shop look nice architecturally. This cost a bit more, but since I did all the timber frame and stonework myself it was reasonable.

The modest 24' x 32' shop space has a daylight garage underneath where I have my dust vacuum system and 60 gallon air compressor. This keeps some noise out of the shop and gives me more space for equipment. The 10' x 16' office sits on a crawl space. I installed a suspended ceiling for both the noise reduction benefit and the recessed lighting advantage. I also have speakers in the ceiling, 2 in the office and 4 in the shop, for listening to music. Ceilings are 10' in the shop and 9' in the office. The shop is close to the house on our 14 acres in the northwest corner of Montana. We are 7 miles from the Canadian border. The views, of course, are spectacular.

From the front of the shop shown in the picture at the top, the door opens up into the office space. To the right you can just see a deck (loading dock) that has double doors opening directly into the shop.

Office space with desk and computer for design. I design most all of my furniture using CAD.

Looking the other way in the office showing a large format printer and the door into the shop.

The other side of the building showing the daylight garage and shed roofed storage area. This picture was taken while still under construction. The tractor came in very handy during construction. I use it to plow my 1/4-mile long driveway too.

Clamp storage...I need more clamps.

My planes and some other hand tools are stored above and in drawers below, with portable power tool storage below left in the pull-out trays. The cabinets are made from local Doug fir and larch. The panels are old growth 1/4-sawn.

A turntable in the corner for a small sander, mortiser, and sharpening station.

Typical dust collection coming up from the garage below. The portable planer is on a custom cabinet with casters so it can be moved for really long boards. The height is designed so that the planer's outfeed table matches the outfeed table behind the table saw.

A view that shows much of the shop including a General 25" dual drum sander in the foreground, my largest piece of equipment. I use it mainly for sanding my marquetry veneers to thickness (much thicker than commercial veneers).

A just completed bench I built on commission. In the background you can see a selection of hand tools on peg board and one of two workbenches. Still waiting to find the time to build a nice hand tool cabinet.

Router table, 17" bandsaw, wood stove, and drill press on top of custom storage cabinet.

This is an old Rockwell/Delta contractor's saw I purchased from a retiring house builder about 30 years ago. I have often been tempted to buy a bigger cabinet saw but after installing a Biesmeyer fence and rewiring the motor to 220 volts I now see no reason why. With a good blade, the 2 horse motor cuts through 2" maple with no problem. Some retrofits have made dust collection decent.

Couldn't resist including a couple shots of the views out my shop windows. This one is looking east at the Whitefish Range. On the other side of this is Glacier National Park.

Looking north up into Canada.

You can email Kevin at kdruble@interbel.net . You can also take a look at some of his work at kevinruble.com .

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.

Would you like to see your shop 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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