Here's My Workshop!
By Michael Foster
I renovated our old barn in 2001 to build my dream shop here in Vermont. This property has been
in my wife's family since it was homesteaded in 1790. We inherited the property when Susan's mother
passed away and moved here from Alaska after I retired from the US Public Health Service. I built
the shop to make all the kitchen cabinetry for our house that was being renovated at the same time I
was building the shop. I also build furniture for our own use, but am primarily a passionate
The shop has 3 rooms in 1200 sq. ft. of heated space with a closet in the basement that houses my
dust collector and compressor. This is an old floor plan that I decided to alter during
construction and have altered even more since then to give my new lathe more of a center stage in
Here is a view of the shop from the big swinging (and insulated) double doors. It shows the
tablesaw in the foreground with the bench that acts as an outfeed. The lathe and turning tools are
in the back corner of the shop with bandsaw to the right. The drill press is to the left and is
just out of view.
This is a shot from the lathe looking back towards the door. It shows the jointer, air cleaner
and the mitre station in the back.
This next photo shows the corner that houses the sanding center and router table (which I built).
The small white box is a very efficient kerosene heater that I use to heat the shop in the
The next photo shows an antique bench I found in the basement of the house when we moved in as
well as tool storage and the small cabinet I built to house all the small power tools. The
grinder is really dedicated to sharpening turning scrapers.
This is a photo of the wall with the sliding mitre saw. It is in the plans to rework this area
at some point. I made the mistake of putting the saw too close to the wall, so if I want to cut a
long board in half there is only about 4 ft to the right limiting me. Should have bumped it over by
about 2-4 ft to the left, as I have all the room I could want on the left side of the saw. The
planer is on wheels and has removable infeed and outfeed tables. The wall houses most of my
clamps. The room behind the wall is my small office/gallery which winds up collecting a lot of
other stuff at times.
The next photo is a view of the vertical lumber rack that is in a corner of the finish room. I
opened up a hole into the attic, enclosed and insulated it. This allows me to store 12' lumber
vertically. I find this saves a lot of space and makes it much easier to sort through it to find
what I want.
The next photo shows my carving center. Hard to really make it all out, but I have a dremel type
tool, a foredom, an old belt driven dental drill and an air source that powers dental drills (I am a
dentist) that I use for piercing, die grinders, and finish guns and airbrushes. The bench is
actually hooked up to the dust collector in the basement so serves as an efficient downdraft table.
I mounted the 3 foot controls for the power carving tools on one board which makes it really quick
to switch between tools.
The next photo is a shot of part of the gallery. I planed and reused all the boards from the
horse stalls to finish the walls. The two bookcases that are shown are antiques that were living in
the barn when we moved in.
This is a photo that encompasses the most important part of the shop, the turning area. There is
a lot packed into this corner, but I really thought about layout to make things easily accessible
and still remain relatively organized.
You can email Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out his website at http://breezyhillturning.com/ to see some of the jigs and solutions he has come up with as well as galleries of more of his turnings.
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