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Here's My Workshop!

John Labie
Tallahassee, FL

Click on any picture to see a larger version.

I guess I started my shop when I was just a kid and helped Mom and Dad build our house in Tampa at 4 yrs old. I worked construction during college building new houses, remodeling and renovations with my Uncle, then after my Navy service and finishing college I had a very small shop at my first house which I expanded with 5 V crimp roof tins. I built aluminum sheds for a while and used that technology. Then I started rebuilding engines and making our living room set, family room set, and bed frame. I am close to a cypress saw mill and like using cypress. I don't have to worry about termites and bugs getting in it. Some of the wood has been laying in the swamp for over 100 years before being "salvaged" from the muck, dried and sawed to my specifications. I have a planer so I got everything full one inch and rough cut. When we moved to this house I shopped hard for at least 3 acres and an out building for my new shop. I got three. A large shop, a two stall tractor shed, and a 6 dog kennel and run. The previous owner was a contractor and built this nice shop building with some counter space. I drooled and we bought in.

The guy with the most toys when he dies wins, I am going for at least runner up. You can see I subscribe to a few meaningful philosophies. The one that is most obvious, since I recover, recycle, and reuse everything I can is "a clean pretty shop is like a clean desk at the office, the sign of a disturbed mind." Although I have to admit, it would have been nice to have a vacuum system when I built my son a gun rack out of Lacewood. Nobody said it was toxic, I paid for that one the hard way. Thankfully, the fans in my shop kept the dust blowing out the door and not in my breathing space. The thing I like least is sanding. If my wife wants a fine piece of furniture she has to sand it to a fine finish herself. But I do provide the sanders.

My shop is basically made up of three areas. The main work room, the large storage room and reloading bench on the right and a wood storage rack in the back.

The picture below shows the adjoining room to my shop, which contains storage of materials. I used to have multiple small tools like box cutters, rasps, chisels and the like. I got tired of them being scattered all over and not having enough wall space to hang them up. I always had one somewhere. Everything is in a box of like things but now when I want something there are too many boxes to choose from. I salvaged the plastic file boxes when a company scanned in all their documents and threw them out. I enclosed the end and the entire rack to the right is all fasteners, nails, screws, bolts, washers, etc. Beyond is all outboard motor and boat parts, beyond that is misc door knobs, sewing spools, hospital drip bag hooks, etc. I take anything, I only turn down my collar.

Adjoining shop storage room

Below is the right side of my shop when looking into it from the large front "garage" door. It has lots of counter space and two large central work tables. And more little boxes and drawers for all manner of parts. Paint goes in the back kitchen cabinets. Mostly tools go in the white boxes on the right.

Right side of shop

I have two long work tables down the middle, two small table saws, front and back and my Shopsmith in the middle with the back table. On the right side is a paint cabinet in the back, metal storage under it, hydraulic press, band saw, radial arm saw, and planer. Everything is on wheels so I can move it around to make room for work.

A closer look at the back of the shop

Below is a view from the back of the shop, looking forward. My drill press is in the middle, the left side are boxes and drawers with fasteners, parts, and tools, with a small metal brake. There is a 230 amp welder in the right corner.

The last cool part of my shop is my newly installed overhead chain hoist on a track with two trolleys. I can now easily remove large outboards or entire boats from trailers and drag them into the shop.

If you have any questions you can email John at JLabie@centurylink.net .

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 for your shop to appear 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 credit redeemable towards merchandise if we show your shop in a future issue.

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