Here's My Workshop!
By Bob Rummer
Welcome to our shop - Joh Rummer and Söhne - overlooking the beautiful Wakarusa Valley in
Everywhere I have lived I have found a place for my woodworking - the basement shop growing up, my
dorm room, the second bedroom in our first apartment, sharing a carport with the cars, and a metal pole
barn with a concrete floor. When we moved back home to Kansas in 2012 I had an opportunity to build
my first "from the ground up" woodshop - 1600 square feet on two floors. The lower level is a walk-out basement
and about half of that is used for woodworking/metalworking (milling machine and lathes). The other
half is yard equipment and mechanic space. The upper floor is dedicated entirely to woodworking.
Because the shop is only 100' from the house we opted for matching cedar siding and trim details.
The interior space of the main shop is open with clear-to-the-rafter ceilings. This gives lots of room for
dust collection, lighting, and moving sheet goods and long boards. The row of clerestory windows puts a
lot of indirect natural light into the space reflected off the textured ceiling. Two rows of T8 fixtures
provide plenty of direct light when needed. I wanted to create a vintage shop feel with a row of barn
lights, Victorian Hardware store cabinet designs, and the wooden columns and main beam. The gold
lettering on the router cabinet is an homage to my wife's Grandpa's hardware store in Louisburg, KS.
The floor is wide plank heartpine in case you drop a chisel.
The shop includes a 10' x 10' office with wireless internet. I have room for bookcases full of back issues
of woodworking magazines and reference books, a small drafting table, and a printer. There is also a
half-bath and a shop sink. One of the great adds over my previous woodshops is HVAC. A heat pump
keeps things warm in the winter and cool in the summer and tempers the humidity swings.
Functional layout of the shop starts with lumber storage just inside the loading dock door. The lumber
rack is a heavy duty lumber storage system, 18" deep with a load capacity of over 1 ton on each row.
The chopsaw station sits right below the lumber rack making it convenient to pull boards in for initial
breakdown. Sheet goods are stored against the wall to the right of the chop saw.
The middle section of the shop includes a Delta 10" Unisaw with the Biesemeyer fence system, thickness
planer, 6" joiner, Woodtek shaper, and sanding station. This puts all of the heavy dust producers near
the cyclone and makes it convenient to complete ripping, edging, joining, and thicknessing operations.
The heart of the shop is the 4-station workbench. I picked this one up from the Des Moines Public
Schools surplus auction. Lots of workholding options with bench dogs and holdfasts. The large work area
means I can have multiple setups on large projects without having to clear off the bench - doing planing
at one vise, joinery at another. It is also great to have the space to share project work with others. For
example, my brother and I worked together on a recent project to build 3 tables for a client. The large
workbench was pushed to capacity many times. The clamp storage rack is on the wall two steps from
the main bench. A 12" bandsaw, saw till, and drill press sit between the large workbench and the
At the far end of the shop is the detail work area. I do some scrollsawing, marquetry, pyrography, and
woodcarving. All the tools and materials for these operations are organized around the joiner's bench
and a rolling workstation. The sharpening station and spindle sander are also located in this end of the
shop along with the plane till and Great-Grandpa's toolchest.
Reflecting on this version of my woodshop, a couple of key points come to mind. First, this is the most
amount of space I have ever had dedicated to woodworking. Between the two floors there are just over
1000 sf for all the various pieces of equipment and workstations. While this may seem like a lot, part of
it is due to being prepared to do anything from turning to marquetry on large furniture projects. I know
that I have been able to tackle projects that would have never fit in my other shops. Space is nice,
particularly when you have more than 1 person working on a project.
The second point is that dust collection, lighting, and HVAC are all really nice to have. Some of that is just comfort,
but I have come to appreciate how much these elements add to your work. I don't have my glue bottles
sitting in front of a space heater anymore. I can actually see the marks and make better cuts when I am
not fighting shadows. And I spend a lot less time wading through sawdust and chips when it all goes in
the bin at the push of a button. Really, that is the bottomline - our workshops should make our work
easier and make the time we spend there more enjoyable. Grab a cup of coffee and come sit on the
porch while we wait for the finish to dry!
Bob Rummer lives in Lawrence, Kansas and is a part-time woodworker. He can be reached directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can see his shop and some of his work at www.JRummerSons.com.
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