Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 192, September 2021Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
Here's My Workshop!
By Charlie Smith
Brady, TX

My shop is 20' x 24' on a slab with blown foam insulation on the walls and the underside of the roof. I hired the slab to be poured and built the shop myself (I did have my son help me stand the walls). I fabricated and set the trusses and put on the siding and the metal roof. It just shows what a determined 70 year old can do with a little training and a good bit of time. The red container to the right of my shop is my wood storage. We have to travel 130 miles to buy hardwood from where I live.


I spent a year or so fiddling with the layout in Visio. It is definitely designed as a one-man shop. I originally planned to have a barn door in the front, but discovered that I needed the wall space more than a big door.



I have a small dust collection system that works well since I only use one machine at a time. I also built a 5 stage filter with a small squirrel cage fan that hangs from the ceiling to remove the dust from the air to help manage my allergies.



At some point in the future I want a spray booth as some things deserve the kind of finish that can only be achieved with spray lacquer and hand rubbing. It will be external to my shop but probably attached. One thing you cannot see in my shop is the air supply. I have a vertical 90 gallon tank 2 hp compressor in a building (a garden tool shed) about 30 feet from my shop and the air is piped to the shop underground.


I am especially proud of my workbench; it is made of Southern Yellow Pine and Jatoba. It weighs a bit over 400 pounds and is very stable and a delight to work with. I have also included a picture of the Moxon vise I built to bring the fine work a bit closer to eye level, one jaw is lined with cork to improve the holding power when chopping dovetails, etc.



I tried to show pictures of my work area with my most used tools for hand work. I believe machinery has a definite place in my shop and you can see that I have invested in some quality machine tools. At the same time, there is no way to match the pleasure and results one gets from working with quality hand tools (I am still learning on that front). I learned years ago that there are some things that can be done quicker, quieter, and with better results with a well-tuned hand plane.


The large two man hand saw on the wall came from my grandfathers farm, established in the late 1870’s in South Central Kansas. My dad and my grandfather used that saw to cut wood when he was growing up. My dad was born in 1914 and some of my most cherished tools I inherited from him.




You can view some of the woodworking projects that I have created in my shop in the August 2021 issue of Wood News Online.


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