Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 159, November 2018Welcome 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 Chuck Wimpee
Bowling Green, KY

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I got my first taste of woodworking at an early age when I would visit my grandfather at his work site. He was a carpenter and cabinet maker. I loved the smell of the lumber and spending time with a guy that could take a stack of wood and create a place to live. As I got older, I started to experiment with small woodworking projects myself and after a success or two, I was hooked. I started with the very basics – hammer, nails, handsaw and glue. From there I accumulated every tool that I could, every chance that I had. The collection eventually grew from the basic hand tools to a complete dedicated shop.

Since I am a hobbyist, my shop layout is designed to maximize creativity and minimize cleanup. I have arranged all of the tools around the perimeter of the shop leaving my table saw and work benches in the middle. This allows me easy dust collection access to each tool along the walls. The mega dust producers are located on the left side of the shop and are serviced by a 3HP cyclone with a six-inch main. The remaining tools are placed along the right side of the shop and easily handled by a 1.5HP cyclone with four-inch main. Each of the tools is positioned to give me the maximum length of stock for each operation. The table saw is positioned to rip a full 4 x 8 sheet. I have quick access to all of my hand tools either within or adjacent to my main work bench. My wood supply consists of cherry, walnut, poplar, maple and oak located on a portable rack by the main shop door. My woodworking father-in-law supplied much of that rough lumber from his farm. I also have another three or four hundred board feet drying in the shop's attic. And finally, the shop's attic houses one of my most prized possessions - central heat!

I haven't always had a shop, but I have always enjoyed making my own furniture. When my children came along, I started making pieces for them. Now I'm building furniture for my grandchildren. At first, I avoided using many of the old hand tools because I lacked the skill it took to be proficient with them. Instead, I used whatever woodworking machinery I had available. Now, however, I spend a great deal of time trying to master new skills and techniques just for the sake of learning. After years of reading magazines, watching woodworking TV shows and practicing, I think I have progressed to the point that I include hand tools in my arsenal and call myself a woodworker.

You can email Chuck at charles.wimpee@wku.edu.

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