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Discussion Starter #1
Here is a quick pic of the new shop space. I was looking for a better place to post this here but can't seem to find one.

You all might recognize the Harbor Freight work bench there. I have three of them. One is older and dinged up and will now just serve as counter space on the wall, and to mount my drill press to. The other two are new, placed back to back in the center, and I will shim them to be level with each other for a large work surface. We just built those last night. I was hoping for a better fit but it seems the tops are not going to be exactly even with each other from end to end. I also noticed my old one had a finish on it that seems slicker than these two. They just feel like sanded, unfinished wood. Any suggestions on that? Coat of wax, or even a finish?

For now I will use these to get me started again, but I have dreams of a large super bench, maybe full plywood sheet width, and at least 6 feet long, and dead flat from end to end. I was hoping to use it to help square up cabinet type furnishings as I build them. It might still work, once I get everything shimmed and any high spots dealt with (plane it out, maybe even add a shop made top over them).
 

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Good Show, Duane, you are coming right along, a lot of good projects will be made there ,I am sure.

I have thought about those HF tables, but the legs seemed kind of flimsy. But the tops were worth theprice and sturdier legs could be built. Putting 2 tops together is a good idea.

Herb
 

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Looking good Duane ;)
I need a project table too . One of these days
 

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Looks good Duane. Altho, it WILL look better once the sawdust and other debris is spred out on the floor.
 
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Lookin good. I've learned that I need one worktable to actually work on and another (or two) to store stuff on so I don't clutter up my actual worktable too fast. It is good for me to get in the habit of puttin' up all my tools every night before turning off the lights
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Here are a few more pics. I have a plan here, I really do. At the end of the back to back benches where that pile of stuff is now is where my router table will live once I get it built. That stuff there now is my tools I take to work each day (unloaded the truck to haul wood for the shop). With the garage door down I will still have room to walk around the router table on that end.

For now my miter saw and table saw are stored along the empty wall on the right. The miter saw will stay there, and come out to be used when needed. The table saw will move to the place where those two white doors are leaning on the wall now, once I get those installed and out of the shop space. This will put my three largest tools, miter saw, table saw, and router table on the end where the garage door is, for easy access to the drive way, since I plan to use them outdoors to control dust in the shop. Where the table saw is now, I have already had a gas line stubbed in to add a wall mounted heater for winter, because this garage is unheated or cooled, and during my work in it recently I also discovered it is uninsulated. For cooling, I am just adding a window air conditioner.

That small folding table with the scroll saw on it is leaving. I just threw it there for now to help organize things. I will make a shop built counter even with the height of the bench that the drill press is on and fill that corner in with it. My air compressor will live under this and stay plugged in under the counter to be ready for use. I am thinking maybe get some kind of retractable hose reel to control the air hose and mount it nearby.

Maybe later, further improvements will come, but for now I am just trying to get it up and running again. I am also going to add shop lights like I had before, and more electrical outlets. Have to upgrade this house's 100 amp service to a 200 amp first. I have already bought the new panel.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Good Show, Duane, you are coming right along, a lot of good projects will be made there ,I am sure.

I have thought about those HF tables, but the legs seemed kind of flimsy. But the tops were worth theprice and sturdier legs could be built. Putting 2 tops together is a good idea.

Herb
The legs on my benches seem to be pretty stout. Did you look at a store display that maybe was not put together well? The leg sections come preassembled and attach to the top with 3 large screws, and two more smaller screws. Then two stretchers run across between them to hold the bottom shelf in place. The main part of the bench is all solid wood, no MDF, but the bottom shelf insert, drawer bottoms and housing (not the drawer boxes themselves, are made of MDF with a laminate on it, and the bench top is made of lots of small hard wood pieces all finger jointed together. It is definitely an economy bench, but I can't complain. My first one has done everything I have asked of it, except for be wide enough, so now I have two back to back, and still wish for wider. These two new ones, though, the tops on them are not quite as flat as the first one is. The edges roll downward slightly. I can still make them work, because I doubt anything highly precision will be coming out of my shop. If needed, these benches are close enough that I can actually use them to help create a larger surface, keep it flat, and lay it over these two benches. Maybe then I can eliminate rolling edges, and even make it larger than the benches alone.

One final tip. If you get one (or three :D) add something on the bottom side of tne dog holes to keep wood chips and dust out of your drawers. Some suggest lauan plywood. I simply cut scraps of sheet metal and used short, hex drive zip screws ran in with a drill to hold them on. It was fast and simple, and it works.
 

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I wax raw wood using toilet bowl wax rings. I rub the wax on thick and then use a heat gun to melt it in
 

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Good job. You might consider attaching a layer of 3/4 MDF and some Formica on top of the bench to even it out and remove the center crack. That will save the good looking top you have now.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Had a few new additions to the shop lately, most notably the torsion box bench that's replacing the two Harbor Freight benches shown on page 1 in this thread. Yesterday and today, I have installed some shop lights for much better overall light. Right now they are just plugged in to the old fixture using screw in adapters to convert a medium base socket into a receptacle. Soon the electrical will all be upgraded and this will be fixed right. I have four of the lights up right now, with two more to go. I went with 4' fluorescent tube lights, using T8 tubes. T12 would have been about $40 cheaper, affording me an entire extra case of replacement tubes, but these are on their way out over the next couple of years, not to mention they're not as efficient as T8 tubes. So I tried to think ahead as I did this. I don't want to end up replacing lights or ballasts down the road as T12 tubes go out of production.

I have two of them sort of centered in the garage shop area, spaced so that even when the door is up they are not blocked in any way. I placed another one over one of the work benches I have next to the wall near the garage door. When the door is up, light into this area is dimmed since it obstructs light from the first two from getting to that area. So I hung one light on the bottom of the overhead shelf above that bench and it lights the bench and surrounding area well, since it is lower than the raised door. I actually took one tube out of it because it was too bright with both. I will soon replace this light with one that uses only one tube, and rehang that light in another area. I still need one on the opposite side above the large pegboard that is on the wall now. That area, as shown, is a bit dimmer, even with the door down. Putting one there should help that. One more will go way back in the back behind the OSB wall that divides the room. There are storage shelves behind it, and even though they are much better lit now with the one over the washer/dryer area, putting one more back there would really help.

My shop has 10' high ceilings and these lights are hanging down only a few inches, so the "light ceiling" created along the walls is nice and high. I have lots of good light reflecting from the white painted walls.

The pegboard on the wall now is just screwed up there. Not usable. I placed it there to mark the space and to make sure it aligns with studs. I will take it down and rip some 3/4" plywood strips to screw to the wall inside the perimeter I marked, hitting studs, and then screw the pegboard back to the strips. That will provide space for the pegs to go into the holes. I will do this for the other bench by the garage door where the shop light is hanging above it now, also, but on a much smaller scale. The large one is the full 4x8 sheet. The smaller one will just be 3x5. In addition to all this, I picked up two 4' long power strips from Lowe's that have surge protection built in. One will go along under each pegboard above the benches. I will also be making a small shelf to run the length of the pegboard at the bottom edge, 5" wide, and place the power strips below these, out near the edge. The shelf will just be a place to lay smaller items such as pencils, tapes, rulers, bottle of glue, just any small item I need laying out for easy access, but still keep it up off my bench surfaces, and keep my workspace better organized and free of clutter. I think this helps maximize the usability and storage of my small shop.

Still need to complete my torsion box, but my wife had some spare cash and wanted me to buy these things now. So, now that they're home and in the way, I need to use them up to get them out of the way. I put in one pic of the shop overall. It is a semi-disaster right now. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
What a difference a weekend can make! I didn't really do a lot of work in the shop, besides hanging the lights and getting the pegboards up. The rest was just some cleanup, organization, and some rearranging to make it all work. What's funny is I thought I had made the best use of the space available to get all my equipment in and still leave floor space. Then I installed the gas heater and that left no place for the miter saw. My wife comes along and suggests some flip flopping of some of the larger tools, like the tool chest with the miter saw, and the router table with the table saw, and suddenly it all fits and my shop feels more spacious than it did before, even with the heater taking floor space. Not only that, but by swapping the router table and table saw placement, my saw stays set up and ready to use always, and the router table could be used in limited fashion where it's at also, and both can still be freely moved if needed. Sometimes it just takes a woman to see things us men can't! She made several other suggestions for placement of shelves, clamp racks, and other items that I immediately saw the advantage of, and will be implementing all of her ideas soon!

Torsion box bench still not completed, but it's already useable, and I placed a sheet of 3/4" ply on the floor below the tabel saw to elevate it enough to use the bench as a runout table. I used it in getting the plywood ripped for making frames for my pegboards. Works awesomely! I have never had it so easy before when ripping wood through the saw.

Also, my miter saw can be used where it is at as well, but since it's a slider it has to be pulled away from the wall. Not a big deal, and I have plenty of room to roll it outside if need be.

The pegboard was put up with strips of 3/4" plywood ripped to 1.5" wide and fastened to studs in the walls. Then the sheets of pegboard were simply fastened on with drywall screws through the holes.

Also finally got my window AC unit put in so the last hot days of the year will be easier, and then when cold weather comes, I'm ready wih the blue flame heater.

You can see the lid on a large gray tote behind the bench over near the drill press. Those have some wood in them that I saved when I moved from our old house early in the year. Once the large workbench is completed I'll have storage for that wood and the totes can be moved out of the shop.

One final thing. In the pic of the miter saw you can see an old wooden chair, and I have included a pic of just the chair also. This is one of many that was made by my great grandfathers on dad's side of the family. One of them made the frames while the other peeled strips of green treebark and wove the seat while wet and let it dry to shrink and become hardened and tight. This chair is one of the last of a set of 8. The rest have all seen better days and are now gone. This one is nearly 80 years old itself.

Both of my great grandfathers lived their lives in a very rural area of Kentucky. They didn't woodwork as a hobby, they did it from necessity, as a form of income, and as a way of life in general. They worked with nearly all hand tools for everything, and never had conveniences like a cordless drill or a router. They hardly even had electric at all! They used chisels, planes, spoke shaves, and other things to get the job done.

Both men were already gone before I was ever born so I never met them. My dad is not a woodworker, and neither was my papaw, but his father (my great grandfather) was. Him, and my great grandfather on my mamaw's side were both woodworkers, one much moreso than the other, and he made all kinds of furniture in his life. I knew some of this when I was very very young but I never appreciated it or even really comprehended what it meant until I began to get interested in woodworking as an adult and was reminded again. I don't want to brag but I can't help but recognize that I got fairly good at what I do now in a very short period of time, and I am only self taught based on reading online and in books and magazines and then duplicating what I have seen done. I am a big believer in inherited traits and skills. I think it is beyond cool to realize that I could have gotten some of my skills from these men who came before me, men who were dearly loved by those who I love now, and are talked about by those who knew them with great admiration when I hear the stories of their lives told. Both men were Christians, and God fearing men. It is an honor to me to think I may have inherited any of their skills.

I have the chair in my shop now, picked up from my grandmother's house at the time of her passing. It was one of a set that her father had made for her when she married my grandfather all those years ago. This was the great depression era. One of the wooden slats in the back has broken and fell out. I have both pieces of it. Someone over the years had attempted a bad fix with some kind of glue that didn't hold. I plan to just replace the piece with a new one, adding my own small contribution to his work, and maybe give it just a little more life in my own home. It will sort of be like we worked together on it, or so I like to think!

Pics below! Enjoy!
 

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excellent read and KUDOS to your accomplishments....
 
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Wow Duane your shops looking awesome! Love how you organized everything with the peg board , looks pro ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you, Stick. You know I wouldn't have that torsion box if it weren't for you. I might have been able to get the wood cut but I'd have made a bunch of mistakes in assembly without your guidance. I attached it to the metal frame tonight with 3 screws along the short sides and 4 screws along the long sides.
 

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Thank you, Stick. You know I wouldn't have that torsion box if it weren't for you. I might have been able to get the wood cut but I'd have made a bunch of mistakes in assembly without your guidance. I attached it to the metal frame tonight with 3 screws along the short sides and 4 screws along the long sides.
yur welcome...
all I did was repeat myself and you are the one that made it happen...
what would you have if you had used MDF and left ribs out??...
or if you you had done crappy workmanship??...

what you learned will carry over to other projects and you learn not to be so anallitic because so much comes out in the wash...
the next torsion will be cake and pie....
now go make a free hanging torsion box shelf for your wife's stuff.. get you some brownie points...
we both know you can do it...
this time use ¼" closely spaced ribs, luan skins rounded OS corners w/ ogee finial...
this time don't leave out the blocking...
 
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I did some rearranging in my shop and came up with using a shower curtain to suppress some of the sawdust from my sliding miter. Here's a picture. I will be collecting the curtain into a dust collection port and also closing off the top and front just above the saw to put all air flow inward.

First is the collector box that will pull the sawdust out of the curtain. Second picture is of the curtains hanging around the saw stand. Third shows how I hung the rods with inverted shelf supports, Will also put a "bib" attached to the back of the stand to the collector..
 

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You did a good job on your shop Duane, I am impressed, not long ago you were asking what router to buy, now you have a shop full of tools and benches you made and you are looking around as to where to put all the stuff.
I like the way you listen to others and think things out,also when you get stumped ,your not afraid to ask questions. You have a lot of potential as a woodworker, the more you learn the better you will get,and you learn by "doing it with your hands", that's how I learned it too.
Keep up the good work,
Herb

Have you thought about putting some 3/4" spacers under your table saw to raise it up, then you can use that piece of plywood to make a shelf or something?
 
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