Author Topic: (Re-)Designing My Workshop  (Read 2699 times)

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Offline PaulH99

  • Posts: 102
(Re-)Designing My Workshop
« on: February 18, 2018, 08:04 AM »
I'm suffering from some serious "analysis paralysis" and need suggestions from the FOG hive mind.

A couple of years ago we had an addition built behind the left side of our cape style house. This allowed us to more than double the size of our family room and get a large master bedroom above it. I insisted on having a full basement under it instead of a slab that is tied to the main basement. As a result, I have an approximately 12x13 workshop, about 7' high to the joists, and two, independent 20A circuits for tools, and overhead lighting.

Stored in that area is my Festool collection (Kapex, CT26, and about eight systainers of various sizes), a metal mechanics-style tool cabinet, with most of my hand tools, an old workbench which the previous owner left behind that stuff just seems to get piled on and under, a drill press, band saw, jointer, and contractor table saw. In the (very cluttered) main part of the basement I also have a DIY MFT top that sits on a couple of ToughBuilt folding sawhorses, a 12" planer, and my old router table.

My goal is to have the workshop completely self-contained in the 12x13 addition, and to be fairly portable. This means figuring out how to shrink what I have, mount some things on folding carts (the Kapex being a prime candidate), removing the crappy old bench so that I can get more storage on that wall, and possibly replacing my large 400 pound contractor table saw with something like a DeWalt DWE7491RS that can be stored flat against the wall on a cart.

The thing that I'm over-analyzing is my need for some kind of workbench:
* The current workbench is pretty much useless to me as it is today and it isn't worth doing anything to improve it. I'm going to disassemble it and trash it.
* I like the concept of Festool's MFT/3, but from the short time that I was able to work with one in my local Woodcraft I realized that it is not heavy enough to stand up to much hand tool use (sawing, planing, and chiseling).
* As much as I'd love to build a nice Roubo or Nicholson bench, I really don't have the room and they're definitely not portable.

Basically my needs are:
1. Small enough to be portable
2. Heavy enough to use when working with hand tools.

I find myself oddly attracted to the Japanese workbench, which is a large, heavy beam that sits on a pair of sawhorses. This could be supplemented with a couple of I-beams for clamping. It would even be possible to build the horses with a wide heavy beam for the load-bearing surface, so that each horse could act as a mini-workbench. Here are some sites and pictures that have inspired me:

http://gregdmiller.blogspot.tw/2009/10/saw-stool-on-steriods.html
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http://www.renaissancewoodworker.com/boring-dog-holes/
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https://www.popularwoodworking.com/workbenches/schwarz-workbenches/a-japanese-workbench
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http://lumberjocks.com/projects/88051
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https://www.popularwoodworking.com/projects/torsion-beams
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I'd love to hear what some of you have done to solve these challenges in a small home workshop and even for mobile (site) use.

Thanks!
-Paul
CT 26 • DF 500 • ETS 125 • KS 120 • OF 1400 • PS 420 • RO 125 • TS 55 R

Offline mike_aa

  • Posts: 1009
Re: (Re-)Designing My Workshop
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2018, 12:53 PM »
Some of the Lervad benches are compact, well made, fairly sturdy, and can be easily broken down for mobility by loosening four knobs.  I haven't seen them in the US for sale since the 1980's and I'm not sure if this model is still available from the company, but used ones can be found for sale on eBay and Craigslist from time to time.

http://lervad.co.uk/products/242-single-technology-bench/292-technology-bench-132-cm---open-frame/

Mike A.

Offline HAXIT

  • Posts: 199
Re: (Re-)Designing My Workshop
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2018, 03:25 PM »
If I were you with the info and your needs that you told us, I would buy this. [smile]


Offline PaulH99

  • Posts: 102
Re: (Re-)Designing My Workshop
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2018, 03:35 PM »
That bench is interesting! Being able to break it down and throw it in the back of my truck is awesome.

Some of the Lervad benches are compact, well made, fairly sturdy, and can be easily broken down for mobility by loosening four knobs.  I haven't seen them in the US for sale since the 1980's and I'm not sure if this model is still available from the company, but used ones can be found for sale on eBay and Craigslist from time to time.
-Paul
CT 26 • DF 500 • ETS 125 • KS 120 • OF 1400 • PS 420 • RO 125 • TS 55 R

Offline PaulH99

  • Posts: 102
Re: (Re-)Designing My Workshop
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2018, 03:38 PM »
That. Is. Awesome!

If I was a production joiner that would be perfect. However, I'm just an advanced amateur hobby woodworker who needs to be able to put equipment in the back of my truck when friends ask for help. :)

If I were you with the info and your needs that you told us, I would buy this. [smile]
-Paul
CT 26 • DF 500 • ETS 125 • KS 120 • OF 1400 • PS 420 • RO 125 • TS 55 R

Offline egmiii

  • Posts: 91
Re: (Re-)Designing My Workshop
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2018, 11:46 PM »
I suffered from the same analysis paralysis regarding workbenches. So I feel your pain. Unfortunately I don’t think there is an optimal solution to meet the conflicting goals of portability and stability (for hand tools). An MFT slab on sawhorses is your best bet for something that can be taken to the job site. Easy to store up against a garage wall near the truck. A roubo is ideal for the hand tool shop. But how much hand tool work do you plan to do given the decent Festool collection, bandsaw, jointer, and planer on hand? You would likely be better served with a height adjustable roll around MFT style cart. The Felder FAT 300 comes to mind. Ideal for a small shop focused on power tools.

Offline PaulH99

  • Posts: 102
Re: (Re-)Designing My Workshop
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2018, 07:14 AM »
As much as I don't want to hear that answer, you're probably right. I have a decent set of hand tools, but they don't get used as much as I'd like, and as I stated in the original post, I don't have the room for a large, heavy bench to use them on.

The Felder FAT 300 looks nearly ideal and reminded me of the plans @Timtool sells for his portable carts and system workshop. I have purchased his "combo pack" (https://benchworks.be/en/plans/) and expect to have fun building them! I can always clamp a Moxon vise to his bench top if I really need one.

Thank you for pointing out the obvious :)

I suffered from the same analysis paralysis regarding workbenches. So I feel your pain. Unfortunately I don’t think there is an optimal solution to meet the conflicting goals of portability and stability (for hand tools). An MFT slab on sawhorses is your best bet for something that can be taken to the job site. Easy to store up against a garage wall near the truck. A roubo is ideal for the hand tool shop. But how much hand tool work do you plan to do given the decent Festool collection, bandsaw, jointer, and planer on hand? You would likely be better served with a height adjustable roll around MFT style cart. The Felder FAT 300 comes to mind. Ideal for a small shop focused on power tools.
-Paul
CT 26 • DF 500 • ETS 125 • KS 120 • OF 1400 • PS 420 • RO 125 • TS 55 R

Offline Rob Z

  • Posts: 701
Re: (Re-)Designing My Workshop
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2018, 09:46 AM »
Hello Paul

Have you come across the " Moravian Workbench" ?  That is what I am going to build once I get the remainder of the excess tools out of my new (much smaller) shop and can free up some room to work.

After much thought , I decided to go with the Moravian design for the same reasons you have considered:  portable, yet sturdy enough to use for hand-tool woodworking.

There is an excellent dvd covering the building of a Moravian Bench for sale through Popular Woodworking and also Joshua Farnsworth's website (woodandshop.com).. Will Myers shows all the steps necessary to build the bench.

Offline Rob Z

  • Posts: 701
Re: (Re-)Designing My Workshop
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2018, 10:22 AM »
Paul, here you can see how easy it is to set this up.  In my case, I don't need 'portable ' as much as the need for    a bench that is easy to take apart when I need floor space. 



Offline egmiii

  • Posts: 91
Re: (Re-)Designing My Workshop
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2018, 10:47 AM »
That's a really neat bench. Ideal for a home shop that needs to be setup and broken down often.

Offline PaulH99

  • Posts: 102
Re: (Re-)Designing My Workshop
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2018, 11:41 AM »
I have seen that design and the portability factor would be perfect. Unfortunately the size simply won't work because I have far too much other crap that needs to be stored in my workshop :)

The biggest offender is my table saw. I love it because it was one of the few contractor saws made 13 years ago with cast iron wings (instead of stamped steel) and a mobile base. It simply doesn't vibrate or move unless you want it to. However, I have put some serious though into listing it on Craig's List and buying a DeWalt because it's more compact, and I do not use it for breaking down sheet goods since buying a TS55 or dadoing since buying an OF1400. It's mostly (95%) used for ripping boards.

Have you come across the " Moravian Workbench" ?  That is what I am going to build once I get the remainder of the excess tools out of my new (much smaller) shop and can free up some room to work.
-Paul
CT 26 • DF 500 • ETS 125 • KS 120 • OF 1400 • PS 420 • RO 125 • TS 55 R

Offline SoonerFan

  • Posts: 398
Re: (Re-)Designing My Workshop
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2018, 11:53 AM »
@RobZ thanks for sharing.  I have not seen that video and its looks interesting.  Like you, I need something I take apart to store (save floor space) but do not need portable.  Thanks for sharing.

Paul, here you can see how easy it is to set this up.  In my case, I don't need 'portable ' as much as the need for a bench that is easy to take apart when I need floor space. 


Offline Rob Z

  • Posts: 701
Re: (Re-)Designing My Workshop
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2018, 11:54 AM »
Paul, what is the contractor saw you have with cast iron wings?  When I started working construction in the early/mid 80's, I saw old Deltas that were like that. 

Offline Rob Z

  • Posts: 701
Re: (Re-)Designing My Workshop
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2018, 12:00 PM »
I've corresponded with Will and he might be fabricating and selling sometime soon hardware that is useful in the construction of the Moravian Bench.  Here is a ratcheting mechanism that works on the leg vise.



Offline Rob Z

  • Posts: 701
Re: (Re-)Designing My Workshop
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2018, 12:05 PM »
Sooner Fan, 

Happy  to be able to help with new ideas. I have traded some emails with Will and he is a  good guy.  I would love to take his bench class at Roy Undersill's school in NC but I'm not sure I could arrange to be away from home that long (I think it's about six days).

Paul , One idea I had was to expand the bench a bit, both in length and depth. I was also going to make the legs a bit longer than Will's plans detail, knowing I could cut them down a little if needed.  In the same way, you could shrink the dimensions to fit your shop.    In any case, good luck with your bench build and get some pics of what you end up making.

Offline PaulH99

  • Posts: 102
Re: (Re-)Designing My Workshop
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2018, 01:01 PM »
It's a Ridgid TS3650 from around 2004 or 2005: http://www.finewoodworking.com/2005/10/25/contractor-saw-no-ts3650-review

Paul, what is the contractor saw you have with cast iron wings?  When I started working construction in the early/mid 80's, I saw old Deltas that were like that.
-Paul
CT 26 • DF 500 • ETS 125 • KS 120 • OF 1400 • PS 420 • RO 125 • TS 55 R

Offline PaulH99

  • Posts: 102
Re: (Re-)Designing My Workshop
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2018, 01:25 PM »
Changing the dimensions is definitely doable. I realize that I need a better storage solution first, which is why I want to build something like the @Timtool System Workshop. His MFTC *might* solve my portable bench issue. My only concern is the stability. That's where a couple of heavy sawhorses and either a multi-function slab or a couple of beams is quite useful.

Paul , One idea I had was to expand the bench a bit, both in length and depth. I was also going to make the legs a bit longer than Will's plans detail, knowing I could cut them down a little if needed.  In the same way, you could shrink the dimensions to fit your shop.    In any case, good luck with your bench build and get some pics of what you end up making.
-Paul
CT 26 • DF 500 • ETS 125 • KS 120 • OF 1400 • PS 420 • RO 125 • TS 55 R

Offline 3PedalMINI

  • Posts: 434
    • Signature Sound & Video
Re: (Re-)Designing My Workshop
« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2018, 07:44 AM »
Why not just build a smaller version of the Paulk Workbench?
The Bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten -Benjamin Franklin

Professional Custom Audio Video System Designer/Installer serving Southern - Middle NJ, Eastern PA & the Surrounding Shore Points.
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Kapex 120,TS55,RO150,ETS125,CT-26,CT-MIDI,Tradesmen Cleaning Kit, Festool Ratchet Kit, Sys-lite, Sys Roll Cart, T18 +3, 2013 Centrotec Kit, Carvex 420, Carvex Accessory Kit, CXS,RO90, TI15 and Various Festool Systainers