A vehicle in the workshop??


Not in this case! That is the garage getting used, as a garage!

I’ve finally been able to move enough tools and timber to their proper home for the car to (just) fit. It is a reflection of how well the workshop is maturing that this is possible. Still a bit to move, but this has broken the back of the task. Now I just have to find homes for the latest collection of stuff, that has been unceremoniously dumped in the workshop. Getting there slowly, but surely.

(Title inspired by Ralph, and a comment left on Facebook where the image made its first appearance).

On the up

Took a while to think through the best mounting option for the crane. There are three things that needed to be considered.

1. Vertical load down. This is by far the easiest force to resist, as the structure supporting the mezzanine is already in place, transferring the load down the vertical beams to the slab.

2. Rotation. A single mounting point with an arm extending out creates a significant bending moment. Trying to resist this force is tricky- a C section beam is not good to resist this. However, I am going to ignore this force, and assume that rotation is unrestricted. This then means point 3 is very important.

3. Vertical load up. If the front of the crane (mount) is pushing down, and that cannot go anywhere (it is a solid beam), then the back end of the mounting point is trying to lift.  This was the force I was most concerned about, and the solution was a second beam that distributed that load over a number of bearers.

How much load?  See if I can work it out with rusty mechanics.  The arm is 1000mm long (close enough), and at that length has a maximum loading of 230kg.  The base plate is 250mm, so therefore the vertical load will be 920kg.  This already has the flooring on top, so the weight of that can be subtracted.  Let’s estimate it is the weight of a single sheet of redtongue (it’d be more, but as there are joints that will decrease the overall effect).  A sheet weighs 50kg (I knew the damned things were heavy), so that drops the overall load to 870kg.  This is spread over 4 joists.  So each one is being lifted with a 220kg load (rounded up).  More than I am comfortable with, so it would be worth reinforcing the floor with a couple of beams to the ceiling – given that directly above is one of the main ceiling frames.  In the meantime, this is the maximum permissible crane load.  If I restrict the crane to lift a maximum of 112kg, this means each floor joist carries a vertical load of 100kg.  That sounds pretty good as a safety factor.  Any weight added to the floor above increases the permissible load, and instead of factoring that in, that just adds to the safety factor, rather than used to permit a greater load.

To start, I took a jigsaw and cut a hole in the flooring to the size of the plate.  I wanted to mount the crane directly to the beams, not the floor.  There was another reason for this – the crane has a 2200mm range of movement, and as there isn’t that much head room, dropping down 120mm or so to the beam gained some operating range as a bonus.

Photo 1-03-2014 10 47 43

After marking the position of the first set of holes, these were drilled, and the plate bolted in position.

Then, from underneath, I added a second beam that spanned 4 joists.  This was screwed into position, and bolted to the mounting plate.  Screws are fine in this case as the load is upwards.  For that reason, the crane can only operate when it is on the side of the hole.  Best restricted to 45 degrees either side of the hole when carrying a load to ensure the rear beam is only loaded upwards.

Photo 1-03-2014 13 01 24

Photo 1-03-2014 11 33 45Once the base was secured, it was time to assemble the crane itself.

Photo 1-03-2014 11 42 25The vertical beam is bolted to the base flange.  The base flange is mounted on a short post that has an angled thrust bearing at the end to carry load.  Curiously, the grease nipple on the lower section is nowhere near the bearing it is meant to grease.  Makes me suspicious the Chinese stuffed up reading the plans, as where the nipple is located just under the flange would be just about the perfect distance in, if only from the other end.  Either that, or you are expected to fill the entire void with grease.  Possibly, but as there is a hole at the bottom (underneath), I would expect over time (or on really hot days) for the grease to find its way down and out, dripping all over the ground floor.  Might have to plug a cork in the hole, then get greasing.  But seriously, even if left dry, this will not be getting enough use rotating around the base for grease to be needed.

Photo 1-03-2014 11 49 57The horizontal arm is bolted to the top, then the ram bolted between the two.  It is a mechanical, hydraulic (oil) 3 tonne ram, with a really good operating range.

Finally, the extension arm with the hook is added, and secured at the 230kg point (extended over the hole). A chain hoist hooked on (temporarily, until the electric winch arrives)

Photo 1-03-2014 11 57 12

It looks the business, and the first tests worked well.  So then I lifted some serious loads up (around the 60-70kg range).  Yup.  Works.

So then I moved onto lifting a bunch of crates I had waiting up to start clearing some of the ground floor space.

Photo 1-03-2014 15 54 43

Lifting one of my original entertainment cabinet side units (and a bit of a selfie at the same time).  After the entertainment unit was decommissioned (marking the end of CRT TVs), it became a tool cabinet in the previous shed, with the centre section being a tool sharpening station.  This time around, the cabinets don’t fit the look and feel of the ground floor, so they are heading up to the relaxing section of the upper floor (the what?!!)  Hmm – giving the game away a bit……. more on that in time 😉

The two outside cabinets look good up there, so will be used to store woodworking books, some display items etc.  But what will happen to the centre section?  No longer required for a TV, no longer needed as a sharpening station.  It might be time for my carefully made entertainment section to meet Mr saw, and separate the top section that is no longer very useful, from the two cupboards that could still be utilised – perhaps under the new sink.  Just thought of that – interesting.

Festool Workshop

This is what I am aspiring to.  Got a lot of sawdust to generate to get there!


100 bottles of beer on the wall

26 crates of tools in the shed
26 crates of tools
And when one of those crates gets unpacked
There’ll be 25 crates of tools in the shed.

Still slowly working through the boxes and crates of tools packed over a year ago, finding them new homes, or at least placing them where their home should be so I get an idea of just what storage options I still need.  Getting to the point that I will need to start making some, which will be good. I’m also looking at some other options to complement some cupboards, such as a collection of Festool systainers on roll boards stored under the TWC for all the miscellaneous items (abrasives, glues, various handtools etc).  Have to have a chat with my local Festool dealer (and yes, I mean that in the drug-dealer way – damned addiction that it is 🙂 ).

I am still finding items that will no longer be required, and so the sales pile is slowly growing.  Latest items include a Makita 3612 router, a Triton 184mm circular saw, a Triton Router table and stand, a scrollsaw, and a Dewalt radial arm saw.  This is also related to the Festool drug – as I look to upgrade tools, my current ones go on a hit list.  Still looking for expressions of interest (or preferably, offers to buy!) on the Torque Router Master, and the TS10L 52″ 3HP cast iron tablesaw.

On the mezzanine front, I decided the best option was a small crane arrangement from Hare & Forbes.  Costs only $209, so quite reasonable for what it is.


I will work out the best method to securely fix it to one of the main support beams, and add additional reinforcement to counteract the bending moment it will create for the beam.  It will still use a chain hoist to lift I expect, given its operational range is less than the height of the mezzanine, but that will be a bit of suck and see when I get it installed.  2200mm of operating height isn’t too bad, given the mezzanine floor is at something like 2800.  It might just mean something that needs lifting only needs to start from about the height of a workbench, which is an interesting proposition (but I still can’t see it working without a chain hoist being involved).

Irrespective, once the item is lifted above the mezzanine floor, the crane rotates easily allowing the load to be deposited onto the floor, rather than having to be collected from above the hole.  Still need to sort out some balustrading around each of the openings.


I rigged up a temporary setup to see how lifting items up to the mezzanine would go.  Using a pulley for an electric 4×4 winch (you can see it in the photos from the 20m2 post earlier) and a rope, I tried out lifting one of the crates.

Proved one point – if you are going to lift items that sort of height, and that sort of weight (30kg or so – nothing too serious, unless it drops), it needs to be a serious approach.  A rope and a pulley hooked up on a dodgy overhead line is not a serious approach.

I’ve resisted the idea of using a chain hoist up to now, being a very slow operation, but it may be the best option.  At least when you stop and let go, it doesn’t go anywhere!  Still need to hang it off something, which is still proving to be the tricky point.  I also the little matter of having to find my chain hoist – it will be in one of the crates.  Question is….which one?!

Unpacked one crate – found it full of various drilling components – drill bits, forstner bits, drill press clamps and vice, and my green Bosch drill – the one that I think I burned out trying to use it to drive some bugle-headed screws.  The only indication of a problem was the forward-reverse lever was stuck.

Decided to take it apart – find out if anything was really wrong or not.  Sure was.  It is a brushed motor, and the plastic restraining one of the brushes had gotten hot, and sagged.  The sagging plastic had interfered with the forward-reverse lever, which is rather secondary.  Surprised the motor was still running to be honest.  Took it all apart as I decided it was a definite writeoff, and not able to be saved (or rather, given it was still running, that it wasn’t safe to save it).  Had a look through how the chuck works, including the hammer function, before tossing the lot in the bin.  I kept the actual motor – not because it is still any good, but so I can take some photos.

At least the contents of that crate found homes in the shed already.  Not every one will be that easy.




Mezzanine Flooring

This will be a short update- been pouring my energy into getting things done out in the workshop over the weekend.

Today was the push to get the flooring of the mezzanine finished. And with a sigh of relief, I got there.

Sure, I still need to tape up the silverpaper, and add rows of screws into each of the beams (rather than the few tacking the floor together currently), and make the mini-walls that will seal off the mezzanine from the ground floor.

Back to the mezzanine floor for a sec- needed a couple of extra lengths of redtongue. Bloody heavy stuff- I really do not like sheet goods, despite their relatively low cost, and convenience. Gave the Gorilla Gripper a real workout, particularly lifting the sheets to the mezzanine floor. Proved its real value today.

Ask, and the workshop answers

I’ve been playing around some more with the machine layout, and have come up with something that looks a great deal more workable. The latest layout started by considering the position of the tablesaw, and resulted in it being spun 270 degrees. Yes, I know that makes no sense whatsoever, but I started by rotating it anticlockwise 90 degrees before deciding it would be better facing the other way and up against the pillar rather than the wall.

Things gained momentum from there, as that placed the tablesaw in range of the 15A GPO I had originally planned for it (as a bonus for the location choice). It also allowed sufficient infeed, out feed and side clearance for full sheets to be cut- another indication I was on the right track.

Next, I pushed the bandsaw out of the way, and decided where best to place the router table, up against the wall. That then provided a logical place for the bandsaw, and I noticed I had laid out each of the cutting and shaping machines around a common central area.


Not too bad if I do say so. I can see this working rather well.

The question about the location of the dust extractor became glaringly obvious. Looking at the thicknesser, jointer, bandsaw and drum sander, they were all pointing (with their dust chutes) to the same location. Back to my original plan for the dust extractor. No, not the mezzanine- my original plan when first designing the shed. The triangular courtyard between the two wings of the shed. Sure, I need to fill the area in so the extractor is protected from the elements, but it is logical. Furthermore, it puts the extractor within range of the GPO I had installed specifically for it- another bonus.

The two main sawdust generators (jointer & thicknesser) are close to, and have a direct path to the extractor. The next is the Torque Workcentre, and it is just on the other side of the wall, as is the drum sander. The tablesaw is a bit further, but it produces a much finer dust that will carry easily. The only tool left out then is the router table. I will either bring pipe work over the top to it, or consider its location further- it may be possible to get it co located as well.

So when asking where the extractor should go, the shed pointed the way.



Line Shaft Setup

It has taken just a little longer than I was expecting when I purchased some line shaft pulleys and belts 10 months ago, but I have finally had a chance to get them up and on display as I originally intended.

They do look a bit out of place, but that is in part the contrast of the old technology with the new, and also the clean, yet to be really filled (and ‘shedified’) workshop. Working on it!




Protool becomes Festool

This is old news for some I am sure, but Protool and Festool have combined, and the Protool brand has been absorbed.  In one way, this is kind of confusing, seeing as the two brands were really one anyway under the Tooltechnic banner – at least from an outsiders perspective!

The company used the Festool brand for more woodworking type applications, and Protool for other contractor tools (concrete cutters and grinders, heavy-duty drills and other heavier duty products).  They have decided to combine these under the single Festool brand banner.  It means the Protool tools will receive a makeover, becoming the classic Festool dark blue and green, and it won’t be possible to say definitively that all Festool is made in Germany (a few of the Protool range are not), but it will end the “when is a Festool not a Festool” question (as in “when it is a Protool”).  So what does this all really mean?  Not a lot to be honest, just means if you are a fan of Festool (or have been sorely tempted by their range), as far as the Festool branding (and green/blue coloured tools), that range is getting bigger.


One of the early cab-off-the-ranks is the SwordSaw



And many other products in the Protool range will be receiving the same treatment.

I know not everyone is into Festool products- to each his own.  What I can I say – quality is addictive!




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