Space- the final frontier

My ‘old’ tablesaw did find a new home in the end, and with it gone, I discovered something very valuable had been trapped under it for an absolute age.  No, it wasn’t some rare coin, nor a tool that had been misplaced.

It was open space.  The absence of something being in the way, blocking up the shed any more than it needs to.

I’ve been out to the shed quite a few times since, and it still catches me by surprise that I can see a gap, that there is somewhere I can easily stand or move around.

Having space is a valuable thing.

I have a lot on my plate at the moment – realistically I have had for the past couple of years, but it has been insane for the last 6 months particularly.  Some of that has been self-inflicted, and a lot has been work related.  I have a bit of a break coming up, and at the far side of it, I have a hope that there will be some time that I can just reinvest back into the shed.

Of the things I want to achieve out there, the first is a massive tidy-up.  No so much that it is really messy (although it is), but I’ve never actually finished moving in since it was built.  There is still a lot of tools, and consumables sitting in boxes and crates, waiting to be unpacked and homes for them found.  Some need to be moved onto new homes too.  eBay or whatever.

Secondly, I need to finish the shed off (which in part is a continuation of the first point), but there are things I have changed, machines that have moved etc that have compromised their access to power, and particularly their access to dust extraction (and that also gets back to the mess that is building!)

Thirdly, the machines themselves need maintenance.  Whether it is ensuring there is no rust, the cast iron tops are polished and sealed, and importantly, that I finally set some of them up properly- retuning them for accuracy etc.  I know for a fact that one simple job that I still haven’t done is ensuring the tablesaw top is set perfectly parallel with the blade.  I know it is out, and I am able to compromise for that, but why do that?  I have the tools I need to be able to set it up very accurately, so why haven’t I?

Finally, and this is probably going to be a step further than I can achieve, but I’d like to reassess some of the machines I have.  Are they what I want to keep working with, are they suitable to my needs.  Do I really need a 15″ thicknesser, and only a 6″ jointer?  Would a combo machine better suit my particular requirements (and save on the footprint as well)?  I tend not to like limiting capacity, but on the other hand, I cannot remember the last time that I tried to run something that tested the width capabilities of the thicknesser.  I have regularly run into the limit of the jointer on the other hand.  If I had a better (and larger) drum sander, that might well result in the best combination for what I need in my workshop.

So that’s a bit of homework for me for the shed.  It just needs one other particularly limited resource: time!

6 Responses

  1. Gday Stu,
    space is very costly just up sized to 285sqm for my “shed” will be paying for it the rest of my working life.

  2. I put my planer to bed when I got my drum sander and haven’t pulled it back out since. A larger joiner sure would be nice too 😉 I understand where your at there. Hope you get the break you need. Take care and have fun woodworking.

  3. Stuart

    I faced your problem some years ago. I was using a combination Makita with a 6″ jointer on the side next to a 12″ planer so no changeover. The quality of the machine was excellent I understand they were made for school workshops. An added advantage is that a sharpening machine was available, I might add at considerable cost, that enabled you to obtain razor sharp knives. Not only did the width of the jointer restrict me but the table was shorter than ideal. Because of space I decided to replace with a combination machine. Additionally having used a digital readout on a thickness at TAFE this was a definite must. In the end I opted for a 400mm Felder. The deciding factor for me was that it had something like 2m tables with extensions available each end this allowed me to run 4m lengths reasonably comfortably. The machine also has a motor driven rise and fall which is nice. All this comes at a very substantial price. The disadvantages of the machine, changing from planning to thicknessing while probably better than most machines is still a pain and I am compelled to buy Felder knives which are neither cheap or a sharp as I would prefer. To be fair they work OK and are very quick to change.


  4. Gday Stu, well I plan on still doing the chair production plus being able to do milling demos plus a small forge and metalwork area, timber storage. the usual.

  5. My workshop is only 60sq mt. To overcome the space restriction, I have mounted most of the machinery on home made dollies. This way, when they are not in use, they can be stored against one wall leaving more space in the middle for the more permanent machines, Triton saw, Lathe and my workbench (ok not a machine, but it takes up a lot of space).

    The machines consigned to dollies are: Band-saw, Triton Router Table, Drum Sander, Drill Press, Thicknesser and a Mitre Saw. When I set each machine up to be used for that session, I have a spare extraction hose which connects to that machine.

    Then, at the end of each working session, I do a complete cleanup of the shed. I sweep and vacuum the floors, return all tools to their correct place.

    The next time I go out there to work it is great not to have to clean up before I start.

    Even my neighbours and any kids that want to make something are told to leave time for cleaning up before they finish for the day. This they have now got used to and have even started to implement this in their own sheds.


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