One of my youtube guilty pleasures is watching shop tours. You know the ones where they walk around their shop and show off their tools, benches, layouts and other knickknacks.
While at times it can be disheartening when you see a tour of a shop full of Festool and Powermatic products it is also awesome when a maker puts out killer products using the same or similar tools I use in my own shop. Having a shop stocked with top of the line equipment can make life a bit easier at times it is in no way a requirement.
Since moving into a new house last year and finally having real shop space I’ve slowly building up my tool collection. When I first moved in my tools consisted of a lower end miter saw I had purchased ~8 years ago, a circular saw, a few drills, a jigsaw, some various hammers, wrenches and other hand tools and a shop stereo that is old enough to still have a tape deck included.
I’m also extremely lucky to have family who are actively involved in woodworking and have gifted me with some hand me down tools that they no longer use including a disc sander, jointer and knife sharpener. Over the next 6 – 12 months I have a few more significant tool purchases in store but hopefully after that I can slow down a bit…haha (yeah right).
My shop currently sits in one bay of an attached 3 car garage. The floor space is approximately 11ft x 29ft with an additional 8ft x 10ft nook on the other side of the shop that I currently use primarily for storage and sharpening stations. The previous homeowners left some old shelving and cabinets that currently holds my miter saw and various hand tools and accessories.
The center of the shop is my table saw (Grizzly G0771 and a plywood outfeed/work table inspired by this build at wood whisperer. The table saw sits on a rolling cart but the outfeed table is stationary although not that difficult to drag around when the need comes up.
The back wall of the shop is currently plywood storage since I haven’t built any kind of wood storage cart yet. Our future dining room table, an 8ft long butternut slab, is also sitting back there on a rolling cart taking up a ton of space.
The side of the shop is comprised of leftover cabinets and holds the (in desperate need of an upgrade) Skil compound miter saw, Dewalt DW735x planer and a hand me down Jet 1.5hp dust collector. In the front of the shop I have a Grizzly G1182 jointer on a mobile base.
A few other tools laying around include a Bosch plunge router, Harbor Freight 10 gal air compressor and various air nailers, drills, sanders, etc.
I don’t currently have an extensive hand tool collection but I am slowly accumulating a decent set. This includes a Narex chisel set, restored Millers Falls #4 & #5 equivalent planes, a low angle block plane and a Gyokuchu Dovetail saw.
How I Work
I find myself spending a majority of the time in the shop working with power tools. While I certainly have enjoyed getting more acquainted with hand tools over the past year I find the lack of a proper work bench to make things significantly more difficult to get work done cleanly and efficiently. Also becoming a new parent has severely limited my shop time so when I do get the chance I tend to be working in high output mode and that doesn’t necessarily lend itself to a lot of hand tool work.
Over the next year I hope to begin the build process on a new workbench along with some new tool storage. When I’m working I tend to quickly fill up every flat surface with tools so building some storage should really help my efficiency.