“Multi-Taskers and Integrated Tools” or “Broad-Spectrum Shop Planning”

10698539_556431967823777_312038349620965356_nThis is more of a curiousity than an actual project or update article, but here’s a thought to through out there on integrating tools into benches to make work more efficient and easier to manage. I’ve often thought, and have seldom ever seen, a 4’x8′ bench, seen as unmanageable by some, but that extra real estate would be ideal for larger units and clamping-down large glue-ups prior to setting them on the floor; think laminations or edge-gluing boards for tabletops, etc. I would insist on this HUGE piece of shop furniture do double, or even triple duty, though. (Image courtesy of Woodworking Tips facebook group)

I envision a huge table-top, with a 4′ long clamp-down fence in the centre of the width, on adjustable rails with a micro-screw-adjust and the jigs to ensure that it is ALWAYS perpendicular to the edge. I imagine on one side of that fence, a 10″ or 12″ tablesaw blade with removable zero-clearance inserts and integrated dust-collection. It would, of course, require T-tracks for the accessories like screw-advance joint-cutting jigs, crosscut sleds and mitre sleds; obviously. Meticulous use and design of these custom-built sleds would negate the need for a sled, but opinions vary on that score, as well. On the opposite end of that adjustable mid-range fence would be a heavy-duty router table with removable lift-plate and a full recess screw-advance. I need the saw blade AND the router lift table to recess into the table completely, with zero protruding. I’d have an insert board, made of  1/4″ Hardboard (HDF), for example. I could then left the piece(s) away and drop a one-piece, solid, 4’x8′ sheet of hardboard, or melmine treated MDF/OSB, anything, right into place (similar to the door-topped table I built) I don’t have space, nor do I want to waste what I could arrange, to have several 4′ x 8′ benches floating around. A multi-function saw/router table/bench as my primary and an assembly table off to the side for glue-ups to rest and set while I’m doing other tasks.

That multi-function table, a large glue-up/assembly table with heavily treated top that will repel glue/paint/finish, and my wrap-around Modular 8’x8′ cabinet system, in combination with my Multi-wood storage solution, designing pieces on my new computer workstation in the house.

Next year, I’ll end up removing ALL the (4) windows from the garage, getting rid of that 3-part garage door and installing an 1) automatic slider on rails or a 2) automatic side-slider on rails/wheels to replace what I’ve got there now. I need a new floor laid on top of the existing boards before I fall through, re-insulate then sheathe the walls and ceiling, after I require the place for 120vAC and put 16 double 32W bulb Fluorescent lights, each with 5000k (daylight frequency) lights and electronic ballasts.

I never said it’d be QUICK, but I do intend for it to be complete. I like to vaguely sort out details until I get an idea of what I want the finished product to look like, then I do the entire plan again, in reverse, until I find the simplest way to go about it. When it comes to my garage, I have all the planning visualized (obviously?) and only have to sort out the money and to figure out the smoothest way to go about it all. I have no beef with buying crap-tools until THOSE break and then upgrade to a (arbitrary plug) DeWalt one-of-everything. I’m not quite at a Festool or Powermatic level, just yet, but I hope for my children to inherit some of those gucci toys.

Every day, every week, every month my shop will improve. Bit by bit, piece by piece, and the more/harder I work towards that end, the more satisfying it’ll be in the end. I will do my best to record my ranting on here so that we can look back, given hindsight, and examine how much more I’d bitten off than I could chew.

We’ll see, though, but in the meantime, be sure to enjoy the ride. I sure as hell will!


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