Wednesday, January 18, 2012

We finally get to the SuperFun part!

Well, it has been what feels like forever, but we are finally finally organizing a woodshop! We are still in the middle of the infiltration pit debacle, but we are moving ahead and giving our tools a home.

We found some pretty awesome old metal kitchen cabinets and solid doors and decided that with these things we would establish a shop height.  With the door draped across the kitchen cabinets we ended up with a working height of 3 ft.  This is a perfect working height and now we can build everything else to fit.   Here is where we began:

The cabinets have some neat chrome details that fit our aesthetic really well.

The next thing we knew we wanted was a dedicated wall for hanging hand tools. This is a common disagreement between us. John wants to be able to see everything and I cannot stand visual clutter.  I do understand the wanting to see the tools though. You hang the tool and then trace around it in sharpie. One glance at the wall and you can instantly see what is missing.  We also wanted a place to store sheet goods. Full pieces of plywood and OSB. Laying them flat takes up too much space so a nook against a wall was the obvious solution. The next leap was making the outside of the sheet goods rack the home for our hanging hand tools.  It looks something like this:

You can see we built the nook into the desk work area so that all tools are together and in easy grabbing distance. And just behind all the hanging tools is a solid foot and a half of sheet good storage.

The next thing we wanted was a a easy place to store the dizzying array of screws we now own.  We do have a plethora of mason jars so we made a screw shelf.

We screwed the lids to the bottom of the shelf fro inside the lid. The jar screws into the lid. This is a very simple idea that is great for several reasons. You can see the kind of screw you are looking for and then you just twist the jar and the screws are already in a traveling container. All of the lids are the same size so you don't need to worry getting the right jar to the right lid.  I am planning on making one for bolts and nuts too. I am thinking that the washers and nuts can be in the same jar and placed right next to the appropriate size bolt.

The next find was this three tiered metal cart. It had no wheels and was pretty beat up, but for 5 bucks the price was right.

I added casters and cut off the top tier to make a rolling cart for the welder.  Once I added some wood strips to keep it square, I cut a hole in the new top tier and fit the gas cylinder down into it. The gas is strapped to the cart and the welder and the whole shebang can roll around the shop. Awesome. Now it is  time to make some metal stuff!

While it's not the best picture, you can see how the canister goes all the way to the bottom of the cart. I failed to get a picture of the perfect canister sized hole it sits in.

Now ( well, not right now. Right now we are snowed into the Yurt eating lamb roast and reading books) we are moving onto the back wall. The back wall is for the chop saw and it needs a long feed table, so we are putting it on the back wall with a table that spans the whole length. The saw itself will be on a cart (project number one for the welder)  so if you need to cut a piece that doesn't fit, you can wheel the saw to the middle of the shop, or even outside. Over the window will be a lumber rack for dimensional lumber. We are still working on this, but here is the work in progress.

I just can't tell you how great it is to have a place that we built that is functional. I mean, so far, we have built a greenhouse and a huge fenced garden with no plants and a chicken coop with no chickens. To get the shop to a place where it is functional and helping us function SO much better, feels amazing. I can only imagine what moving into the house will feel like.  And when we do we will have a greenhouse and chicken coop waiting for us.


  1. love the cupboards/cabinets..truthfully we are on the lookout for something like that for our kitchen! The shop looks great..and the suspended mason jars brought back a floor of memories from choldhood for me as our shed was maggoty with hanging jars full of odds and ends! hehe..and for a props department the shop sure is lacking planes!

  2. That is exciting! We got our garage here all laid out to use tools easily (including a family heirloom chop saw) and it has made every project since so much better.

  3. I am jealous not only of your shop, but you can weld too!

  4. Paula,
    Take a trip up! I will totally teach you to weld!


  5. I'm pretty sure Erick would be drooling right now if he got a peek at your shop! The jars are an awesome awesome idea!

  6. Next time I'm up Seattle way, Christy, I will totally take you up on that!

  7. Excellent progress and all those details of workmanlike space and storage will pay real dividends in how useful this space will really be in the long term. Love to see the clever repurposing you are doing with all your projects. Well done!

  8. Great articles . Keep posting them. Would it possible for you to add the costs involved along with the article since for new hobbyists it will be useful.?