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Archive of 'Shop Systems Archives - The Art of Woodshop Design'

  • 7 Strange Lessons & Tricks I Learned Installing a Shop Subpanel

    Written By .
    In Shop Systems

    In my previous article, Wiring Up Your Shop, I mentioned that I eventually wanted to put in a subpanel, but I didn’t feel like messing that deeply into electrical work.

    Well, now I kinda need to. I’ve got a bunch of 240V circuits that I need, and with my ideal shop layout, I just can’t have one breaker.

    Previously I had re-wired my Table Saw, Jointer, and Drum Sander with a longer power cord. I ran these along the dust collection flex hose up to the ceiling, and then to a common 240V outlet.

    Since I used these tools one at a time, all was fine. But my Drum Sander really belongs on the other side of the shop, so now I need at least two 240V outlets. I don’t want to put two 240V outlets on one circuit, but I don’t have any more room in my Main House Panel.

  • Dust Collection System Layout ‘Strategeries’

    Written By .
    In Shop Systems

    What to Think About When Doing Your Dust Collection Design

    In my first shop, which was my apartment bedroom, I had no dust collection except for vacuuming afterwards. This sucked. Literally. Imagine…cutting boards and then leaving the room, closing the door, and waiting for the dust to settle. It wasn’t a good way to encourage more shop time.

    So let’s assume you want some sort of dust collection system…even if just eventually.

  • Dust Collection Ductwork and Fittings Done Right

    Written By .
    In Shop Systems

    “Installing a permanent dust collection system is too hard so I just use flex duct and connect it to the machine I’m using”. Sound familiar? Well that’s how a lot of woodworkers think, not feeling like an HVAC expert or very interested in dealing with sheet metal ductwork. But I bet you’d like to have a dream dust collection system in your woodshop.

  • How to Get Production Results and Help Your Workshop Layout

    Written By .
    In Shop Systems,Tool Reviews/ Events,Workshop Layout

    How to Make a Mobile Panel Max Stand to Get Production Results from Your Woodshop Design. Not having enough clamps is kind of a woodworking running joke, but it’s annoyingly true way too often.

    Think about the last time you glued 5 boards together edge to edge. You may have used 4 or 5 parallel cabinet clamps, then some small mini-bar clamps or C-clamps to make sure the edges align and the boards dry flat.

    If you’re doing a batch of those, you’ll quickly run out of clamps, and that means waiting hours for the first batch to dry (which is why I like to have several projects running in parallel to occupy that time wisely).

  • My New Dust Collection Filter Bags Arrived!

    Written By .
    In Shop Systems,Tool Reviews/ Events

    How to Get True Set-it-and-Forget-it Filtration for Your Dust Collector.

    In the previous post, I told you about how I thought my dust collection system was good enough and kept workstations clean, until I noticed a layer of fine dust all over the dust collector and the surrounding area. This made me realize that while the system is picking up fine dust, it’s also spraying it all over the shop.

    Fine dust stays suspended in the air and moves around at even low air speeds so for sure it’s making its way back to my nose.

    I decided to dig even deeper into my own system, and make it more like systems I’ve designed for larger shops. There is a balance of cost and performance, but if you make the right choices you can get a kick-butt system for relatively low cost, and upgrade in the future as your funds allow.

    It’s not often you think about your dust collector filter, but without a good one you aren’t accomplishing what your dust collection system is entirely meant for: dust extraction and containment

  • Does your Dust Collector Filter Bag Spray Fine Dust Up Your Nose?

    Written By .
    In Shop Systems

    I thought my dust collector worked pretty well until I was emptying the lower dust bag and noticed something. It makes total sense, but I just didn’t really think about it before.

    I’ve always had the ultimate dust collection system as my goal, and have several improvements on my list. Enlarging the dust ports from 4” to 6” on my jointer, making a dust extraction blade guard for my table saw, and increasing the duct drop size to my drum sander are the main ones. But now I’ve started to rethink the “back end” of the system woodworkers don’t normally worry about.

  • Garage Shop Convenience Outside!

    Written By .
    In Shop Systems

    Just like with building a house, there are things to do to the exterior of your garage shop to give you the day-to-day convenience you crave.

    You also don’t want to be surprised by all the things that will affect the exterior walls of your shop, like air conditioner refrigerant line penetrations, louvers, exterior light fixtures, and conduit to power outbuildings for lumber storage. All of those things need to be waterproofed, but the good news is you can draw those details when you plan your wall layers.

    If you include the things mentioned below in your overall woodshop design plan, it’ll be easy. Do your thinking now, and the whole process can be done assembly-line style

  • The 3-Step System for NEVER Running Out of Shop Supplies

    Written By .
    In Shop Systems

    Not too many things are more frustrating than running out of supplies in the middle of a project.

    Think about the interruption in workflow it causes. Having to stop what you’re doing and jump in the car to pick up supplies to continue building. Once you get out of the groove of being in the shop, there’s a good chance that with all of life’s distractions you won’t.

    What if you ran out of something and suddenly a magic owl swooped down and dropped you some more fasteners or foam brushes?

  • Do This!

    Written By .
    In Shop Systems,Workshop Layout

    Your shop layout can be ruined and made pointless by something trivial.

    Your jointing a bunch of boards, and when you’re done you plan on switching seamlessly to the Table Saw, which is positioned perfectly for that very thing.

    But, you have a pile of shavings getting in the way of your jointer operation, so you look for a brush to sweep them off the jointer bed. Not a brush in sight. Dangit, it’s over there on the assembly table near the sander. So you walk over there, grab it, and go back to the jointer. Perfect workflow? Fail.

    This could happen when you go to the Table Saw and can’t find a push block. If you have to keep looking for little things all the time, there’s really no point in arranging your machines at all.

    What is the answer?

  • Dust Collection Mastery

    Written By .
    In Shop Systems

    Dust Collection Options

    A friend asks you to help him with his shop ideas.

    “What kind of dust collection system should I consider?”

    “Ahh, I’d put in a central collector, duct it to each machine, and have a remote on/off keychain with me. Put blastgates at each machine to maximize suction on the tool you’re using. Then you can do woodworking without dragging a shop vacuum or small collector around the shop or re-hooking up flex hoses. “

    Now, if you’d recommend this to someone you care about, what about you?

    There are many ways to do this, but there are better ways… The set-it-and-forget-it method of dust collection you can do yourself!

  • 2-Day Shop Renewal

    Written By .
    In Design Process,Shop Systems

    When driving a long distance, you know that if you stop somewhere even to just get gas or buy a snack how much better you feel when you get back in the car. You could go for another 100 miles. But just 7 minutes ago, you felt like falling asleep.

    Giving yourself a boost like this is important when you notice you’re in a routine and things aren’t quite right.

    Every so often, …

  • Fast Fixes for an Under-Performing Workshop Layout

    Written By .
    In Shop Systems,Workshop Layout

    I thought I had the perfect design. Everything seemed to flow, tools were arranged ergonomically, and everything had electricity and a dust collection connection.

    Then I used that design in real life.

    Most things were exactly what I imagined they would be like, but there were a few deficiencies I couldn’t ignore…

  • Wiring Up Your Shop

    Written By .
    In Shop Systems,Workshop Layout

    Are you tripping over power cords? Do you worry about what you’ll do when you buy a 240V table saw when you only have 120V outlets? Are you routinely tripping circuit breakers?

    As part of your overall woodshop design, assigning each tool to a circuit and positioning outlets to handle your current and future layout is one of the first steps…

  • Proven Ways to Enhance and Increase Your Shop Time

    Written By .
    In Shop Comfort,Shop Systems

    Gain permanent control over your comfort, freeing you to focus on woodworking.

  • Before You Build Your Dream Woodshop

    Written By .
    In Design Process,Shop Systems,Starting? Go here!

    Avoid the common mistake of making random shop improvements.