Clearing out the Shop – Shop Organization Introduction

One of my goals for this year is to get the shop organized so it is a more efficient work space not just for woodworking but also for filming my videos.  This first post in this organization series will serve as an introduction to the series and a bit of an updated shop tour.  Part of this initial clearing process will be to identify future organization projects as my biggest issue is almost everything in the shop doesn’t have home.  Most things are nomadic; moving from surface to surface.

1 - before

I’ll be using the 5S Methodology to help me organize the organization process.

  1. Sort
  2. Set
  3. Shine
  4. Standardize
  5. Sustain

This initial pass through the shop will be primarily the first S.  I will be removing anything that I don’t need and getting rid of those items and I will also be removing items that don’t need to be in the shop and storing those in my shed.  Anything I can do to work on the second S at this point, I’ll also do now but mostly I will be using this time to think of things I can do in the future to work on Setting in Place (Everything has a place).

2 - welding corner before

The first corner as you enter the shop is currently filled with my chainsaws and extra bags of concrete mix.  The saw on top of my saw box are project saws that I bought a few years ago to fix but as I haven’t gotten around to working on them, I’m going to sell those as is.  The chainsaw box can be stored in the shed as can the concrete mix.  My working chainsaws, I’ll be leaving in the shop since the shop is more secure than my shed.  With that stuff cleared out, I can move my welder into this corner.  I’m going to make this corner into my welding area and it is where all my welding stuff will live.  I’d like to build a rolling welding table that I can wheel out into the driveway when I need to fabricate something from steel.

3 - jointer wall

This wall behind my jointer has become a junk area ever since I put up the shelves and that was made worse by the loss of my outfeed table. All the stuff that was stored in there is now all over the shop so an new outfeed table is on the top of my list of things to build for the shop.

5 - lumber

Now everytime I gave some serious thought to my shop, I always came back to the single biggest issue: lumber.  I had a bit of an epiphany moment recently though.  I have long term lumber storage elsewhere so there really is no reason why I should have any lumber in my shop besides what I’m currently using for a project.  This got me thinking a bit further about the many offcuts I’ve been saving for years.  I didn’t want to throw them away or cut them up into cutting boards so I kept them for the perfect project.  Well when I’m building furniture I like to use boards all from the same tree so I can have great color and grain matching so it’s not like I would ever mix in a short piece from another tree.  So there’s a good chance that I literally will never use these pieces but there are plenty of other woodworkers who would.  So I gave away every offcut that I had in the shop.  The full length boards were moved to my other lumber storage area.

6 - cutting board

Under the extension wing of my table saw is some more stuff I’ve been keeping for apparently no reason.  I have a box of off cuts from cutting board blanks.  I had been saving these thinking I would glue a bunch of them together to get another cutting board or two.  That hasn’t happened so this box is going along with another bin of off cuts I have down here too.

7 - sander card

Under the drum sander I have more shorts that I’ve been saving that I’ll never use.  The drum sander stand is another area that could be better utilized for storage.  A cart with drawers would be much better than the open stand that sander is on right now.

8 - back wall

Along the back wall, I’d like to put a miter saw stand.  The mitersaw is one of my tools with no home.  I usually store it on the floor and have to put it onto my work bench when I want to use it which means it doesn’t get used very often.

9 - hardware

On the ends of my assembly table are some open shevles.  On the workbench side, I keep commonly used things like glue but on the other side, I keep fasteners.  I really don’t use fasteners very often so this space should be being used for something I actually use on a regular basis around the assembly table.

10 - workbench

Under the workbench, I have large bowl blanks.  This space could be much better utilized.  I’m thinking of putting a bank of drawers under the bench.

11 - bowl blanks

Around the lathe I have a lot of walnut, cherry, and maple bowl blanks.  I haven’t gotten around to turning them but I’d like to get a coring system for my lathe to better utilize these blanks.  The maple blanks are from the tree that was once in my inlaws’ front yard and the walnut blanks were from a tree that came down in a tornado not far from my house on the day I closed on the house.

12 - leaving lumber

Here’s all the lumber that was given away to a good home.

13 - after

And a bit of an after shot.  The shop feel so much more open now that there isn’t any lumber laying around.  The only lumber on the rack is for the project I’m working on and for a couple of small upcoming projects.  The shop still has a long way to go but seeing the results of this first step is incredibly motivating and the whole organization process feels much less daunting now.

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Walnut Dressing Vanity Build

To start things off, I’ll make the panel which will become the sides and top. While that’s sitting in the clamps, I’ll prep the material

3 Responses

  1. for your hardware look at the stanley storage boxes from homedepot. they look like a drill case but have a clear lid and little removable bins inside. adam savage of mythbusters and tested.com uses a similar product.

  2. Where are you going to sell your project chainsaws? I have been looking into buying a project saw for a chainsaw mill for this summer.

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