In Shop Blog

We may receive a commission when you use our affiliate links. However, this does not impact our recommendations.


The (new) garage door end of the shop, with the dust collection and stationary machinery.

The shop at Popular Woodworking has been a bit of an embarrassment for the, oh, last year or so. We’ve made a desultory effort now and again to whip things into shape, but ever since our garage door was moved to the far end of the shop (as far away from as possible and around two corners and a fence from the dumpster and recycling bin*), we’ve been less apt to take out the empty boxes and full trash cans, and more apt to simply shift them around. And we had a lot of empty boxes.

The "loaner" bench (available for anyone on staff to use).

The “loaner” bench (available for anyone on staff to use).

But last Thursday, David Thiel, Mike Wallace and Dan Pessell took a few hours to actually break down all the boxes and take them to the recycling bin. Then, they cleaned out and organized our small storage room and shifted little-used tools and machines out of the shop and into storage. And they swept. Glory be!

The lumber rack and "video corner" (behind which you can see the top of the old garage door...I miss it so).

The “video corner” and lumber rack…and the top of the old garage door (I miss it so).

I was in a meeting during a lot of this, but I joined in to return all the drill bits to their proper home, match up drills with their batteries and chargers and cull the pile of jigs from old projects. Still, David, Mike and Dan did the bulk of the work, so as expiation for my guilt, next week I’m going to make racks for the pipe clamps and empty the trash cans. Plus I’m on a mission to ensure that all tools and their accessories are matched and stored together (cue the jokes…but know that I rarely match and have few accessories).

I also have to clean up my area; it is now the messiest in the shop. (In my defense, though, I’m in the midst of several personal projects plus a build for the magazine.)

Yes, yes. I'm a slob. And I need to build a larger floor chest or some hanging storage.

Yes, yes. I’m a slob. And I need to build a larger floor chest or some hanging storage.

We still need to move at least one more bench in, and rethink where we’re going to put the drill press, mortiser, chop saw, spindle sander and the like. But overall, it’s looking pretty good – and now that one can actually move from one end of the shop to the other now, I’m going to place a lumber order. Then hope I’m in a meeting when it arrives.**

— Megan Fitzpatrick

* It had to be done (though clearly, I’m still grumbly about it). We used to open one garage door behind what is now our video area, then go across a common area and through another garage door to get to the dumpster. But the common area is no longer common, and for some reason our new neighbors (Tesla), don’t want us hauling our trash and sawdust through their space.

** In case it’s not clear, that’s a joke.

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

Recent Posts
Showing 20 comments
  • keithm

    What ever happened to the euro-style table saw that I saw there during the Senco presentation?

  • earthartinc

    New staff… no experience…. =Trash Buddy!
    Apprentice work starts there, and if you can’t clean the shop then you don’t need to learn to use them.

  • Reed Spaulding

    One quick question, Megan.
    Why would you have new hires working at a magazine that needed to be trained in beginning woodworking? It seems that it would be wise to look for new hires that have a background in woodworking skills and teach them the journalism skills they need to express themselves. In this way your new hires could speak intelligently to the woodworking subscribers and get to keep their fingers too.

  • handtoolfool

    I’m curious about who will be using those shop areas? My subscription renewal notice awaits an answer.

  • pmac

    This is going to sound weird, but your ground level shop looks like a basement. The only cozy corner is the messy one with the windows. Viva la mess.

  • BLZeebub

    Congrats on the new digs! Get some nice anti-fatigue mats around your bench, your feet will thank you and so will any tools that roll off. Concrete is heck on our load bearing “parts” and finely honed edges too. New is always exciting.

    You could blog or do a timelapse YouTube of making your space work for you. Might be interesting enough for a feature. Just sayin…

  • GTBurbank

    your bench area looks “comfy” not “slobsville”, and it looks like you were called away mid plane stroke. Sterile is nice for all of ten seconds until someone flicks on a router.

  • robert

    That shop looks empty and sad.

  • toolman71

    I see u like bosh tools. I also like the diamond back chair. Needs a little attn.

Start typing and press Enter to search