In Interviews

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I have read with envy about spacious shops with room for many dedicated stationary tools. But alas, my shop is confined to a 200 sq. ft. corner of my basement. After tinkering with layout plans, I finally concluded that the “dream” cabinet saw I wanted to buy wouldn’t fit in my pint-sized shop. I didn’t want to buy a smaller saw, so I began to consider less conventional solutions.

While exploring online forums, I stumbled upon a group of woodworkers who were passionate about using the EZ Smart system from Eurekazone, a guide system designed for precision cutting and routing. The system’s guide rail mounts on extrusions fastened to the table edges. Once you align the guide rail at 90 degrees and calibrate the measuring scale, you’re ready to cut. Any circular saw can be adapted for use by installing the guide rail’s dedicated base plate. Another specialized base plate kit allows adapting virtually any router.

This system intrigued me because it offered flexibility, a virtue I’ve appreciated for many years as a ShopSmith owner. One shop fixture I really wanted was a large, flat work surface and assembly table. Could I combine the EZ Smart system with an assembly table in lieu of a cabinet saw?

You can see the answer. My 50 in. by 72 in. torsion box-style assembly table is dead flat. In addition to the EZ Smart system, it has a replaceable melamine work surface, flush-mounted aluminum channels for clamping, onboard electrical outlets and tool storage in the base.

So in my small space, I have an assembly table/guided saw and router system, a jointer, a planer, a router table, a sliding compound miter saw, a shop vacuum, an air compressor, my trusty 6-in-1 ShopSmith (bandsaw, jointer, drill press, lathe, tablesaw and disc sander) and something I really treasure, my dad’s sturdy workbench, circa 1935. Of course, I still dream of having a big shop with stationary tools—and my EZ Smart guide system.  In the meantime, I love my unconventional little shop. Working efficiently takes a little planning, but capitalizing on the flexibility of my multi-function tools is part of the fun. –Ed Brady

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