Our New Shop – Take a Look! - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Our New Shop – Take a Look!

 In Shop Blog, Woodworking Blogs

Last Friday afternoon we moved tons of stuff (literally) to our new shop and managed to get most of the big stuff set in place by the end of the day. The photo here will show you how things are shaping up and you can click on the photo to enlarge it for a better look.

While we still have Megan’s and Bob’s benches to move, as well as some storage cabinets, I think the new shop feels more roomy than our prior shop space. The new place’s rectangular footprint just lends itself to a more efficient floor plan. The old shop was L-shaped and had an odd angled wall. The new place feels a lot bigger than the additional 100 square feet we picked up. It’s about 1,500 square feet total and twice as long as it is wide.

Thankfully, we had the help of a moving crew so getting the 12″ jointer, 20″ planer and Powermatic 66 table saw up on dollies wasn’t a back breaker. The movers also supplied lots of stacking boxes and other rolling carts that we filled last week before the actual move day. All and all, it hasn’t seemed like too much trouble . . . yet.

There’s more to be done to decommission the old shop. And at the new place most of the boxes still need to be unpacked and the contents put away. Our lumber rack needs to be securely mounted to the wall, and I’m sure there will be lots of new stuff we’ll want to build to make our new home even more livable.

The old shop looks a bit forlorn in the aftermath of the move. And as you can see there’s still more to disassemble and move. At this stage the old place almost seems smaller now that it’s mostly empty compared to when it was fully occupied. Maybe that’s because there are still so many fond memories of projects built and good times spent there with the magazine crew sharing our passion for woodworking.

– Steve Shanesy

If you want to learn more about setting up a woodworking shop or improve the shop you already have check out the book “The Complete Woodshop Guide– How to Plan, Build, Equip and Improve Your Workspace,” from the editors of Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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Showing 30 comments
  • Gpops

    Wow, what a large dance floor. Looks like a few assembly, infeed and outfeed tables are in order. Makes my little 10’x15′ basement closet look even more crowded. I am jealous!

  • big-joe

    Some pole have all the luck my shop is is under the carport that’s 14’x10′ I have a shed big enough to store my tools but not work in. And in he summer I pull the tools that I need out at day break and but them back before 2pm because The rain starts at 2pm.

  • big-joe

    Some pole have all the luck my shop is is under the carport that’s 14’x10′ I have a shed big enough to store my tools but not work in. And in he summer I pull the tools that I need and but them back before 2pm because The rain starts at 2pm.

  • amvolk

    Hey, when you are done with this you should put up one of those windows that allows the viewer to swing through the shop on a 360 degree view / tour. Love to see it when it is all done. (I need some good ideas.)

    Also, it would also be neat if you could blog on the rational for the placement of each tool and workstation. Thanks!

    • Steve Shanesy
      Steve Shanesy

      I’d be happy to post on the rationale for the shop layout, its a good idea and thanks. I’ve set up a number of shops, large and small, commercial and personal. Look for it.

    • FiatBen

      Even better, put a live streaming webcam up and let us control which way it’s pointing. It would be great to watch projects come together.

  • CarlosJD

    1500 sq ft . . . WOW. I’d sell body parts for 800 sq ft. My shop is just 400 sq ft and it’s OK. Good luck with your new shop. Hope everyone has a banner year in 2012.

    • Steve Shanesy
      Steve Shanesy

      My basement shop at home was 400 sq. feet and did a lot of work there over the years. Yes, it is challenging, but everything is near at hand.

  • covingtonw

    A quick search shows that horse people have been wondering about this too. Their consensus seems to be using a box cutter with a 2×4 underneath, and changing blades frequently. Although there is somebody who uses a CNC water-jet profiling machine… have one of those in your new shop?

  • 8iowa


    With all this great space you could now add a Power Pro Shopsmith for all your Shopsmith readers.

  • Danny H.

    I thought you all were going to mostly hand tools, or was that Chris Schwarz direction ? Was the decision to use more power tools a direction made by the new managers since Chris left or was this the reason he stepped down ? Either way congrats on your new shop! I have as many tools in about a third the space you have, so mats don’t work to well for me since I’m often rolling tools and benches around for room to work. All tools are on wheels except the sliding panel saw I bought to replace the exact same set up you have with your Powermatic 66/ Jessem slide. The 66 has now been moved to the garage( with the wife’s permission) and relegated to mostly dado work. Happy woodworking!

    • Megan Fitzpatrick
      Megan Fitzpatrick

      Danny, I really don’t think you’ll see a great difference in the types of projects and techniques we present in the magazine — those power tools have _always_ been in our shop — it’s just that Chris is more prolific in blogging than most…so what you see most of on the web site is his hand-tool stuff. And you’ll continue to see that on the site and in the magazine! Plus more from the rest of us (and thanks to Chris’s dastardly influence, I have a goodly collection of hand tools, too…I expect they’ll be showing up more in the future!)

      • Danny H.

        Thanks for your reply Megan. I do like your emphasis on hand tools as it seems in my retirement that I’m slowly graduating toward more hand work, although I wouldn’t want to give up my power tools any time soon. I did manage to subscribe to your magazine this year so if you keep a good balance of projects for both I just may stick around another year. I also wish my wife was into woodworking as I am. That would sure make for more frequent shop time. Happy Holidays !

  • GunnyGene

    I hate you guys! Here I am working out of a 12’x20′ environmentally disadvantaged shed, and y’all are bragging about a shop nearly as big as my house. For shame. 😉

    But I bet I’ve got more hardwood trees than y’all. 🙂

  • Steve D

    At my work, we at times remove old rubber gym floors. We use recipes saw with very course blade for the heavy and crude demolition cuts. When cutting down big pieces to small, we use electric carving knives.

  • John Verreault

    Very, very nice. I would almost kill for a third of that amount of room. Looking forward to seeing some great projects come from that space. Good luck and Merry Christmas (what a present to yourselves!!). ;^)



  • lucimurs

    Would be better at 1.618 times as long as it is wide . . .

    • Steve Shanesy
      Steve Shanesy

      If you saw the building you’d know the builder (there couldn’t have been an architect) had no idea of Phi, unless it was apple or cherry. But I’ll take what we have. Compared to past digs, this one feels like home made strawberry with fresh whipped cream.

  • Ben Lowery

    Looks like a nice space! What are your thoughts on the shop floor? Are you going to leave it plain concrete or floor it in something?

    • Steve Shanesy
      Steve Shanesy

      Hi, Ben,
      There have been a few questions about the floor from comments on prior posts. Yeah, concrete it is. We’ll place mats around benches since that’s where the standing gets done and where edge tools get dropped. But you know, this is a magazine shop and not a commercial operation. It would be unusual for any of us to spend more than a few hours a day in the shop. It’s the nature of the work. I’m trying to decide how to cut the horse mats that were bought awhile back so we can use those around benches. As is, I’ve hated them ever since the came in the shop. Too big, something like four or five feet square. Every time you needed to move something on wheels the darn things were in the way. I’m wondering how to split them in two. Ideas?? My first thought is a circ saw and rip blade moving pretty quick. My fear is most any blade in any kind of saw will quickly overheat in the dense rubber mat and totally screw up the blade, not to mention smell bad.

      • andrae

        “I love the smell of burning rubber in the morning”

        Maybe a reciprocating saw… narrow blade less likely to bind and build up friction?

      • robert

        Some industry must have a way to slit rubber on a regular – take a look at how they do it. Google: “how to slit rubber material.”

        Alternatively, ditch the horse mats and purchase some modular rubber flooring, such as seen in gyms – http://www.commercialmatsandrubber.com/

        Or even better, build something like a wooden dance floor at each work station. Should be pretty simple to do. A commercial example: http://www.eventdeck.com/dancedeck.shtml

        Anyhow, looks like a great new space.

      • Mitch Wilson

        Here’s how I did it, Steve. A circular saw with an old plywood blade that has seen better days. And a new, large can of WD-40. Place the mats on 2″ sheets of styrofoam insulation on the floor. Use copious amounts of the WD-40. Open the windows and turn on the fans, because you still get lots of smoking. Periodically, stop and clean out the rubber crud that builds up inside the saw guard. It’s not pretty, but it works. Good luck and enjoy the new digs.

        • Steve Shanesy
          Steve Shanesy

          Hmmm, smoldering rubber and WD40. Sounds like quite a cocktail. I suppose the trick is to cut without generating much heat? I think the circ saw runs too fast. Or, use a hose and run a water bath while cutting. Or, wonder how a jig saw with course blade, aggressive cut angle and relatively slow blade speed woiuld work? And now that is cold here, keep them outside overnight and bring them in just before the surgery commences.

      • Joe "the Pro" Sainz

        There’s a tool made specifically for this type of operation, but it isn’t cheap: http://www.boschtools.com/Products/Tools/Pages/BoschProductDetail.aspx?pid=1575A

        For a smaller amount of mats like this I’d grab a jigsaw, and try a couple of different blades. Especially one like the T313AW (serrated knife edge) for a clean cut, or a metal cutting blade.

        Also think about using the oscillating tool. With that you could almost scribe it to the machines and tables as needed.

        I don’t think I’d try the circular saw. As you said, too many RPMs. Also for extra points, you could try a crosscut handsaw, 6 or 8 TPI 😉

        • zephyrblevins

          Just thinkin’ out loud here, but how about a matting knife … for cutting mats. $3.59 at big box. Fits in the anarchists tool chest nicely, too.

          Congrats on the new shop! We’re all jealous as heck. Happy holidays! Here’s to many great new projects in the new shop.

        • Don

          OR – – –
          How about leaving them outside until they’re really stiff and just break them up into smaller pieces?


          • Don

            And, by the bye, the shop is too big.

            At my age, I don’t like to take more steps than necessary!


            • Steve Shanesy
              Steve Shanesy

              Yeah, Don, this place is too big. We’ve been trying to decide if we need golf carts to get around the shop or maybe just Segways! We have too many clamps, too.

              • Gordon

                There is no such thing as too many clamps. But you are teasing, aren’t you. And you are sharing this with a few other people, so it can get crowded very quickly. Enjoy the space while you can.

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