Spring Cleaning (6 Months Late) - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Spring Cleaning (6 Months Late)

 In Shop Blog, Woodworking Blogs

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.

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Showing 20 comments
  • keithm

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

    • Megan Fitzpatrick
      Megan Fitzpatrick

      The Hammer (which I love) is next to the dust collector (behind the planer in the photos, where you can’t see it).

  • 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.

    • Megan Fitzpatrick
      Megan Fitzpatrick

      Well…perhaps, but the shop and learning to use the tools/machines is a lagniappe; their full-time jobs are mostly at a computer. I don’t want to turn anyone off to learning the craft by forcing them to do menial labor! And anyway, I firmly believe that whomever makes the mess ought to be the one who cleans it up, and whomever fills up the dust collector should empty it.

  • 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.

    • Megan Fitzpatrick
      Megan Fitzpatrick

      Going forward, we’re presenting more freelance-written articles from top-notch woodworkers on all aspects of the craft, thereby introducing readers to a wider variety of voices, approaches and styles. We won’t be producing much in-house generated content (and as necessary, we’re hiring freelance tech editors). None of the new full-time staff members will be writing for the magazine; their professional skills/job requirements are to work with expert and professional woodworkers to present top-quality articles, books and videos for PW. I’m delighted they want to learn more about woodworking – because of course, a more well-rounded understanding of and experience in the craft will help them do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

  • handtoolfool

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

    • Megan Fitzpatrick
      Megan Fitzpatrick

      Well me, of course. And we’ll be shooting a lot of video in that station in the months to come. I’m teaching our new staff members woodworking basics, and they’ll have access to the shop after safety and machine-use training (for personal use). But in the magazine, you’ll be seeing more articles from well-known woodworkers – we have things upcoming from Jeff Miller, Toshio Odate, Jameel Abraham, Chris Schwarz, Don Williams, Mike Dunbar, Mario Rodriguez, and many more. Plus, we’ve a few “new to us” writers whom I’m not yet ready to reveal – but I feel confident their sterling work will be well-received.

      • Darrell

        Any possibility of doing classes during DVD production as was done in the Chris Schwarz Sawbench DVD?

        • Megan Fitzpatrick
          Megan Fitzpatrick

          Yes; in fact, I’m currently investigating some possibilities.

  • 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.

    • Megan Fitzpatrick
      Megan Fitzpatrick

      Aw thanks – my area is cozy! (Yeah, it’s that pestilential concrete floor and fluorescent lighting.) But hey – the tools and machines are good!

      • jim childress

        Megan, My concrete floor worked me over until I got the rubberized mats from Rockler.
        Check them out.

        • Megan Fitzpatrick
          Megan Fitzpatrick

          I have a horse mat in front of mine…it’s dust colored at the moment,so it blends in with the floor 🙂

  • 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.

    • Megan Fitzpatrick
      Megan Fitzpatrick

      Oh – we’ll get it crowded (and no doubt messy) again, quickly. In other words, normal.

      • robert

        Good. Shops thrive on mess and activity. A friend of mine who works in a professional cabinet shop says if you have time to clean, you are not busy enough.

  • toolman71

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

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