My New Years Resolution, or Manifesto or Whatever – Better Shop Organization, and Better Dust Collection

 In Tool Reviews

My garage is my sanctuary, there are many garages like it but this one is mine.  It shall fit me and my workflow like a tailored suit. Not only will it facilitate my work, but it will make it better.  There will be a dedicated and artfully designed place for everything, and everything will be in its place. The aesthetics of my shop will give me confidence and inspire me.  There will be plenty of room for activities to fulfill my obsession with building whatever nonsense is on my mind…

– Me

I don’t want dust to be an issue, perhaps there will be a need to sweep from time to time, but every tool will have a dust collection strategy.  There is no need to make an undue mess and cause yourself more work between completing one project and starting another. By the end of 2019, there won’t be an angle in the shop, that doesn’t look and feel intentional…Or something like that.

This post is part of a paid partnership with the Home Depot

My commitment to myself in 2019

It is not just about making good work for myself and my clients, along with shooting videos, photos, and blog posts around my shop. In my projects, and my shop life; it is important for me to be intentional about my space.  Not only will it be better to use, but I think in making it exactly what I want it to be in an intentional manner, it will make it a more interesting and inspiring space for all of the folks to look at.

Last year, inspired by Adam Savage, I tried to convert my shop into a 1st order retrievability space.  For a maker or tinkerer like Adam or many of the prop departments or machinists around the world this is a great approach.  For me, in a garage, working with wood, this just led to a stressful visual mess. In 2019, I am a convert to drawers (no guarantee I am staying here, but trying it out.)

shop drawer organization
My smoothing plane, glue up, and marking drawer

Enter the Husky 46” toolbox

I am getting started with a new approach to tool storage for me with a mechanics tool box from Husky.  This 46” x 24.5” toolbox with a wood top is perfect for a woodworker The box has a nice flat top to use for assembly, or outfeed, or just to work on sketching future designs.  The drawers are full extension on ball bearing slides with a soft close, which means you can put your tools close together without them slamming into each other when you close the drawers.  I am pretty sure I am going to be one of the few people who buy the Husky 46″ workbench with dedicated drawers for smoothing planes, jack planes, and japanese pull saws, but it really works for me.

jack plane drawer
An organized shop is so nice to have, this where I keep all of my Jack Planes from my Jack planes through history shootout.

I wish the wheel locks were a little more stable, I would attach a vise to this thing and do some hand tool woodworking on top of this thing.  Counter intuitively, keeping my hand tools a little further away from my workbench should help inspire me to put stuff away more often. It is stable enough to do a little sharpening on though, so I have my chisels and stones stored away safely in a drawer.

I think me and this drawer thing are going to get along just swimmingly.

A Job Box that is Also Workshop Overflow

A job box is a key part to keeping your tools safe and your customer happy when you are on-site.  I don’t do a whole lot of that anymore, but I did have to take a whole bunch of tools over to my work site remodeling the bathroom at my mother in laws place.  The Husky 37” job box is a great deal and super versatile at $50 as a job box. It is secure, weather proof and mobile with wheels and a pull behind handle. But it is also great to give myself some extra space by getting those 4th degree less-oft-used tools out of the shop when I don’t need them, but still safe and out of the elements.  I use this job box to store my demo tools, belt sander, and less polished woodworking tools. This way they are there when I need them, but they don’t have to take up valuable space in my shop.

And now, dust collection

Moving forward in 2019, if you follow me here, on youtube, or well anywhere you are going to see a few consistent themes to my content this year.  I am going to be building better shop furniture and storage. This year you will see a new proper workbench, an over the top clamp rack, and (hopefully) a new miter saw station.

I am also going to be building dedicated spaces, and out of the way dust collection for my whole shop.  After every project, I have to tear this place limb from limb sweeping, vacuuming, and blowing. My air filtration is constantly packed with sawdust.

A shop vacuum doesn’t have a huge footprint, and it is usually a good idea to have a couple in the shop.  Currently in my shop, I have a Festool CT36 lives under my table saw, a 16 gallon Ridgid SNR vac live under a dusttopper bucket, and a 16 gallon Ridgid NXT vacuum with blower plays utility duty  But, if you could only have one, it would have to be the Ridgid NXT vacuum. For a garage shop a vacuum is critical, but during a show deep cleaning a blower is a must. A corded electric blower isn’t terribly versatile but, for just cleaning out those last couple nooks and cranny’s in a garage workshop the blower attachment on this vacuum works PERFECTLY.  Sometimes you just don’t want to move every single tool in your shop.

ridgid nxt blower 16 gallon
Having a blower in the shop is critical, unless you feel like moving all your furniture every time.

Anyways, these are my new years resolutions in the shop to myself, my shop, and you folks.

What are yours?

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Keep your tools sharp, and your mind sharper



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  • […] are going to change. Before we were even thinking of moving, I made workshop organization my New Year’s Resolution. I have partnered with Home Depot to make this space a marvel of organization and tidiness and KEEP […]

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