93.5 ft2 shops and simple tools - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 19 Old 06-01-2007, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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93.5 ft2 shops and simple tools

I have wanted to open this can of worms for awhile now, so here it goes in a rambling rant.

Most of these forums have a "show us your shop" and tool talk. I never participate in those discussions because it seems I disagree with everyone on the subject. Beginners come around looking for advice on what tools to buy and the first thing out of everyones mouth is go out and spend $$$. If a guy is wanting to open a production cabinet shop and needs "X" amount out the door every month, he has to be tooled up (and the overhead demands "X" amount to pay for the tools) But beginners are not opening production shops, just hobby shops.

I have a simple shop with your basic tools. I probably have less invested in everything in my shop that most have in a single large tool. It is weird to see the look on some customers faces when they walk into my shop (it's kinda like when the curtain drops on the wizard in the Wizard of Oz) They expect to see a shop set up like when they are watching tv and flip over to Norm Abrams show.

I am not suggesting buy junk tools, but I have seen some people go a little overboard. No problem it's their money. I am also not suggesting we do everything like Roy Underhill, by hand. Who knows maybe I am just jealous of big shiny tools, but no more impressed than a nice piece crafted by a skilled person with lesser tools and more talent. Again I know it's a production thing. Some people don't care about production from their shops, quality is their goal.

I don't think I even made a point with this thread really, maybe someone else can give it a whack. I attached a picture of a piece of furniture (should have dusted it maybe ) that sets in my house. It was a gift from an old customer of mine when I was a contractor. Her house was filled with things her Grandfather made in his little (itty bitty) shop with hand tools. I still look after her place when she heads south for the winter and have the keys to the house and barn where the shop is. This little sewing cabinet was made with a handsaw, planes, chisel, brace and bits and a treadle type lathe. I tried to use the lathe one time, my leg got tired . She has one of the most beautiful buffets I have ever seen that he made too. All the moulding was made with old sash and profile planes etc.

O.K. here is where I get weird. I have been in MANY woodshops full of $1000 this or thats. I like going to that old shop and digging through the tools more. Maybe my point was not what you have, but what you can do with it.
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post #2 of 19 Old 06-01-2007, 12:21 PM
 
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"Maybe my point was not what you have, but what you can do with it"

I agree but that "93.5sq'" comment....was that a dig???

I have a bunch of hand tools a couple of rourers and sanders a 14" bandsaw and a thickness planer....I need a decent drill press but that's it.
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post #3 of 19 Old 06-01-2007, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corndog View Post
I agree but that "93.5sq'" comment....was that a dig???
No Sir, it just seemed like a cool number, so I stole it from your thread where you proved it is not what you have it is what you can do with it.
Give me 9350 ft2 and an unlimited tool budget...I still could not make a bass this year most likely.
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post #4 of 19 Old 06-01-2007, 12:42 PM
 
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Ah!!!See!!! that's where I found the secret!!! Less room= more work!!!
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post #5 of 19 Old 06-01-2007, 01:30 PM
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Hi Daren

I think you made your point very well, actually.

It is easy, if a person has the dough, to go out and buy a lot of big shiny equipment. Having all the goodies doesn't make a good carpenter or cabinet maker, it just means he can make a godawful mess a lot quicker. I am not knocking the people who have all the gear, some of them are turning out some really fine work.

Gerry

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post #6 of 19 Old 06-01-2007, 01:49 PM
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I totally agree with you Daren. I have the tools because I love to buy tools plus I'm more of a production guy than a fine craftsman. I think I do nice work and so far everyone that has seen my work thinks it looks great.

What I'm trying to say is that I want/need the tools to crank my products out. The faster I can make something the more per hour my wage goes up. I bid my work by the peice.

Do one thing at a time, do it well, then move on.
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post #7 of 19 Old 06-01-2007, 02:03 PM
 
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I have the luxury[curse] to build guitars at home at my own pace. If I was doing kitchens or any kind of production work I'd be screwed.
I LOVE tools as well but I quite frankly don't have any use for a t/s or a jointer for that matter. I might still get a jointer if I can find a good small one but I really don't NEED one.

What I do need,however,is lumber....I'm runnin' out!!!!
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post #8 of 19 Old 06-01-2007, 02:46 PM
 
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Another thing I don't get is benches that are soooooo nice you would hate to work on 'em in case you'd scuff it up!!!
Mines an old solid-core door with a cheap Record face vice. Had it fer years now.
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post #9 of 19 Old 06-02-2007, 10:17 AM
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I run a business full time, and then part time I do custom woodworking and light remodeling construction.
I love nice tools. Love them. Sawstop, festool etc. I get to play with quality tools, enjoying just the use of the tools is great, then I get to make stuff out of wood that is a form of therapy for me. Doubly great,, and then I get paid by a happy customer for my efforts.
I must admit that when I use hand tools like a chisel or hand plane etc, I feel a little bit more worthy of being called a craftsman.
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post #10 of 19 Old 06-02-2007, 11:21 AM
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By The way Daren, I forgot to add, that judging by the picture of the sewing cabinet, the man was a true craftsman, and I think we all appreciate craftsmanship when we see it, no matter how it was made.
One of the things I am finding so neat about this forum is the diversity of the people who are participating.

PS: I too am something of a tool freak. I just love neat tools, but even more, I like working with them.

PS: to Corndog: What type of wood are you running out of? Is it anything coastal, or are you working with more exotic stuff????

Gerry

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post #11 of 19 Old 06-02-2007, 12:25 PM
 
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Maple alder mahogony ash rosewood bubinga koa ebony purpleheart cocobolo sapele ....I am going to get a load of wood today. A good friends father passed away and his mother wants the wood "gone" so I'm trading some yard work for it.
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post #12 of 19 Old 06-02-2007, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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I should have taken a better picture of the little cabinet, the dovetails on the drawers are killer. It is made from Spanish cedar he got someplace (probably a packing crate) I was in a rush...the wife was leaving on business, and taking the "good" camera. That is just a little thing the lady was willing to give away when I complimented it, you would have too see the buffet, dining table, pie safe....he made by hand to really get the picture as it relates to his shop.

I am no master craftsman, just a guy who likes to play with wood, some may even say a hack . I dragged a couple pictures out of my gallery here to illustrate my point about not needing "Norms shop" to get some work done. The only tools I used to build the patio set, bench and desk set were. A cheap table saw ($150) a bandsaw ($80) a drill ($30) a couple drill bits, a belt sander ($40) and random orbit sander ($30), and the most expensive tool a $200 Dewalt 12" thickness planer. Unless I forgot something that is about $500 worth of tools and my shop is in my garage.

They were all custom orders and the cheapest thing pictured (the bench) sold for more than the tools mentioned cost. My wood is "free" with the sawmill.

Not to knock Norm, I know he is a hero to so many, but. A shop full of tools and it is mostly plywood and air nails being used. Sorry that just bugs me. I guess if a guy is making cabinets "cabinet grade" plywood is the right thing. But it drives me up a wall to see plywood in furniture construction (I know, plywood is stronger than real wood blah,blah) If you want "walnut colored wood" quit staining poplar to look like walnut...use walnut. I know it is not practical in some cases, it is just a pet peeve of mine. If you look at the drawer bottom of the desk below, no plywood there. Even the bottom was spalted curly maple.

I am just different. I could probably not make a living woodworking. I got into to it for an unusual reason. (here I go off the deep end again )I am a "tree hugger", yep that is right. I have a sawmill...but have never cut down a living tree. Not that I frown on anyone that does cut them down, I just plant them. I got into woodworking/sawmilling because I saw the waste around me here in hardwood country. I used to be a plumbing contractor and did new construction. I would show up on a job and there would be 50 trees (walnut/cherry/maple/oak...) pushed in a pile on the site and set afire. Then a few months later the homeowner would spend $10,000 on finish trim/hardwood floors not to mention the casework and furniture...and they burned 3X as much wood in that pile as they ever would have needed. The whole thing made my stomach hurt. So I bought a mill and try not to let that wood go to waste.

I got off on a tangent. My shop is small, my tools are cheap. Back to the point for anyone looking to start woodworking buy what you can reasonably afford. I don't care what anyone tells you, better tools don't make you a better woodworker just because you have them.

I guess I should mention I have never looked at a set of plans either. I design everything I build (nobody knows if you screwed up if there is not a plan ) A customer comes around and says "I want a whatever" and I throw a couple ideas at them, take a deposit and call them when it is done.
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Last edited by Daren; 06-02-2007 at 02:06 PM.
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post #13 of 19 Old 06-03-2007, 01:21 AM
 
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Got a jointer....
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post #14 of 19 Old 06-03-2007, 11:38 AM
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I agree with Darren as well. In my shop most of my tools are not high end that way I can get more and be able to do some nice pieces, okay I have to fiddle and fart with them sometimes and have a some fustrations sometimes but in the most part everthing goes rather smoothly but I do not do furniture building as a career. I do home Improvement and sometimes I will do some modest pieces for clients that I have known for years but in the most part Its for myself and is a learning curve. I figure if you can learn with modest tools think of what you will be able to do later when you get better tools ( one tool at a time).My shop is 20x20 and cabinets and storage units are made up of recycled materials left over from previous jobs and some simple Laminated pine shelving( okay a bit of new stuff from time to time). I just can't see myself building oak or maple cabinets and storage units knowing very well they will most likely get damaged.
I do like veiwing some of the nice shops on line and think maybe some day but if not that's okay to, just being in the shop no mater what the situation is is a good thing and we do what WE DO is up to us..
Just thought I would throw in my two cents worth .
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post #15 of 19 Old 06-03-2007, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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I don't want to sound hypocritical, but I guess I do have money invested in my "woodworking" that some don't. Since I make my own lumber I have overhead that most would not. I may have a cheap table saw...but I have a skidsteer. I may have a cheap scroll saw...but I have a sawmill. Not too many woodworkers need a $1200 chainsaw in the shop. My "wood working shop" is a single car garage...but my "wood storage shed" is 40'x40' (and it is full and I have wood other places ).
That is where I usually have disagreement with other woodworkers, I don't feel a $1200 table saw or a $2000 lathe...is necessary. But that is just me, I have my priorities (and money) set a little different.
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post #16 of 19 Old 06-03-2007, 02:28 PM
 
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You my friend, are my new hero!!!!!
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post #17 of 19 Old 06-03-2007, 07:53 PM
 
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Just got my wife a scroll saw.
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post #18 of 19 Old 06-26-2007, 04:10 PM
 
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I see your point, but not only do I like building things with wood. I like tools. I do not have any huge tools, my largest is a PM66, but I would not hesitate to buy a 20 planer over a 13 inch when I have to replace my old 12 1/2 Delta because I like tools, plan and simple and I like building things and not hand planing or sanding. But this is just my perference.
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post #19 of 19 Old 06-26-2007, 11:31 PM
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Hey, building things is the fun part. Some people just like to have a lot of nice tools. That's fun too. As long as everyone is getting a kick out of what they are doing isn't that all that really matters? I like tools too. I also like building things. I think Daren's original point is very valid. You don't have to have a lot of high end tools to build nice stuff, and have a ball doing it. I know people who will spend a small fortune to acquire a classic wood plane. They could never justify the cost, when weighed against what they are building, but that isn't the point to them. They just love tools. Not my cup of tea, or bottle of beer, but whatever works. As long as everybody is having a little enjoyment out of whatever they are doing, that's the point. I think it's cool that we all get to expres our opinions, and exchange ideas on this forum.

Have a fun day everybody no matter what part of woodworking gives it to you.

gerry
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