Limited work space, what to do? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 03-12-2018, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Limited work space, what to do?

For the past couple of years and my limited projects I've been working on my (small) porch and the rocky driveway. Well now I'm getting serious about my projects and now have the best piece any woodworker could really have, the infamous table saw.

Right now my options here are limited. This thing is not very portable (too heavy) without wheels and I dont have a space that I can really set up for a shop, nor am I in a position to move to a place that does. Any rental options are outside of my price range if I intend to actually be able to buy stuff such as materials and the occasional tool. A house with garage in my are is insane unless I were to get one or more roommates.

So, without talking to my current landlord, my options as I see it.

1. Build a 4-5 foot extension for the porch. Right now the porch is big enough for about 2 steps and thats it. Need to talk to my neighbors as well because they like to park in front of it, though I doubt they have an issue. This would allow me to wheel my table saw outside when they are home.

2. Build a ramp for the table saw and SOMEHOW get it off and then back on to the porch and into the apartment allowing me to work in the driveway, though making it even would be night impossible and I like this option the least as its a gravel driveway. Not bad an occasional project but not suited for anything but the biggest of wheels.

3. Get a shop vac, modify a couple of buckets for a cyclone and keep the TS in my biggest room, the "living room". Downside? I doubt I could get away with much cutting for most of the day except on some weekends and maybe friday . Right now I'm on good terms with my land lord and I dont want to have constant noise complaints.
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post #2 of 14 Old 03-12-2018, 05:55 PM
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There are several portable tablesaws available. These saws are designed for contractors who take the saws to the job-site. These saws are lighter in weight and have wheels. Several models will fold down for storage.
If your saw is too hard to move back and forth you won’t use it.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #3 of 14 Old 03-12-2018, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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I already have the table saw and I want to avoid a jobsite saw. Getting it out the door isnt the issue, the issue I have a matter of space.

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post #4 of 14 Old 03-12-2018, 07:16 PM
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When I was in the Air Force, we had numerous hobby shops on base and one of them was a woodworking shop that would have made Norm Abrams drool. It's too bad we can't have a civilian version where folks with literally no space can go and rent time to make things. When we lived in an apartment in our early marriage, I used to go down to the storage lockers in the basement and do small projects in our locker with hand tools. Had to do the finishing outside though.
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post #5 of 14 Old 03-12-2018, 09:29 PM
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Unfortunately no one can really help you much. We feel your pain as most of us (I speak only for myself) started out with little or nothing. I didn't graduate to a radial arm saw for many years. I kept an old jigsaw, square sheet sander and a beat up router in a tool box, and put up a small party tent in front of my trailer when I had a project. And I was forced to keep project sizes down simply because I had nowhere but outside to work.

But I always wished- and worked- toward a bigger and better shop. My next place had an old garage that was almost falling down. I shored it up, made it dry and hung a couple of porcelain fixtures in the rafters. I thought I was in heaven! I was in my late twenties before I finally managed to build a nice size cabinet (in that old dark hole in the wall).

Fast forward to today. My playroom is a 32 x 75 foot building now. It's so long that if I forget a tool at one end, I have to take a coffee break half way back to get the thing. I get plenty of exercise but I get plenty tired too. Sometimes I think back to the smaller places I've had and, well, they don't look so bad now... especially at my age and stamina level.

Point is that you will come up with something creative for now, all the while looking for a better venue. You will find that place. It may take patience, and you actually may have to curb your big project aspirations until a future time. But if this is really going to be your hobby, you'll simply make do now and make better as soon as you can.

Cheers,

Another $000,000,000.02 worth of advice,
Mark
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post #6 of 14 Old 03-13-2018, 02:01 AM
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When I was restricted on space, I bought some flooring plywood and built an outside box. It was 8 feet long, almost 4 feet deep and about 4 feet tall. The entire front (the high side of the roof) had 2x4s screwed to it and folded down to create a 4x8 platform to work on. I housed my table saw and most of my tools in this box. Just roll the saw out and plug it in. Make sure to raise the box so the plywood isn't sitting directly on the ground. Can be done with 2x4s or pallets. Maybe something like this is an option?

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post #7 of 14 Old 03-13-2018, 04:59 AM
where's my table saw?
 
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My first shop was 8 ft X 10 ft, a bedroom

When I was a teen, mom and I lived in a 2nd floor flat where my bedroom was 8 ft X 10 ft. I made an elevated platform to sleep on over the table saw, drill press and sander. I had a shop vac for the dust. I used a Skil saw outside on the porch to cut down larger panels to work them on the table saw. I just didn't know anything different as we lived in an apartment until I got married and went off to college. Then we rented a house with a basement, had a German Shepard puppy and a garage with no door.

For your situation, can you park an enclosed trailer nearby and run a power cord to your apartment. Does it have a 220 V outlet for a clothes dryer nearby? A trailer with a lockable ramp door which could be made level by putting blocks under it would make more space than inside it if you needed it.

A storage container like a POD, would work, but they may be expensive. Could you make a "dummy" one that looks real, but it's home made?

Your living room may be the best solution for now. Dust and noise is always a problem, no matter where your shop is. Neighbors add complications. Sound proofing is expensive. If you share common walls, it's even worse, so an outside space would be better. A running tablesaw is quite, it's when you are cutting that it makes noise. There are blades that are more quiet when cutting. A Skil saw makes the most noise! A track saw may be good for your situation. Battery powered saws, are now quite powerful and don't make too much noise, especially a jig saw.

We feel your pain....

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #8 of 14 Old 03-13-2018, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Frye View Post
When I was in the Air Force, we had numerous hobby shops on base and one of them was a woodworking shop that would have made Norm Abrams drool. It's too bad we can't have a civilian version where folks with literally no space can go and rent time to make things. When we lived in an apartment in our early marriage, I used to go down to the storage lockers in the basement and do small projects in our locker with hand tools. Had to do the finishing outside though.
I live in Southern California and look for tools on Craigslist from time to time. In the Craigslist ads for tools, I also see ads for a well-equipped workshop with all the tools. You join as a member and pay a monthly fee, then you get to use the tools. To me, they seem expensive, but I think the target market is young urban professionals. The one thing I like about them is that they seem to be very well equipped with all the latest tools.

http://urbanworkshop.net

Personally, I would rather pay the money for a tool and have it to use again in the future. It wouldn't take many Urban Workshop monthly fees to buy a lot of tools. They solve two problems: they have every tool you might want, and they have space for tool storage and doing the actual work. Besides, the Urban Workshop is not that convenient to where I live, perhaps a 20 minute drive in light traffic, but easily an hour or longer at busy times. (I hate to think about it, but it probably takes me that long to pull out or clean up and put away my tools. I store them in the garage, but pull them out to the back patio to work.)

I am also aware of "Maker Spaces", which are similar, but different. They seem to be more for people interested in designing, building, and programming their own gadgets. Maker spaces have 3D printers, computerized machining, computers, etc., but not as much woodworking equipment. There is a strong sense of community with them, too, helping each other debug problems, for example.

Last edited by Tool Agnostic; 03-13-2018 at 07:52 AM.
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post #9 of 14 Old 03-13-2018, 08:18 AM
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I am afraid you might get in trouble doing woodwork in an apartment. A neighbor that says it's okay might move next week and the next neighbor may not like it at all. Then there is the landlord, if they don't like it you may be asked to move.

Here is what I would suggest. I would buy a scroll saw and learn to use it. There is all kind of things that you can make with a scroll saw. Here are just a few. Many different kinds of boxes, bowls, puzzles, jewelry, clocks, and toys, just to name a few. That way you keep out of trouble. I know several people that take their scroll saw projects to craft fairs and make extra money.

Don in Murfreesboro, TN.
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post #10 of 14 Old 03-13-2018, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by hawkeye10 View Post
I am afraid you might get in trouble doing woodwork in an apartment. A neighbor that says it's okay might move next week and the next neighbor may not like it at all. Then there is the landlord, if they don't like it you may be asked to move.

Here is what I would suggest. I would buy a scroll saw and learn to use it. There is all kind of things that you can make with a scroll saw. Here are just a few. Many different kinds of boxes, bowls, puzzles, jewelry, clocks, and toys, just to name a few. That way you keep out of trouble. I know several people that take their scroll saw projects to craft fairs and make extra money.
Very good advice. You DO NOT want to be using tools like a table saw in an apartment unless it is the only occupied unit in the building. No good landlord would allow it. And, hopefully you want to be a good neighbor.

If you feel you just have to work with large, noisy tools, then you need to find another place to live or a separate place to do your hobby.

George
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post #11 of 14 Old 03-13-2018, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Sovek View Post
For the past couple of years and my limited projects I've been working on my (small) porch and the rocky driveway. Well now I'm getting serious about my projects and now have the best piece any woodworker could really have, the infamous table saw.

Right now my options here are limited. This thing is not very portable (too heavy) without wheels and I dont have a space that I can really set up for a shop, nor am I in a position to move to a place that does. [...]

So, without talking to my current landlord, my options as I see it.

1. Build a 4-5 foot extension for the porch. [...]

2. Build a ramp for the table saw and SOMEHOW get it off and then back on to the porch [...]

3. [...] keep the TS in my biggest room, the "living room". [...]
(First - My apologies to the forum regarding my first post above: I saw @Jim Frye's post about a large, shared woodworking space and responded to it, but I didn't focus on the problem presented in the original post. I knew that renting space is not an option for Sovek.)

Which table saw do you have? It might help to know how big and heavy it is.

Even better: Post photos of the table saw and the porch.

Without additional information, I vote for solution #1.
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post #12 of 14 Old 03-13-2018, 02:43 PM
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Hi Sovek, I can easily identify with your troubles... My first "table saw" was a beaten up radial saw attached from below to a 3/4'' sheet of plywood found by me in a trash-pile and mounted on two pieces of home-made "furniture"; a fence for it was a plank nailed down to the plywood by two nails (to be re-nailed each time...) As they say back in my old country, you've got to be creative if you have nothing to cover your ass...:-)

Another thing is doing your woodworking in your apartment -- it may bring up very, very unexpected consequences... :-) :-) (see the file attached -- hopefully not too long for your taste...)
Cheers, Al
Attached Files
File Type: pdf NALPAK.night.drill.mrch2018.pdf (85.1 KB, 40 views)

Last edited by AlWood; 03-13-2018 at 04:39 PM.
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post #13 of 14 Old 03-14-2018, 09:32 AM
where's my table saw?
 
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Great autobiography Al....

So, do you still have the ax and 2 spare handles? Can you shake sawdust out of you ears at the staff meetings?

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #14 of 14 Old 03-14-2018, 09:14 PM
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So, do you still have the ax and 2 spare handles? Can you shake sawdust out of you ears at the staff meetings?
Bill, thanks! So you figured it out it was an autobiography... Easy, I guess Yes, I still have that ax, and only one spare handle left, sigh. And yes, the sawdust is still getting into my ears, but no, I don't go to faculty meetings anymore, thanks god... Got retired 1.5 years ago; but am still working like hell on my research... The story was written about 20 years back (at that point I was running a comp-network for fresh-arrived high-tech and academic emigres trying to help them with their problems. Part of that was to tell them that any job is OK, as long as you've got out of that god-forsaken old country...)
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