Shop cleanliness - really - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 04-19-2016, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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Shop cleanliness - really

I know - "... if I cleaned my shop, I couldn't function" or "a clean shop is an unused shop" or "can't waist my time" or... Shop cleanliness almost seems to be a joke with lots of folks...

I work alone in my shop so I keep it clean. I don't want to trip over debris while carrying sharp tools. I also hate loosing tools in the mess and spending 15 min to find it... so I prefer to waist 15 min daily keeping my shop clean and organized.

But here is another reason for keeping my shop clean. I was trying to cut a bridle joint and left an unnoticed wood chip on my bench. The chip resulted in a bad joint...
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post #2 of 27 Old 04-20-2016, 05:43 AM
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I hear you Bernie.

Our millshop stays remarkably clean,due to DC and the fact that the products are wood.

The resto side of the shop would'nt be if I didn't insist on taking as much as possible out on the dock.Sanding and grinding furniture and old equipment.

Machine shop is pretty durn clean,so is the finishing side.
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post #3 of 27 Old 04-20-2016, 06:49 AM
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My shop always stayed clean. I swept at least once during the mid day and more if needed. I never let tools pile up either. I'll go so far and then put everything back where it belongs even though IO know I will need it again in a few minutes. For me it's a pleasure to feel like I'm always starting with a clean slate. Besides, I dont like paying employees to hunt for tools. I just done like working in a mess. Female customers also seem to prefer a clean and orderly shop also.
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Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Denison, Tx
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post #4 of 27 Old 04-20-2016, 07:20 AM
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Agreed. I learned to clean as I go and to invest in good dust collection! Lesson learned the same way, Bernie!

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:17
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post #5 of 27 Old 04-20-2016, 08:10 AM
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You just have to ask yourself something, would you rather spend time building or cleaning. I would rather build.
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post #6 of 27 Old 04-20-2016, 08:39 AM
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My tools are stored within reach of where they are used. So any tool is rarely laid down on the benches. The exception is the random orbit sander.
At the lathe, every tool is stored on the wall behind it so a tool is either being used or on the wall.
I vacuum the floor, benches and machine tables every Monday morning. I only sweep around the lathe and drill press to shovel up the chips. When I am sanding bowls I vacuum every morning. And, yes, I confess I have very poor dust collection at the lathe!
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post #7 of 27 Old 04-20-2016, 05:22 PM
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My shop is generally clean from a day or so after I finish a project until just before I start something new. The mess has caused me some problems, but it's just how it is.
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post #8 of 27 Old 04-20-2016, 06:06 PM
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Some of us can work in organized confusion, others not so much.

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
― Marcus Aurelius
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post #9 of 27 Old 04-20-2016, 06:41 PM
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I'm used to cleaning up at the end of the day because I have to do it on job sites. It just kind of carries over at home in the shop, and it's generally far less than at work.

Personally I don't care what others do but at a certain point it can become quite a hazard. For example, you guys that turn, I can't imagine working all day at the lathe, being knee deep in shavings and just walking away from that.


To each their own....

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post #10 of 27 Old 04-20-2016, 06:56 PM
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Print this in big caps and nail it to the wall:

A creative mess is better than tidy idleness

My wood carving curly shreds and chips all wind up on the floor. Fortunately, I have a corner to sweep them all into.
My chair won't roll and the stuff gets tracked all over the house. Maybe sweep the floor twice a day.
I'll bring in a snow shovel and bag it when it's knee deep.

But. My partner came into the shop to see what all I was working on (usually 4-6 carvings on the go at any time).
Just then, I picked up the broom and swept a bunch of curlies under the bench. I thought she was going to throw a hissy-fit!
I still think it's funny.
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post #11 of 27 Old 04-20-2016, 10:38 PM
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I've recently come to the conclusion that if I clean up a little here and there while I'm working on a project, it makes the cleanup at the end that much faster. Plus, I can find what the hell I'm looking for, rather than having to move a big pile of junk all the time.
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post #12 of 27 Old 04-20-2016, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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Interesting responses... but the most interesting ones are about cleanliness being a waist of time. Dirty shops are usually unorganized shops which means misplaced tools and time wasted looking for tools. I often have waste material from my projects and I use these pieces for setting up the tools as test material for precision joinery. When I have too much debris laying around, I sometimes throw out the wrong pieces (very time consuming).

The picture in my post opening is an example of using extra pieces for preparing my tools for precision joinery. I saved time here by keeping my shop clean and organized. Soooo - how much time do I "waste" keeping my workshop clean? On a typical day (I'm retired with lots going on and spend an average of 3 hrs/day in my shop), I spend a couple of 3 min periods cleaning my immediate work space. At the end of the day, I waist another 7 minutes cleaning. WHOOPS - I didn't mean "waist" of time! I meant time invested to save time...
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post #13 of 27 Old 04-21-2016, 08:39 AM
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All my scrap (material that can be used in other projects) and waste (usable only for firewood) is generated at the bandsaw, radial arm and tablesaw. I have a box 2'x2'x4' at the bandsaw and another at the tablesaw. Waste (firewood) gets handled once to put it in the box. The scrap (material that can be used in other projects) is stored on shelves at the bandsaw, the scrap from the tablesaw has to be moved once to get to the shelves. About twice a year I process the scrap into usable material.
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post #14 of 27 Old 04-21-2016, 12:19 PM
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Many of you will be able to relate to this. Every few years I get into the throw away mode for a really deep cleaning. If I haven't used it in a couple of years, I'm ready to toss it.
This will include lumber shorts, pieces of sheet material, cans of finish and paint, Etc.
Never any tools.
Invariably, I will need something that I tossed within two weeks. Never fails.
If we keep everything, it's impossible to have it well organized. But it cost us a little more to keep an organized shop. For me, I guess it's worth it. I like a little organization.
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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 #15 of 27 Old 04-21-2016, 12:25 PM
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Real simple rule I follow in my shop is to spend 5-10 minutes at end of everyday cleaning up and replacing tools to their respective storage spots.
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That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #16 of 27 Old 04-21-2016, 02:33 PM
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Hey SawdustFactory...

You hit the mark..at least for me. I too do the same, since coming down to my shop and seeing tools outta place and wood scraps around is unsafe and un-productive. So you might as well clean up the nite before and start fresh the next trip to the shop.

I am the cook in our house and have always followed this mantra... " Cook as you clean..And clean as you cook". If I finish using a pot or tool, it goes in the sink and gets washed and dried and put away. That way my cooking area is safe and uncluttered...just like my workshop benches and tools.
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post #17 of 27 Old 04-21-2016, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Johnnie_dr View Post
Hey SawdustFactory...

You hit the mark..at least for me. I too do the same, since coming down to my shop and seeing tools outta place and wood scraps around is unsafe and un-productive. So you might as well clean up the nite before and start fresh the next trip to the shop.

I am the cook in our house and have always followed this mantra... " Cook as you clean..And clean as you cook". If I finish using a pot or tool, it goes in the sink and gets washed and dried and put away. That way my cooking area is safe and uncluttered...just like my workshop benches and tools.
Yup.... This is me, too....
When I cook, I clean up in the kitchen as I go, also...Everything that can, goes in the dishwasher, and I run it during dinner.... After dinner, I unload it, and put the table dishes in....
5-10 minutes, I'm all done...
Shop tools the same.... I put things back as I finish with them.... I may need a tool again, but that way I don't have to look for it....
Vacuum the machines down with a dusting brush....And use a bare floor tool on the floors....I run the air cleaner for 20 minutes after I quit for the day....
I've been called "anal", but I've managed to live the label....
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post #18 of 27 Old 04-21-2016, 11:21 PM
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My shop is small enough, I don't have room to leave tools laying around. I keep things picked up & put away, & do the best I can to keep cleaned up after the planer & jointer. My dust collection consists of a shop vac & open shop door when possible. As a scroll sawyer, Most of my mess is around the base of the saw. I read an article on here awhile back in shop safety about this fella that was talking about small shops & cleanliness, & how he never had time to clean up between projects. Further on in the article, he made it a point to say how filthy his floor was around his TS, & he was cutting a piece of plywood w/the TS & slipped on sawdust around it, & fell into the saw blade, well, you can guess the rest. Shop cleanliness & appearance is a good habit to keep, not only for your personal reasons, but for customer reasons, too. They see a presentable shop, you're business is more apt to thrive.
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post #19 of 27 Old 04-21-2016, 11:38 PM Thread Starter
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Johnnie_dr and Oakwerks - I'm with you guys! My wife earned her Master's degree at the age of 50 after raising our 4 sons. She got a good job with benefits and encouraged me to retire early on my generous Teamster's pension... so I did at the age of 58 (turned 65 today). I took on the cooking and house work and will not allow her to help with the clean-up. It's part of the cooking job... Thanks for the connection! Cooking and woodworking both need clean areas and organization... without a doubt!

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #20 of 27 Old 04-23-2016, 11:25 AM
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Safety is a big part of my life. I work in heavy construction, and most things can kill you without even trying. So for me, a clean shop is a safe shop. Also, having been a traveling repair person, putting things away, as opposed to putting them down, makes working quicker because I didn't have to search for a tool that I put down.

When my shop was in operation, and when my new shop is up and running, clean-as-you-go will be the order of the day.
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