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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, Howard Ferstler, here.

Glad to be with this group. I have a small shop (240 square feet) out in back of my home. It is pretty much jammed with tools, but the shop has a deck attached and I do most of my work out there. Most of the floor-standing tools are on wheels, so I can get them out on the deck with ease. There are fixed benches in the shop, but I also have a heavy bench that can be rolled out onto the deck. The shop has two electrical lines running out to it. One, a 20-amp circuit, is for light-duty work (small tools and the lights), and the other, a 25-amp circuit, is for heavier-duty operations.

Most of my tools were made by Ryobi and Ridgid, but I have others by Hitachi, Makita, Delta, Craftsman, etc. The tool list (off of the top of my head) includes:

Ryobi portable table saw (needed one that would fold up), Ryobi 10-inch miter saw, Ridgid 12-inch sliding compount miter saw, Delta table-top router/shaper (I will have a question about this item on the discussion group thread), Delta table-top jointer, Ryobi thickness planer, Ryobi 10-inch band saw, Ridgid 14-inch band saw, Makita jig saw, Skill sidewinder circular saw, Skill Mag-77 circular saw, GMC three-blade powered hand planer (plus assorted manual planers), Ryobi bisquit saw (the later, better version), Ryobi oscillating spindle sander, Ryobi table-top belt sander, Craftsman 4x21 portable belt sander, Ridgid 6-inch random-orbit sander, Ryobi palm sander, Craftsman mini sander, Ryobi 18-inch scroll saw, three Dremel rotary tools, Ryobi 9-inch drill press, Ridgid 15-inch drill press, three Campbell-Hausfeld nail guns and a Ridgid framing nailer, Ridgid 4.5-gallon compressor, assorted Ridgid, Skill, Craftsman, and Ryobi hand drills and impact wrenches, two shop vacs (one to blow and one to suck), and a GMC dust collector that is used to just blow the collected sawdust out into my "naturally wooded" back yard. There are also scads of additional small hand tools, clamps, rulers, levels, compressor hoses, and the like.

Most of the tools have been modified in some way. The band saws have been "balanced" to reduce vibration (the 14-inch Ridgid has a segmented automotive drive belt, plus a modified mounting system to its metal stand) and have had their tables enlarged with wooden extensions. Ditto for the Delta shaper/router, which now has a nice wooden platform around its perimeter. Even the upscale Ridgid compound miter saw has quick-remove dust guides attached to their throats, and that saw is also on a custom-made, movable stand that includes a dust hose and port connection. The Ridgid drill press now has a wooden table attached over the cast-iron one.

In spite of all the tools I have, I am a relative newcomer to this business. When I retired a while back I told my wife that I wanted to get "a few" woodworking tools so that I could do occasional projects with a minimum of fuss. One thing has led to another, and so here I am with a three-room shop and scads of tools.

I have used all of them at times, which is good, since my wife would kill me if I had not. While I have built a few pieces of furniture (speaker enclosures, night stand, plaques, etc.), most of what I have done so far involves carpentry. First of all, I added two small rooms to a storage shed out back, bumping the area from 120 to 240 square feet and converting it to the workshop. Second, I built the deck next to that the shop. Next, I put 400 feet of extra timber bracing into my attic (thanks to the nail guns), as a way to better protect the house from falling branches (we have a lot of trees on our lot) if a hurricane hits. Third, I reinforced the fascia all the way around the house and put an additional 1,100 nails into the exterior wall panels to stiffen them up. Inside of the house I replaced all of the tract-home hollow-core interior doors with solid-wood versions (routing, drilling, sanding and painting as required) and also replaced both of the doors leading to the exterior.

Future projects mostly include replacing some of the cheap furniture in our place with quality, real-wood versions, and maybe building more speaker systems. (Regarding those speakers, while my day job for years involved working in a library, I also have published four books on audio and video, helped to edit The Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound, and published over 200 magazine articles on audio.) The wife also wants me to replace our existing garage door with a spiffy new-design version that has windows.

Anyway, that is it for now. It is nice to be a member of the group, and no doubt I will have a number of newcomer-style questions submitted over the next few months.

Howard Ferstler
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