Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Little Shop of Horrors Part 2

Little Shop of Horrors:
Which shop machines are a must?

This is the second part of the Little Shop of Horrors. Hope you enjoy!

This is a tough question and will depend greatly on what type of shop you are setting up. If you plan on setting up a basic shop to build cabinets or furniture, you will need different tools than you would need if you’re just setting up a shop for carving or doing metal work. In this article we will discuss setting up a basic woodworking shop for building a wide variety of projects from whirligigs to kitchen tables or other furniture.

The main tools you will need are a tablesaw, which will be the primary tool in your shop so don't skimp on this tool by buying a cheap model (not necessarily price, but quality) with a shortage of horse power and an inaccurate fence. The entire shop should be built around your tablesaw as it will get used more than any other tool you own. You will also need a jointer, planer, a bandsaw, and a drill press. The bandsaw and drill press can be a bench top version depending on your needs. Most projects can be built using these basic machines. You may be saying to yourself that, "You can use a planer as a jointer or vise versa," but that is just not the case. These tools were not designed that way. You can't mill to a specific and consistent thickness using a jointer and you can't square and flatten stock using a planer. There are many other machines that a shop would benefit from, such as a drum sander, dust collector, which we will discuss further, a wood lathe, and the list goes on.

If your shop is in your basement or an attached garage then you will definitely want to look at some type of dust collection as dust will ALWAYS find a way to migrate into your home. This was a sore spot for me as my wife didn’t like that part of my home shop at all. The beauty of that though, was the frustration she had regarding dust enabled me to remedy that if she would "allow" me buy a new tool. Not long after that I had new 1-1/2hp dust collector and an air filtration unit, which hung from the ceiling. I never would have dreamt my wife would have actually requested that I buy new tools because in her mind I had more than I needed. But after some discussion she relented and was pleased with the dustless outcome. Having this dust bagged and filtered served as a good safety measure as well, which is another important feature for any shop. Dust collectors come in a wide range from your basic "shop vac" to a large horse power cyclone unit. Again, shop size plays a factor in your decision. You will also have to decide whether or not you will move the dust machine around or place it in a corner and run dust hose around the shop to each machine. The latter is more efficient if it's an option for you. You won't have to keep connecting to one tool and then taking off the hose, going to the next machine and then repeat, which can become a hassle - trust me. Plus, it frees up floor space not having the dust collector following you around while you're working. Besides not breathing in that dust and having a dust-free shop when it comes time to finishing a project is a huge plus, as you won't have to worry about the dust settling on the piece while finish dries.

Other necessary shop tools & accessories

Besides the bigger machines for your shop, you will also need a few power tools, hand tools, and other basic shop helpers as well. The list and use for each would be as follows:
  • Circular saw for trimming and precutting larger sheets of plywood.
  • Chopsaw for cutting parts & molding.
  • Router and a variety of bits for edge profiling, grooving, making doors, etc. (usually a smaller 1-1/2 to 2hp for hand work and a 3hp for use in a router table). Next to the tablesaw, a router will probably be the most frequently used tool in your shop.
  • Hand drill for drilling, some assembly, and hanging doors (corded are typically stronger but cordless are more convenient).
  • Jigsaw for cutting a radius and notching out.
  • Sanders (1/4 sheet, 1/2 sheet, disc, and/or a belt disc combo) for rough to finish sanding and shaping.
  • Clamps for holding projects together while the glue dries ("You can never have enough clamps" is an old saying which holds a lot of truth).
  • Hand tools like a set of chisels, a mallet, tape measure, hand planes, calipers, dividers, etc.

The above list is basic and short, but the list of tools at your disposal is very, very long. If driving nails with a hammer isn't your thing then you will want to look at a small pancake air compressor and a brad gun. Depending on whether you plan on spray finishing or not will determine the size of your air compressor, unless of course, you will be using a HVLP unit. If you plan on using a spray gun then you will want a larger compressor, at least 4-5hp and up, to provide the needed requirement of continuous air to supply that spray gun. Don’t forget that you will have to put a finish on those projects, so make sure your shop has room to store and apply finishes, brushes, and solvents.

About Chris Smith
Chris began his woodworking career early while in high school. With three years of woodshop class under his belt, he graduated in 1993 and then began work for a cabinet shop.
His work in the cabinet shop spanned over several years. He continued his skills in cabinetry on his own before joining Klingspor’s Woodworking Shop in 2001.
He found an immediate interest in woodturning while at Klingspor. But, for Chris, it is more than just woodturning as he finds enjoyment in all aspects of woodworking. He has a wealth of 20 years experience in cabinetmaking, furniture building, woodturning, and more.

Native American Style Drone Flute

(Click on the image to see it larger)
Enjoy this talented work from Bob Child of Ugly Boy Flutes in Waynesville, NC. This is an A4 Native American style drone flute. A quote from Bob, "Most phenomenal piece of curly/figured White Oak I've ever laid eyes on!"

Thanks for sharing Bob!