Friday, March 16, 2018

Tool storage racks and shelves

In my continuing quest to clean and upgrade my workshop, I've been seriously considering my options for tool storage. I've always loved the look and functionality of the systems used in the shops in Williamsburg, namely shelves and racks. My inability to heat my building has made this an unworkable solution so the tools have lived in chests for many years. Now that I'm insulating and electrifying the shop, I'll be able to keep the building at a minimum of 50 degrees year round. This means tools can live on walls.

To that end I've been busily making shelves and racks. I've chosen to paint them, along with the window trim, in a brownish-beige color which will contrast nicely with the soon-to-be white walls.

I'm simply using dimensional pine from the Borg. It's rare that I use pre-dimensioned lumber but, with my time at a premium these days, I'm going to be saving my efforts for where it really matters, i.e. my actual work. I did hand plane a nice bead detail on the what will become the bottom of the rack, and will plane similar beads on future racks.

 Here it is hanging temporarily before painting. I decided that I will hang it in a lower position when I install it permanently.

Tool rack from Sampson Joinery Shop. Photo by Peter Follansbee
I'm also planning to make a few of these racks from the Sampson Joinery Shop as documented by Peter Follansbee.

It's still far too cold to paint anything outdoors so the walls will have to wait a while yet (c'mon Spring!). The shelf rack was painted inside and I'm pleased with the look. I suspect it will look even better against white walls.

I hope this series on shop improvements is inspirational. I know I'm enjoying getting back out there and making things a little brighter, a little cleaner, and hopefully a little warmer!

Monday, March 12, 2018

It has to get worse before it gets better

My slight shop cleanup has turned into rather more than that. I decided that, since I had everything put away while cleaning, I would go ahead and put some bead board and insulation up. I had originally planned to just do the area near my bench to help improve the lighting for photograph. This is where you last saw it.


Here is what it looks like as of yesterday....

I decided to make better use of the window at the far (East) end of the shop. With paneling and a cleanup at that end, which was always a junk heap just out of the frame of pictures, I'll be able to put a second, albeit shorter, bench there to take advantage of the beautiful light there. I will also pull my main bench out away from the wall about 8 inches or so to enable me to use the East end in my work.

Once I'm done with the paneling and insulation, I'll be able to cost-effectively heat the building throughout the winter. That means I can keep more of my tools on the walls and not fear for their safety. To that end I'm going to be putting up a few shelves and some lengths of 1x4 with dowel pegs every 6 or 8 inches near the ceiling level of the first floor. This will give me plenty of convenient places to hang saws, draw knifes, etc.

The ultimate inspiration for these changes is this picture I took in the Williamsburg Joiner's Shop back in 2010. I've always wanted a shop that looks like this; now I'm well on my way to achieving that goal.

In the mean time, I also picked up a new tool. As a dedicated contrarian, I have resisted these for years because they were just too popular. My resistance finally waned after using one, so here is it, along with the rod extension set. I guess I will give it a try and see how it works out.


All the best,
Zach