America's Top Shops Contest
May 1, 2008
Entry Details

# 631
Roger Kritzer
Fairmont, WV

Here it is, my retreat from life's stresses.  I started this shop about 5 years ago at the behest of my wife who was tired of the sawdust from my basement shop.  Wanting a building that would blend with the property better than a metal or pole building the initial design was for a basic rectangular stick built building with some attic storage space.  This evolved into a barn style building 30x36 with no center supports, and a second floor room 14x36.  The ground floor has 3 garages for storage of lawn tractors mowers and all the necessary trappings for property owners.  One stall is for storage of rough cut lumber.  The main floor is my shop.  Use of the second floor was bartered by my son for many hours of labor on this project.  It is now a music studio him and his future rock star friends.  Basic construction is concrete block with stone facing, T-111 siding and a black metal roof.   South facing windows help some heat and light in the winter

I tried to build my shop on as tight a budget as possible.  I got lucky when a local Lowe's was closing to move to new location.  I was able to buy doors, windows, pegboard, and numerous other items and store them till construction began.  Actually it got to be a game after awhile, wrangling free or cheap construction materials.  The kitchen cabinets in this picture were a free bee from a friend remodeling his kitchen.  Counter top and assembly table-top were solid doors from a local hospital remodeling job. The metal cabinet was donated by neighbor who had put it out for the trash. Makes a nice storage bin for screws nails etc. The assembly table is a common design, full extension drawer slides give easy access to hand tools including planes, chisels, drill bits, sand paper, files, etc

I have dabbled with numerous machine layouts with this being the latest configuration.
  Machines are placed along the windowed south wall with one straight-line dust collection trunk, the finer dust producers at the end of the line.  Hoping to install a recently acquired 2nd hand cyclone dust collector soon but trying to find a deal on some ductwork. Having never seen a good dust collection system for a lathe I came up the idea of cutting a trap door between the floor joist between the lathe and the Legacy Mill.  This funnels into a 6 inch pipe and drops into a large plastic drum below.  A few sweeps and large piles of dust and shavings disappear.  I try to keep all the accessories close to each machine and the pegboard is quick and flexible for this. The large roll of heavy wrapping paper under the assembly table covers the table during glue ups and makes clean up quick and easy.  Cudos to The Wood Whisperer for this idea.  Table top tripod holds plans/cut lists and drawings handy.

As with most shops my table saw is in the center of the room and allows for cutting of large sheet goods.  I use my old smaller dust collector to handle the jointer and the TS.  Wooden dial rods connected to the blast gates under the TS provide quick control.  The large box in this picture is an old toy box with sliding shelves inside.  This holds all my power hand tools: sanders, routers, biscuit cutters, air-nailers, drills, sabre saws. Kregg pocket hole kits, Sawzall. and more.  When not in use it tucks away neatly under the TS outfeed table.  The outfeed rollers in this picture were recycled from a cut-off saw station and fitted onto wooden stands.  Color coded tape matching  the machine (yellow for DeWalt planer, blue for Woodpeckers  router table, silver for Delta Unisaw, white for Jet bandsaw) makes for quick measureless height adjustment of rollers.

The small room in this picture is my future finish room but now serves as storage room for junk.  Pegboard for hand tools and odds and ends.  I heat my shop with a small ventless propane wall heater but in the dead of winter this just doesn't put out enough to heat up a dead cold room.  I have a portable tank top heater help get the chill off.  Ran out of money half way and had to go 2 winters with open rafters and lights hanging from rough wiring.  Last summer I finally finished the ceiling and insulated.  Lighting is High output flouresent lights which really lights the place up even when cold.

Judges Comments
CB : Great building. I'd like to see what's in those cabinets. Frankly, I couldn't work efficiently with my power tools stowed in a chest under my out feed table. But I agree that it's a "work-in-progress" with huge potential.
JH : Nicely organized, with some appealing ideas hear and there. I want to see more of this shop. It is a candidate for our Top Shop stories.
JH-W : Wonderful building, but this the workshop itself appears to be more of a "work-in-progress" than finished "Top Shop." If this guy puts as much energy into the inside as he did to the exterior, I expect that this will be a very, very nice shop in a few more years. Until then, the found/salvaged storage cabinets and such don't make for any interesting take-aways for our readers.
PA : How convenient to have your son’s rock band playing upstairs, providing shop music! (Let’s hope they take requests.) Well, this goes to show that a shop built from scavenged materials doesn’t have to look like it, although it might look a bit like a kitchen. Nothing wrong with that, though, as long as you’re cooking up some good projects. This shop exhibits some thoughtful machine layout, with the jointer placed right by the tablesaw, allowing quick back-and-forth machining. It also offers up the saw’s side table as a staging area for both operations. (Drawing reference lines on outfeed roller stands for quick setup is a good time-saving idea.) I can’t tell how the duct-control levers at the tablesaw/jointer work, but I like that they are easily accessible. This is a nice work-in-progress, but this shop could use better storage solutions. Sure, the customized toy box works and consolidates space, but it isn’t the most accessible way to store tools. The pegboard wall allows hanging a fair amount of tools, but I would build custom shop cabinets against that wall instead. You could accommodate and organize a lot more tools, while protecting them at the same time. In any case, I suspect this will be a fine looking shop someday.

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