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

# 812
Jerome Laux
Blairsville, GA
Sharpening bench.  The bench is poplar plywood with poplar drawer fronts and drawers.  The top consists of a frame of red oak that is about 1 1/4" wide and 3/4" thick.  The frame surrounds a piece of 3/4" poplar plywood on the bottom with a piece of shower backing board on top.  The frame overlaps the base by 1/4".  The top just rests on the base.  I used the shower backing board because it is water resistant and water occasionally spills from the Tormek on the right.  The shower backing board is also easy to clean up.  The drawers have sand paper storage in the bottom two drawers with sharpening supplies in the upper drawer.  The cabinet holds my waterstones in a kitty litter bucket.
Lathe station.  My lathe has a ballast box which rests on two 2 x 4s on edge.  It is suspended by cleats on the front and back.  The ballast box contains bags of pea gravel.  On top of the ballast box is a drawer unit which nests into the ballast box using cleats on the underside of the unit.  The smaller drawer contains chucks, centers, calipers and other small parts.  The longer larger drawer contains the lathe tools that I'm not currently using.  Just visible above the lathe is part of my track lighting system for the lathe.  I found some clips which fit on the T-tracks for a suspended ceiling and hung a track lighting system above my lathe.  It really helps.  In back of the lathe is a floor stand suction head - I use this because I do mostly spindle work on the lathe.  I've got a larger hood that I can put on the stand.
Back right wall.  The upper cabinets were salvaged from my BILs kitchen remodel.  I built the lower cabinets from poplar and poplar plywood.  Again, the top consists of a frame of red oak similar to the sharpening station.  The frame surrounds a piece of 3/4" poplar plywood on the bottom with a piece of tempered masonite on top.  The masonite was finished with a mixture of BLO/Polyurethane (like the cabinets.  The masonite is just press fit into the frame so it can be easily removed if it gets too much finish, glue or what not on it.  The compound miter saw rests on a cabinet that is lower so that I can use the counter top to support the board that I'm cutting.  The drawer unit for the CMS has over sized drawers.  I cut dados into the front and back of the top drawer and put tempered masonite in the grooves.  My unused saw blades (10" and 12") are in the slots between the masonite.  I also store my dado blades and tenoning jig in the drawers.
Work bench.  I installed track lighting above the work bench.  It really helps to visualize things.  The advantage of a PAR30 type light is that it can be pointed to just where you need it.  I'm contemplating putting in another set.
I currently store my planer on the shelf beneath my work bench.  I have a file folder box (resting on the planer in this picture) which contains my sand paper sheets.  I use an old floppy disk box for my ROS discs.
Shop layout.  I've got a set of several Triton lumber storage racks on my right hand wall which store most of my lumber, the racks are behind the jointer and my router table.  I can comfortably store up to 12' boards.  The plywood rests against the wall by my work bench.

Judges Comments
CB : Although fairly spartan, this shop seems to have everything needed to build most furniture. I'm not coming away with anything tricky but it looks like a good working environment.
JH-W : This basement shop has a nice layout, but it's not tricked out enough to be a top shop. Besides the shortage of shop-made jigs and/or fixtures, I don't think it's large enough or sufficiently jig and fixtured up (yet) for a feature story.
PA : I like the overall layout of this shop, from what I can discern of the drawing. The tablesaw and jointer sit in good relationship to each other, and there is a fair amount of space in the center of the room to accommodate larger projects. Too bad there isn’t a broad photo of the room, though, to provide a better spatial understanding in three dimensions. I particularly like what he’s done with the lathe station, adding ballast for stability and storage for tools, with focused task lighting overhead and a suitable hood for dust collection. The sharpening station is well thought out too, with the bench grinder raised to a comfortable height and the Tormek right at hand too (although I’m not sure where he sets up for honing on his stones.) The track lighting over the bench is also a great idea for putting light where you need it most.

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