I've taken on a few projects in the shop over the last two weeks and thought I'd share them with those that are interested.
I purchased a Dust Deputy Cyclone
unit for use with my shop vac. I have a 1-micron HEPA filter on my shop vac, and I love it's power. But emptying it and cleaning the filter is a pain in the butt and messy. So far, the cyclone unit is working great- all the debris goes into an easy-to-empty bucket, and nothing goes into the shop vac itself to clog the filter.
I built this cart based upon plans from WoodSmith. I didn't follow the plans exactly, but modified the idea for my needs. For starters, rather than building the platform, I bought a cheap cart from Harbor Freight Tools. I also built a storage trough for vac accessories and to wrap the cord and hang the hose:
When the bucket needs to be emptied, the 45-degree fitting slides right off the top of the Dust Deputy and the hinged part lifts up to allow the bucket section to slide right out. The hinged part also keeps the whole top of the cyclone more robust. I really like the unit as a whole, but if you hang a heavy hose on it and pull it around, the top of the bucket (where the cyclone attaches) flexes more than I'd like. So that hinged piece prevents the top of the cyclone from bending forward.
The next thing I did (last week) was to finally setup the Jet Mini Lathe
I bought almost a year ago. I had it mounted on a miter saw stand temporarily, but that was in the middle of everything. So I re-purposed this old steel workbench with a beefier top and enclosed the back and bottom with a piece of white masonite to make the area brighter and easier to clean of shavings. I've found very quickly that using a lathe requires sharp tools (that liked to be sharpened frequently) and that "freehanding" it didn't work. So I bought a new, larger grinder with a Wolverine Jig as part of a Sharpening Kit
that Woodcraft put together and mounted it right alongside the lathe so I can take a step to the left and quickly re-sharpen a tool.
As usual with me, I can never do something simple. It always grows into some huge multi-faceted project. That would be fine if I had the time to complete said project, but it usually means nothing gets done because I'm waiting for it to all come together. Well, I took some good steps on a huge project: A miter saw work station. For starters, I mounted a huge Jet air cleaner on the wall. This air cleaner was purchased two years ago. See? I TOLD you guys I buy tools but never use them!!
In this next photo, you'll get a better idea of how it will all be laid out:
I purchased two workbenches (again, from Harbor Freight
) because they're cheaper than if I bought the wood. Plus, if I had to build the two workbenches it would have been another two years before I started the project! I have a 12" Dual Compound Sliding miter saw
that's a beast. I don't use it as a portable! Anyway, it will be mounted on a "bridge" between the two leveled workbenches (my floor is not level, so everything starts off as "wrong"). You might be able to see that I mounted heavy-duty levels on the legs of the workbenches.
The top of the saw will be even with the tops of each workbench so I can handle very long and large pieces. I'll build a fence for the top of each workbench to keep things square to the saw.
The area behind and above the saw (under the air filter) will be somewhat enclosed in a "hood" with a 4" port to go to my big dust collector
. In addition, the saw has a 1.5" vac hookup. In the photo, you'll see a wall-mounted shop vac on the left and a yellow box
on the wall outlet to the right of the center area. This is a switch that will cause that shop vac to turn on whenever the saw is powered on.
I'm also going to build a bit of a "tray" and mount it in front of that air cleaner's platform. This will give me a place to keep safety glasses, pencils, etc., and it hanging down in front will also block glare from the fluorescent light that I'll mount under there.
This photo does, admittedly, show the area much more "open" and clean than usual. I had an electrician come in this morning and install four new 20-amp circuits and those outlets on the back wall. There are two 20-amp circuits in that outlet that has the yellow box, and there are two more 20-amp circuits continuing down the left side of the photo and through the wall on the left.
That wall separates out an old root cellar that's about 8'x10' (a root cellar has a dirt floor. I think the point was that it stayed cooler for people who do canning of veggies and stuff....though I don't really know for sure). Joyce and I have never made any use of that room. But the reason I had those two isolated circuits run into there is that I plan on putting in a cement floor and moving two bulky (and coincidentally noisy) tools into there: The dust collector and compressor. I might even put some insulation on those walls to absorb some of that noise. Rick, I'll be looking to pick your brain on cement!
For all the joking about me turning 50 next month, I feel like I'm kind of re-assessing my life. I'm tired of working so many hours and the more I move towards setting up this workshop as I want it, the more I'm being reminded over and over that being in the workshop brings me immense joy. I'm spending more and more time down there each weekend. I have a couple of cheap DJ (read: loud!) speakers down there so my activities always have a soundtrack.
Of course, the ultimate goal is to actually build stuff. Right now it's somewhat odd in that I'm using the workshop to simply improve the workshop. But although there ARE many times of immense joy, I'm frustrated that it's still so disorganized (I still haven't gotten it back to where it was before I disassembled it all for the asbestos removal) and there are too many instances of doing what I did yesterday: Pay $10 for two long bolts to mount that grinder only to later find a box of 30 of them that were left over from a project several years ago.
Each of these steps of late move me towards having the workshop set up properly so I can work without frustrations.