Monday, May 14, 2018

Workshop Renovation: New Designs

This blog entry is not about any specific new projects for my workshop, but rather steps I am taking in designing the proper carts and tables I need.

As work on my workshop slowly progresses, I keep coming up with new ideas on how to change things for the better.  One of the first things I'd like to change is my table saw, seen below with a bunch of stuff on it.

This saw works great and I really love it, but it has a couple of serious drawbacks.  Pictured below are those 2 drawbacks: The angle adjustment of the saw blade, and dust collection.

Adjusting the angle of the blade is tedious.  It takes a bit of time (and a considerable amount of muscle) to crank the handle to get to a 45-degree angle.  Also, with the cart built around the saw, there is not much room to easily move the handle, especially with the shelves near each handle.

Dust Collection is also a pain.  Since the back of the saw is exposed, saw dust gets everywhere, and the belt has no protection against falling pieces of wood.

I tried making a couple of covers for both the belt...

...and the back itself, but these just aided in clogging the motor with dust - which is not good.

So I started to design a new cart that would better contain saw dust and make it easier to crank the adjustment handles.

However I still could not come up with a good solution for the back.  Since the motor raises and lowers with the height and angle of the blade, a permanent back can't easily be done.

In my model above I also added a small out feed table and wood around the top to support the top itself and keep it level.  This would unfortunately mean that I can't use the factory table saw fence.

So I started dabbling with making a table saw using my spare circular saw.

The new design would be made from Melamine - which is particle board with a smooth plastic coating on one side.

The circular saw would be in the middle of a 2-foot by 4-foot sheet of melamine.  The melamine top will make it easy to slide material.  I know form other table saws I have made that a plywood top is not ideal.  Under the circular saw, and to the left are storage spaces for jigs, push stick, blades, etc.

On the right side of the table I designed a space to make a new router table out of.

I did this for 2 reasons - the first being that I don't love my current router table, seen below.

This router table works just fine, but since I made it a long time ago when I was a little more green to woodworking, all sides of the cart itself are uneven.

Also I want to put a new variable-speed router in place of this one.  My current router only goes at one speed - fast!  And at times it is way too aggressive and it honestly frightens me.  I do have a variable speed switch that I can use to replace the simple power strip I use as an on/off switch.

My table saw also uses a power strip, and I'd like to replace that with another on/off strip.  To do this I'll have to study up on wiring.  Aside from that, the only thing that this table saw lacks is proper height and angle adjustment, as well as a good fence.  These are things I am still working on.

Once I have a new table saw / router table constructed I'll have to turn my attention onto making some better tool carts for my workshop.  Currently I have 7 carts in my workshop, and a few of these were thrown together as temporary carts.

Below is my first tool cart I made, next to one of the dressers I recently found and converted into another tool cart.  The first tool cart will remain, as it is strong and well assembled, plus holds a lot of my smaller hand tools and other essentials (like a bottle opener).  The dresser I think will eventually become a dresser again, but I'll need some better tool carts to hold all the stuff that's inside.  It is also too tall to have any power tools on it, so I think I can make something better one day soon.

My next tool cart is a cheap metal cart with 3 tool drawers, and I keep my surface planer on top.  This tool cart is short, but perfect for the surface planer.  This one is also a keeper.

Next I have a cart that holds my disc/belt sander, an extension cord and boxes.

The top of this cart is made from my old table saw's top.  The sides and bottom are made from spare 2x4s and plywood I had.  This cart was originally made to sell at some recent yard sales I had, but the need for someplace to put my sander made me keep this one.  But I do want to replace this cart with something better.

 Another temporary cart is pictured below, for my bandsaw.

This cart was made from some more 2x4s and some particle board taken off the curb.  The wheels on the bottom were from a broken office chair.  This cart was for sale, but no one took it.  So now it holds the band saw until a new cart comes along.

The cart that holds my drill press is an older cart I made from various sized drawers...

...and was initially part of a tool stand, as seen below.

Then the metal stand was removed and more drawers put in it's place... well as a swing out door with space to cold spring clamps.

I think I'm going to keep this one, even though it kinda looks ridiculous. 

And lastly I have my miter saw cart.  The miter saw first started on this cart...

...then went to this table...

...and then to this table...

...and then back on the same cart (with paint).

The cool thing about this cart is that the sides rise and with supports are able to hold up very long pieces of wood.

But the main drawback of this cart is that saw dust gets everywhere.  On the long tables I created hoods to collect a majority of the saw dust, but I can't easily fit a hood on this cart.  So I think I will keep this cart, but put something else on it, like the sander or band saw.  The miter saw itself will get a new cart.  My designs are still in the early stages, but have a lot of similarities to the original cart.

Like the original, the new cart will have swing-up extensions to support long pieces of wood.

Unlike the original, the supports which hold the extensions upright will fold up underneath the extensions when not in use.

A hood will be part of the sides and back of this cart to better contain saw dust.  The big hole on the top of the cart will allow dust to fall into the top drawer (not pictured) of the cart.  Then when the drawer is full, pull it out and empty it.

So this will be a fun future project.

The last thing I envision for my workshop is a new wall shelf.

This wall shelf is inspired by a new shelf I recently put up using wood from my previous shelves and some bathroom vanity doors I had.

This shelf is great and holds a lot of stuff I use in my workshop such as glues, spray paints, lubricants, fillers, etc.

But I would like to have better shelves that hold all my hand-held power tools.  Plus having doors would be nice.

This cabinet is still in the design process since I need to measure the height of some of my taller power tools to make sure they fit.

So, hopefully I'll achieve some or all of these projects in the near future.

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