Tour de Shop 2011

I thought I should do a post from time to time showing photos of how my shop change over time. Sometimes this helps to remind you that you are actually making progress, when you look at photos of how the place looked like a year or two ago.

For this first edition of “Tour de Shop” I chose photos from the very first few months in this current shop, dating back to late 2011. At that stage we only just moved into the new house and my father arrived with a truckload of our stuff that was in storage in South Africa since 2002, while we were living in New Zealand. This shipment included all the tools (hand and power) that he passed on to me, and 17 cubic meters of Knysna Forest hardwoods that was dried naturally over a period of between 7 and 11 years. We bought the wood in batches between 2000 and 2004.

In the picture below you can see my initial makeshift workbench. It comprised three sawhorses with a sheat of plywood lodged on top. You can find an entire post on these sawhorse under the title “Darwinian Sawhorses”. To the right of the workbench you will see some makeshift tool storage. I refashioned the crates my Dad built to transport the tools safely into basic storage structures. It works well as everything is handy, but the only downside is that it gets quite dusty being completely open. The shelves on the left I found in another garage on the property and moved it. It is those made up of metal bars fixed vertically to the wall with adjustable horisontal arms on which the shelves rests. Over time this became the main storage for screws, bolts and all the other hardware.


In the two pictures below you get a good example of my crate-converting-activities. My Father built this particular one to house the lathe during it’s odyssey from Outeniqualand to the Land of the Brave. I converted it into a cupboard that became the abode of all my finishing products.


A quick reminder of the infancy stage of my assembly table. You can find a catholic five chapter opus on this project under the title “Alternative workbench/assembly table”, if you are intersted.


The brackets that fixed my lathe to the wall were the first objects I have ever welded.


Here you can see one of the first steps towards building up a comprehensive supply of fasteners and others hardware/supplies to prevent the problem of having to drive to the hardware store each time you need something. This is my old fashioned steel wood screws in almost all the sizes I might ever need.


Phase two of the above, concerned bolts (standard and countersink heads), nuts (standard and lock), washers in heaps of different lengths but predominantly 6, 8 and 10 mm diameter.


This was the first proper power tool I bought (ever actually), a Festool TS 55 circular saw with the table that is designed to also accept their router, etc etc. On the shelves to the right you can see the music system which I bought secondhand in New Zealand. I listen mostly to old vinyl  records, which I collect. Since discovering woodworking podcasts they also feature as part of my auditory diet. The green bench in the back corner used to be my father’s workbench. We will have a close-up look later in this post.


The drill press I simply stuck on top of the crate it traveled in. One day I will build a better cupboard with storage for all the drill bits as currently I am doing a lot of walking to fetch them.


The picture below was actually taken more recently, but I wanted to show you the red steel cupboard. My father bought this form his work when they got rid of such stuff and kept it disassembled in storage for many years. In 2000 I assembled it and painted it red. I used it for 2 years in the first shop I ever had and now it is doing duty in my current shop too. You can see how I pop-riveted scrap chipboard strips to the front of some of the shelves in order to contain smaller pieces of wood and steel. I sort off-cuts of wood in different sizes in the top three shelves and metal in the bottom three.


The green cupboard is another survivor from many arduous years in my Dad’s workshop. I do not actually know it’s history (will ask the man and update the post), but it looks like it is a recycled kitchen cabinet (from the 70’s as per fashion trends) and I painted it green in 2000. On the doors above the work surface you have the added benefit of appreciating my 4 year old daughter’s art.


This became my metal working area. The green (not my doing, incase you think I am a Greenie) steel structure with the steel vise was created by my father many years ago. On the crate/cupboard next to it, I have hung the bits and pieces of metal working tools I have. In the mentioned cupboard you might notice the red welding machine (not quite sure what it is called to be honest). I bought this one and am trying to teach myself this skill. The massive black pipe on the right is a chimney I fashioned for a Pizza wood oven we built immediately outside our kitchen.


These shelves were already in the garage when we bought the property, which was an monumental gift.


Below you can see just another example of how I converted the crates into storage by adding shelves. In this case some tools hang on it’s side, the top shelve house painting paraphernalia, the next one down, all the sanding bits and pieces (including the two old Stanley planes pre-rehabilitation) and further down quite a few Stinkhout legs (from my father’s collection).


Finally, the green bench which served the previous generation of Marx cabinetmakers for innumerable years. I stuck it in this corner, close to the lathe and drill press. On the wall you can see the “Darwinian Sawhorse” I wrote a whole post on under the same title.


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