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Having been a carpenter for over fifty years I had known what I wanted in a shop: a large assembly area with lots of natural light and my tools at hand.
Since I live on a small farm, my shop also needed to provide space to work on my farm equipment and allow for occasional welding and metal fabrication. But beyond its functionality, I wanted my shop to feel more like a favorite tool than a building.
My shop is built with native raw lumber, much of which comes from my 55 acre farm. Its plank and batten-style exterior is topped with a metal roof. Sliding wooden doors provide easy access and five timber-framed windows salvaged from an old school building flood the main area of the store with light. This main area measures 720 square feet and is complemented by a 9-foot ceiling. I use the ventilated attic above the main store mainly for drying lumber.
I make most of my furniture projects with local woods, some of which I collect right here on the farm. I send the lumber to the local sawmill and then put it in the attic above the shop. Depending on the species and thickness of the panel, it takes one or two years to dry to an acceptable humidity level.
My main shop area has an imaginary divider in the middle. I do most of my woodwork in the half where the workbenches are. All machines are stopped in this area. In the other half, in front of the sliding doors, the machines are on mobile bases, so I can move them to work on my agricultural equipment.
I use two workbenches for woodworking. One bench has two woodworking vices, but no tool tray, so I can keep it tidy. The second bench has ten large drawers. It keeps my tools close at hand and works great when I need a second work surface. I also have a third height-adjustable bench that I use for planing and joining.
The fan for my dust collection system is in the attic. Store the sawdust directly in a small, purpose-built trailer located outside the store. When the trailer is full, I transport it to the barn, where I use sawdust for the animal bedding. –Ed Grant
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