Shop Tour

My shop is no more than an 7 ft. x 11 ft. old garden shed that came with my house.  In the beginning it was pretty crude with gaps between the wall and floor slats that let light and all kinds of critters inside, but the roof was in good shape.  I spent a lot of time running power, insulating and finishing the inside of the shop over the last several years.  Just this last year I finally got around to installing wall-to-wall benches and cabinets all around the little space.  It's still a work in progress and seems to evolve as I acquire more and more tools.

Let me show you around. . . . .

See, I told you it was small.  It's not much bigger than that little playhouse off to the right.  Would I love to have a bigger place to work?  Absolutely.  But, for now, it's my home away from home.

Here's my work bench where all the detail work and assembly takes place.  I can sit in the middle and just turn from side to side as needed to reach most everything.  The cabinets above hold most of my hand tools and things that I need to get to often.  I try to keep things organized and stored where I use them.  That little piece of carpet on the bench keeps little parts from rolling around and helps reduce the likelihood of scratches on finished blades.  I can also slide it around the bench if I need more room without losing track of all my parts.  I wouldn't work without it.

To the left of my workbench is my buffing station, band saw, and my drill press.  The little box around the buffer keeps all the black debris from the buffing wheels from splattering the wall behind and the bench top.  My band saw is really made for wood, but I have a few bimetal blades for cutting titanium and thin metal stock.  You can see the black hose from my dust collection system going into the back of the saw.  It really helps to keep things clean.

Moving around the room, we come to my grinding/sanding bench.  On the right is my spindle sander which works great for grinding the radii of inside curves.  To the left of the spindle sander is my bench/disk grinder.  This tool is the workhorse of the shop where most of the grinding is done.  I have it mounted on a little base that swivels around so I can reposition the grinder for different chores.  It's not really the best tool for this kind of work, but it will be replaced soon with a 2" x 72" dedicated knife grinder which I will build in the very near future.  You can see my shopvac under the bench and the orange bucket with the cyclone dust collector on top tucked away in the left corner.  That's the heart of the dust collection system.  I run it only when I am sanding wood, but I use it to clean up all the metal grindings after everything is cool.  I really don't want to burn the place down.

The last little bench holds my lathe, anvil, and heat treat oven on the shelf above.  I just built the oven shelf and still need to add cement board under and behind it before I use it.  Again, I don't want to burn the place down.  I don't use the anvil much, so it's tucked back behind the lathe.

Here's a close up of the lathe.  You can see that I have a disk made of MDF mounted to the head.  The disk has a strip of leather glued to the edge and sandpaper glued to the leather.  I use this setup for making the hollow grinds in my blades.  When the sandpaper gets worn, a new piece gets glued in its place.  It's a poor excuse for a real knife grinder, but it gets the job done for now.

Here's a shot of the cabinets below the benches.  I have all sorts of hand and power tools stashed behind those doors and inside those shelves.  I love organization and this helps me to achieve order in the chaos.

Well, that concludes the tour of my little shop.  You can probably tell that, even though it's small, it houses everything I need to make my little knives.  There are still a few tools that I would like to have that will help make building knives easier, but until then, I will make due.  I find it very important to keep a clean and well organized shop.  I know where everything is, it's safe, and I just feel good when everything is in its place.

I hope you have enjoyed looking around my shop.  I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have and feel fee to leave a comment below.  Thanks for stopping by.

Shop Update May 2015

If you have been following along with my blog, you may have seen my posts where I built a 2"x72" grinder.  Bye bye MDF wheels!  Building the new grinder was the best thing I have done to date as far as tooling up my shop.  The addition of the grinder required some rearranging of the furniture in order for everything on my benches to be accessible.  Here are a few pics of the new shop layout.

 The only real change to my workbench was the need to relocate the anvil to the back corner.  It actually works well here and really isn't in the way in its new home.

 No changes to this corner.  Everything here is still accessible.

 Here is the new grinding corner layout with the 2"x72" grinder.  Man I love that machine!  The new belts are hung up in the corner where I can access quickly when grinding.  The bench grinder still gets used, but mostly for the disc grinder feature.

The drill press and spindle sander got new homes here.  This new layout makes everything easily accessible without feeling too cramped.  My workbenches are pretty stuffed, but a new shop really isn't an option at this time.  I still enjoy my time spent here.  I find knife building very therapeutic, an escape from the everyday cares of life.  I hope those of you with small shops will shoot me a message and maybe a photo or two of your layout.  I would be happy to receive any tips or tricks on shop organization.

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