What is the one thing every woodworker needs? Yes, a workbench. Now that you have or at least I am assuming you have worked on so many woodworking projects, you are close to becoming a professional woodworker. You now probably owe yourself a nice woodworking bench. You should also know that a true woodworker never buys his bench from the market, but always builds one himself. But before you start this project, you should know what a workbench is.
Though our shops never seem to be spacious enough, how you store what’s inside can make the difference between a neat, organized work space and a disaster zone. The first priority is to have a good look at what’s in your shop and decide how often you use it. Things that you never use have no place in a tight shop. Items that you use only rarely or are overstock should be stored on a top shelf or in another room – not on the prime, easy-access shelves. I have laid claim to a few bays of shelving in our storage room. I store all my overstock hardware in full-extension pull-outs so I can find it easily when needed. In the storage room, I also store my benchtop tools that I use less frequently. All are fairly heavy, so I make sure to store them at about waist height to make it easy on my back.
As your interest in woodworking grows, you’ll want to subscribe to a woodworking magazine. This will help feed your new found obsession with articles on tools, techniques, and woodworking plans. As a print magazine subscriber you’ll also gain access to their database of plans on their websites. Popular magazines include, Woodworkers Journal, Fine Woodworking, and Popular Woodworking.
To my right, I have my sharpening bench, drill press and charging station. The sharpening bench is equipped with a 6" metal vise and houses all my sharpening accessories. On the back of the bench is a fluorescent lamp with a magnifying lens that is shared with the drill press. All my drill bits are stored either in the drawer beneath the drill press table or in boxes hung on French cleats. To the right of the drill press, I have a shelf with a power bar that supplies power to my battery chargers. I leave them all plugged in and instead use the power bar’s on/off rocker switch.
The table saw is always connected to my dust collector with a couple pieces of 4” flex hose and some 4” sewer and drain PVC pipe and a homemade blast gate. The port on the table saw is at the rear of the cabinet and this particular area of the shop sees the least amount of foot traffic so I have no problem just leaving the ducting on the floor. I also always have a few other cords on the floor here. I see this as the same principle as walking onto a porch. You know the steps are there so you pick up your feet. I know the pipe is there so I pick up my feet. Not a trip hazard in my opinion.
Manufacturers that produce woodworking tools and materials have got into the content creation game, too, and some will share woodworking plans online. Minwax and Ryobi, for example, provides their plans free of charge, and Rockler offers their woodworking plans for a fee. Seek them out along with the other blogs and you’ll have a handy list of resources you can turn to for any project.