More Boring Shop Progress

I’ll be the first to admit that there isn’t a lot of stuff getting made in the shop these days.  I’m in the “set up the new shop” phase, and it’s taking way too long for my tastes.

I’m excited to be setting up a dedicated space for woodworking, and at the same time moving my blacksmithing tools to my metal shop so I’ll have them ready to user.  But still, it’s not as much fun as using them to create something.

This weekend my son Kolya and I got some new wiring in place and were able to power up all of the tools for the first time.  That’s a major accomplishment in my book.  Nothing particularly glamorous, just poking lots of holes in the drywall and stuffing in romex.    I used 10 gauge for everything, three 220 outlets for the table saw, planer and jointer, and one 30 amp 110 circuit for the dust collector.

Working out here convinced me that the previous homeowner was clueless.  The drywall job is terrible and I probably should have just ripped it down and done it over.  None of the seams are over studs, big gaps abound the outlet boxes – just sloppy work.  I personally hate drywall work, but I’m going to try to patch things up as best I can next weekend.

Kolya pulling nails

Kolya pulling nails

We perservered and got outlets in and even made some test cuts with the new tools.  That was pretty exciting.  I haven’t checked the jointer to make sure the tables are properly adjusted, but it seemed to do OK.

Outlets In Place

Outlets In Place

I still have two or three “piles” of stuff to deal with, including the extension support for the table saw that I need to install and junk that needs to find a new home elsewhere.  Fixing the walls and painting will be a good sized job.  And of course I have to run ducts for the dust collector.  I have a couple of more cabinets to tear out, and another dump run to haul stuff away too.  I need to slightly reposition my air compressor and re-work the air lines.  All in all, maybe two or three days of work.  Maybe two more weekends.

I’m worried about the lines for the dust collector.  Not running them as much as buying the parts.  Holy bleep, a guy could spend a small fortune on that stuff.  The cheapest (metal) option seems to be Home Depot HVAC ducting, but they don’t have all of the parts I need.  And I hate shopping there.  I had a cart full of supplies last week and stood around for 30 minutes trying to get someone to help me find what I was looking for.  After getting the famous orange-coated blank look and unhelpful vacuous stare I just left.

I looked at the Nordfab ducting that Grizzly and other carry.  It’s beautiful stuff and would work great but it’s probably $1,000 worth of parts to hook up three machines to my $1,000 duct collector.  That seems crazy and excessive.  PVC would probably work, but I don’t have a ready source for 6″ plastic pipe, and I’d rather not use plastic anyway.  So I’m still looking for the “right stuff”.  At the moment I’m leaning towards the “economy” ducting from Penn State (  It looks like what I’d get at Home Depot, but with slightly improved long-radius 90s.  And of course they have the reducers and blast gates I need to hook everything up.  I made a rough sketch of the duct layout last week and need to make a final shopping list to see what the damage is going to be.

Starting to look like a workshop

Starting to look like a workshop

Kolya thinks the new shop is pretty groovy so far.  I put a Forest Woodworker #2 blade in the table saw and it leaves a pretty amazing finish.  No splintering at all when cross-cutting green doug fir.  This saw has a second “scoring” blade on it’s own motor for cutting plywood.  I’m eager to try that out. and make some cabinets for the shop to hold my planes and hand tools.  That will probably be the very last thing I do, I’m eager to get back to making the Blacker house sconce I drew up.

Kolya waiting to make a test cut on the table saw

Kolya waiting to make a test cut on the table saw


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4 thoughts on “More Boring Shop Progress

  1. Joe,

    I’m not sure how much Nordfab piping you need. But I have an abundance of the stuff from I believe 3″, 4″, 5″, 6″ 8″, 10″, and 12″, plus many angles and gates. If you have a list, I’d be willing to try and put a package together to see if it is worth it to you.


  2. I’ve been setting up my shop for years. I think you’ve made amazing progress. Yippee! for power.

    I can’t wait to see it wait to see how it out.

  3. Sweet! Those are some awesome Grizzly tools. I like that you went big so you will really have no need to upgrade. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

    • I’ll be the first to admit to being a tool junkie. I was concerned about buying “import” (General International and Grizzly) but they seem to be well made overall. The rip fence on the General table saw isn’t as nice as the one that was on my unisaw years ago. I’ll see how it works in practice, with the sliding table I think it will be OK, otherwise I may have to upgrade that.

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