Constant evolution

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Once again I’m reworking my shop layout, and I now realize that such things are part of a never-ending process.

I’ve been doing these blogs since 2008 (believe it or not, this is my 658th installment), and during this time I’ve reworked or redone some aspect of my shop layout or facilities at least once a year. Some of the changes are minor, like swapping machines around and adjusting the workflow accordingly. Other times the changes are big ones: The last time was eight months ago, and involved dismantling my dust collection ducting and rerouting it through existing cabinets on one wall of the shop.

That last time, I thought it really would be the last time – I just couldn’t imagine any further tweaks I’d do, at least none that major. Not surprisingly, I was wrong. Again.

The built-in cabinets on that wall are the home of four benchtop machines; a mortiser, disc sander, grinder and spindle sander in that order along the wall. That ducting I noted above runs under the benchtop to serve both sanders. The layout works wonderfully.

However, I’ve recently gotten a miter saw and have no idea where to put it. I don’t want to store it somewhere or I’ll never use it. So I’ve decided to rework the lineup on those cabinet benchtops. The two sanders will stay, but I’ll stash the rarely used mortiser under my assembly table. The grinder I’ll relocate atop a rolling clamp rack. (Since I use it mostly for lathe tools, I can park it right next to the lathe for higher efficiency.)

However, getting the best use from that miter saw requires shifting the two sanders on the benchtop. That, in turn, means reworking their dust ducting. Again. On the down side, I’ll need to add a new dust port for one of the sanders; on the plus side, the existing port for the spindle sander is right where I need it for the miter saw. Although the task isn’t as complex as what I did last time, it still marks a major evolution in my shop layout and how I’ll work.

I’m curious as to what Darwin would have thought of this.

A.J.

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