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Glass ceiling

I have one drawback I can’t fix in my wonderful new shop. Instead, I’ll have to change – slightly – the way I work.

My new shop is fantastic. I went from a two-car garage to the greater portion of a 2,000-sq.-ft. walkout basement, and for the first time in my woodworking life I have plenty of room to work.

Well, horizontally, that is. Vertically, I took a step backward. My garage shop had 10’ ceilings, about the same as having no ceiling at all. But my basement is a typical 7-1/2’ from the floor to the joists, and that’s taking some getting used to. And nowhere is that lack of height more keenly felt than at my table saw.

I talked a while ago how I didn’t set up my table saw  until finding the right spot for it. The issue was that I needed to locate it with the most clearance in every direction from the steel columns holding up the joists, and where I finally put it is the best possible spot for clearance in all four directions. Again, horizontally.

You see, that best possible spot is, unfortunately, right under the main heating and return ducts, giving me a vertical clearance there of just 6-1/2’. Since setting up the machine I’ve used it a lot – and, in the process, I’ve hit those ducts a few dozen times when handling long stock, creating a collection of small dings and dents from each impact.

For the 13 years I was in that garage shop I was used to not having room to the sides and got in the habit of handling and rotating stock vertically. It’s proving a hard habit to break.

The bottom line is that the saw stays where it is; the ducts can’t, in practicality, be moved. So I’ll just have to change the way I handle stock. Now that I’m vertically challenged, I need to get back to thinking horizontally.

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