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Reaping the rewards

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Remember last year when I redid my shop layout? Yesterday I had a minor, but marvelous, experience that showed me just how much better my shop now is.

Late last summer I built a backyard shed, and moved everything not woodworking-related out of my garage shop. This allowed me to do things like build a formal lumber rack and tweak my floor layout for better efficiency. Previously, even though my garage is fairly large I sometimes had to move tools around just to use them. I still keep lesser-used tools on wheels and at the shop perimeter, but now all I have to do is just roll them forward when needed.

I've been amazed at the amount of working space I now have, and how much easier it is to get things done. But yesterday I started and completed a minor task so quickly and efficiently, that I'm overjoyed with my decision last year to commit the time and expense to that shed and my new shop layout.

An online friend needed a few small, but thick, workpieces – specifically, some quartersawn cherry, of which I just happened to have some 8/4 on hand – and the task was to go out and cut the workpieces and get them ready to ship.

Because of my lumber rack, I found the cherry immediately. A quick trip to the band saw and I had the workpieces resawn to rough thickness. I then edged them on the jointer, followed by cutting them to the final dimensions on the table saw, and finally facing them back on the jointer. Along the way I also needed a square, steel rule, marking pencils, miter gauge and other assorted tools and accessories.

Everything was right where it needed to be. I didn't have to move any machine to use it, and nothing else had to be moved out of the way to use any machine. I was able to walk from rack to workbench, to band saw, to jointer, to table saw and back to the workbench several times with smooth efficiency. And when I was done, the shop wasn't the total disaster area it used to be. Short of vacuuming up some sawdust and a few shavings, it was ready to go for the next task.

As it turns out, building that shed outside the shop was the best thing I ever did for working inside my shop.

Till next time,


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