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Wants versus needs

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I have a very long list of things I want for my shop; what woodworker doesn’t? However, I don’t really need much of what’s on that list. When it comes to a shop wish list, it’s all a matter of needs outweighing wants. Ignoring most of that list for now, let’s concentrate on two items.

I want an easier way to plug in my table saw and some other tools. My saw (along with its large outfeed/assembly table, and a router table in the saw extension) is in the center of my garage shop. Immediately adjacent to that is my jointer. These two machines, along with smaller tools like router table and sanders, are powered with a drop cord from the ceiling.

That’s not a problem, but I’d really like a way to keep some of those things plugged in all the time instead of having to swap out plugs on the drop cord. This isn’t a huge deal – none of the machines on this ceiling circuit ever run at the same time and some, like the router table, I use only occasionally. There’s no real permanent way to address this without running something across the floor or interfering with the garage door. And I don’t want or need that hassle.

I need better dust collection. I have a small dust collector and it’s great for my planer, band saw and other tools located near the wall, but I can’t use it for those machines in the center of the shop without dragging a hose out every time I use a machine. There’s no permanent solution for the same reason I can’t eliminate that drop cord for electricity: having something running across the floor or interfering with the garage door. So for the meantime I use that dust collector for the tools along that wall, and run an air cleaner for ambient airborne dust and periodically sweep up the bigger stuff when using the machines in the center of the shop.

These two issues come to mind every time I use the machines in their respective areas. I’ve addressed each in the best way possible, given my logistical and monetary situations, and my solutions are workable. But one isn’t what I want, while the other isn’t what I need.

It’s a constant balancing act, but as long as I can maintain that balance, I can achieve a compromise that gives me efficiency. And that’s something I both want and need.

Till next time,


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