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Thread: Virtual Shop Tour(s)... I'll show you mine

  1. #1
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Virtual Shop Tour(s)... I'll show you mine

    I’ve posted in a few other threads about how I have been working in my shop to make it more conducive to instrument building as I’d like to at least give it a try. I have finished a majority of the work and wanted to share with you guys not only because I am proud of what I have done, but also because I would love any suggestions any more experienced builders may have. I also wold love to see how some of you may have arranged your shop and would love to hear methodologies and thoughts on how your work flow operates in the space you have dedicated to instrument building. Aside from my own shop, I have also been in Marty Jacobson’s a few times and think his is great. Of course he always told me every time I’ve come over that he had just cleaned an inch or so of dust off the floor, but its always looked really nice and well maintained, and I can get a good sense of how he works in there.

    So here’s my Shop story….

    I have about 20+ years of professional experience in cabinet building, trim carpentry and woodworking and enjoy it as a hobby as well. When my wife and I bought our house 17 yrs back, my shop was a small room on the exterior of the house, and I made it work. About a decade ago though, we bought a 12’x20' building and had it placed in the backyard for a bigger shop space. I ran a couple of lights and outlets in the 2x4 walls and wired in the male end of an extension cord so I could run a 100 ft extension cord from the house to make it plug and play so to speak. I set it up like many cabinet shops I’d seen and worked in with a big outfeed table for the tablesaw and a long workstation for the chop saw in tandem with the drill press and made the surface high enough to store things under; scrap wood and small electric tools under one side and large tools on mobile bases on the other; wood rack above the chop saw for easy access etc. But I never insulated or sealed the building from the outside elements. So I either sweated through the GA summers or wore extra clothes and ran a space heater in the winter. It has worked for a long time, but it became a space that collected my junk, half finished projects and dust. Being the father of 4 girls, it has also functioned as something of a man-cave... so of course I have a TV out there for entertainment… why not?

    About a year ago, I started thinking I might want to try to build mandolins, but I knew my shop wouldn’t necessarily be sufficient. I’ve also always wanted it to be “better” but have never had the time or resources to do so. So having completed all the “necessary” home remodeling, I decided it was time to supe it up. So I have spent many, many months insulating, sealing, cleaning, organizing etc. my shop. I have particularly gotten a great deal done during the pandemic lock-down,… and here is the result.

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    And so the journey begins:

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    Some of the details:
    1. The superintendent of the construction company that did a big construction project for the church that employs me as their Facility Manager gave me a boatload of insulation batts, so I insulated the entire building with R-19 and reused the coroplast which they used for temporary walls to clad the shop walls.
    2. One wall and 2 of the doors are completely clad in scrap wood from my pile just because I thought it would look cool.
    3. I sealed around all the windows and doors.
    4. I trenched from the closest spot on the main house and ran 3 circuits to the shop for tools (outlets), Lights, and a dedicated quad outlet for “HVAC” (window A/C unit, radiant space heater and dehumidifier).
    5. I added a window to the wall at the end of my chop saw bench so that I could cut extra long stock by sending it out the window.
    6. I built a dedicated bench for detail work. I have always used my outfeed table from the tablesaw as a main workbench. This can be troublesome when there’s something I’m working on and need to rip a piece on the saw. Hopefully this helps.
    7. Bought and set up a small cyclone system to attach to my shop vac for dust collection… can’t say enough good about this! I am amazed at how much suction I get out of my wee little (old) Rigid Shop vac…. (I had a pile of wood dust under my tablesaw that took up 3 garbage bags to get rid of). In conjunction with this, I’ve added functional dust ports to almost all of my big stationary tools.
    8. I built an overhead filter-fan to help remove dust from the air. It is made from an old vent fan an HVAC-tech friend gave me. I built it to use the same size filters as our household HVAC unit. We change them every 2 months because we have a kid with asthma and they don’t get very dirty so I have a ready supply of replacement filters.
    9. I’ve also done a lot of reorganization just to help it function better. Not to mention, I have probably made about 6 trips to the dump to get rid of junk I will either never use or finish.

    All in all, I am very please because I have made it how I have always wanted. Not to mention how well conditioned it is. Not only does it stay cool in there in the heat because it is shaded by some big trees, but if I kick on the AC unit and the Dehumidifier I can be super comfortable in minutes. Even if I only make one instrument and never walk down that road again, I have accomplished creating an awesome space for myself that I have always wanted.

    Critique and make suggestions if you want, I welcome that!

    Now I just need to keep it clean…

    Your turn… show us your shop! Tell us what has worked and what hasn’t? Dust Collection? Climate control? Finishing? How does all this work for you in your shop? ... I'd love to see some shops from pros that make some really high end instruments!
    aka: Spencer
    Silverangel Econo A #429
    Jacobson Nautilus Oval Hole Prototype

    Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.”
    -anonymous

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  3. #2
    Bob Ayers Ranger Bob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Virtual Shop Tour(s)... I'll show you mine

    Spencer - Given that I have a hard time carving a toothpick my words won’t mean much but I think this is mighty impressive. Clean and organized; probably wouldn’t have worked for Mr Givens but I think that’s important. VERY nice!

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  5. #3

    Default Re: Virtual Shop Tour(s)... I'll show you mine

    I'll clean mine up before taking you on a tour. Looks like a hurricane went through it.

  6. #4
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Virtual Shop Tour(s)... I'll show you mine

    Quote Originally Posted by victor seal View Post
    I'll clean mine up before taking you on a tour. Looks like a hurricane went through it.
    Had I given you a "tour" a few months back, you would have thought me a complete slob
    aka: Spencer
    Silverangel Econo A #429
    Jacobson Nautilus Oval Hole Prototype

    Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.”
    -anonymous

  7. #5
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Virtual Shop Tour(s)... I'll show you mine

    I think your shop is just so cool! Not a builder - by a long way! Surprisingly; however, I have known a few builders during my life and spent time in their shops. It's all so interesting to me!

    f-d
    ¡papá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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  9. #6
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    Default Re: Virtual Shop Tour(s)... I'll show you mine

    Quote Originally Posted by fatt-dad View Post
    I think your shop is just so cool! Not a builder - by a long way! Surprisingly; however, I have known a few builders during my life and spent time in their shops. It's all so interesting to me!

    f-d
    ME TOO!... Thats why I want to see some of you other guys's shops!
    aka: Spencer
    Silverangel Econo A #429
    Jacobson Nautilus Oval Hole Prototype

    Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.”
    -anonymous

  10. #7
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Virtual Shop Tour(s)... I'll show you mine

    Very nice! (I have the Appalachian Picking Society cd too. )
    Doug Brock
    2018 Kimble 2 point (#259), 2019 Silverangel Econo A (#446), Eastman MD315, 2020 Morris Oval Flattop A, Eastman MDA315
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  11. #8

    Default Re: Virtual Shop Tour(s)... I'll show you mine

    Nice layout- like the use of the door backs especially. Cleaning, organizing and using materials on hand seems to be the order of the day. I know I’ve been doing a lot of this. Even the estate attorneys are busy with tidying up people’s wills, which is another aspect.
    Bright white walls and everything heavy on wheels are helpful even if instruments are generally pretty small. Also like the use of a high volume fan with the furnace filter: the ceiling HEPA boxes that are sold tend to have insufficient flow even if the filtration is better.
    Enjoy!

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    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Virtual Shop Tour(s)... I'll show you mine

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Brock View Post
    Very nice! (I have the Appalachian Picking Society cd too. )
    Ha!... that's the Roku on my TV playing Pandora, Lol!... I find I get more done with music (Pandora) on, rather than Netflix, Prime or Disney+... but still.
    aka: Spencer
    Silverangel Econo A #429
    Jacobson Nautilus Oval Hole Prototype

    Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.”
    -anonymous

  13. #10
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    Default Re: Virtual Shop Tour(s)... I'll show you mine

    I've only built two mandolins so I hardly know anything. What I've found is that I've needed smaller and smaller tools like thumb planes, small chisels (1/8 in), gouges, files, and rasps. Plus sanding sticks of various shapes and sizes. You'll like making your own thumb planes. Building a mandolin is like birthing a baby in a hospital: there's this tiny fragile thing in the midst of all these large instruments and machines, and you have huge expectations for it.

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    Default Re: Virtual Shop Tour(s)... I'll show you mine

    I appropriated a corner of the pantry/laundry room. I have access to power tools in town, but what you see is what I have at home. The tool chest is my version of the North Bennett Street School’s tool chest.

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  17. #12
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Virtual Shop Tour(s)... I'll show you mine

    LOVE that tool chest!
    aka: Spencer
    Silverangel Econo A #429
    Jacobson Nautilus Oval Hole Prototype

    Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.”
    -anonymous

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    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Virtual Shop Tour(s)... I'll show you mine

    Here is a video from a few years back. The clean room has changed a bit but the machine setup and basic idea is still the same:

    https://vimeo.com/149088032

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  20. #14
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Virtual Shop Tour(s)... I'll show you mine

    I'm jealous! It's very nice. My shop shares space with my wife's car as the depth of our garage is the full depth of the house. I have most of my power tools on wheels so I can make my sawdust outside. I don't roll my bandsaw outside as it doesn't make so much sawdust as the other tools.
    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

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    Default Re: Virtual Shop Tour(s)... I'll show you mine

    I'll hop in too. I don't think I've posted this here. I know I did it for a facebook friend group.
    https://www.facebook.com/dale.ludewi...21429997915849

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    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Virtual Shop Tour(s)... I'll show you mine

    I have visited four mandolin builders' shops (Bruce Weber, Sonny Morris, Dale Ludewig, Matt Ruhland). One thing that impressed me is that they all had a zillion tools and that necessitated strict observance of "a place for everything and everything in its place". It looks like you have that. Another is cleanliness. As a former flour miller, I am probably more sensitive to the dangers of flash fires (and explosions) of accumulated dust than most. I am impressed with your dust collection system and your overall housekeeping. I know it keeps everything looking nice, but that's not really the point. Safety and health is.

    Put me in line to try out your new mandolins.

    Here's a pic of me and Bruce Weber in one tiny corner of his clean, orderly (and huge) shop near Manhattan, MT.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Virtual Shop Tour(s)... I'll show you mine

    Wow Dale!... what an incredible amount of space!... Thanks for sharing that!
    aka: Spencer
    Silverangel Econo A #429
    Jacobson Nautilus Oval Hole Prototype

    Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.”
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    Default Re: Virtual Shop Tour(s)... I'll show you mine

    Quote Originally Posted by HonketyHank View Post
    ... necessitated strict observance of "a place for everything and everything in its place". It looks like you have that. Another is cleanliness. As a former flour miller, I am probably more sensitive to the dangers of flash fires (and explosions) of accumulated dust than most. I am impressed with your dust collection system and your overall housekeeping. I know it keeps everything looking nice, but that's not really the point. Safety and health is.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Great pic Hank!

    Thanks Hank, I didn't used to care about either of these things and in fact up until about 2 moths ago, I only had an exact place for about half of my stuff. I have been hyper vigilant about that lately and it pays off in spades!... Its a much more enjoyable experience to go putter about out there.

    As for dust collection, as I said above I used to have a pile of sawdust under my tablesaw that filled up 3 big trash bags and only cared a little about it. Then I started this process and one day I was wandering around Rockler and stopped to look at a dust collection thingy and one of the guys that worked there told me his story about how he had been wood working since he was 15 and "back then we didn't care about dust collection ... yada yada yada ... but now 50 years later I have Emphysema..." Plus I have a daughter with asthma and she loves to hang out with daddy in the shop, so those 2 things, got me to start to think maybe I ought to take it more seriously.

    I spent about $30 on the little cyclone unit and about $30 on the canister then bought hoses and connectors and hooked it all up to my shop vac and have been super impressed!

    Cyclone: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Canister: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    aka: Spencer
    Silverangel Econo A #429
    Jacobson Nautilus Oval Hole Prototype

    Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.”
    -anonymous

  26. #19
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    Default Re: Virtual Shop Tour(s)... I'll show you mine

    Love to see more of you guys' shops if you're willing to share!

    I had to take a break from soliver #001 because wifey wants a fancy new gate for her birthday... Why be concerned about burning down the shop while heat bending when you can do it faster blacksmithing with an Oxy-acetylene torch!
    Last edited by soliver; Jun-25-2020 at 8:50pm.
    aka: Spencer
    Silverangel Econo A #429
    Jacobson Nautilus Oval Hole Prototype

    Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.”
    -anonymous

  27. #20

    Default Re: Virtual Shop Tour(s)... I'll show you mine

    My shop's a complete disaster and I don't have any projects that look any where close that good! My wife's after me to get going on the honey-do list list though so I'll prolly have to clean & organize again soon. I'll post a less embarrassing photos than currently available shortly I'll happily drool over y'all's in the meantime though

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