Over time, you'll build furniture for your shop. It'll be designed around you.
Your furniture needs to give you, a work height that you find comfortable. Your tools need to be able to carry out the tasks they were designed for with ease and above all, safety!
Here's a tip, stand up straight, hold your arms by your sides and measure the distance from the ground to your wrists, (knuckles if you'd like the table to be a little lower so you can more easily lift heavy furniture up there).
I prefer wrist height.
Whatever that height is. That's the height you should make your work surfaces.
You'll be in your shop for hours, sanding, planing, routing etc. You need to make sure that you aren't giving yourself back problems or more fatigue than you need to.
Here are some of the pieces I've built over the years. They've served me well but I'll be improving on them in upcoming episodes and I recommend that they are tailored to your needs.
You'll become very acquainted with 3/4 inch MDF.
It's cheap to work with and stable so you don't have to allow for wood movement.
Most hardware stores will cut down a 4x8 sheet for you. Even if it's more MDF than you need, I recommend having a shop surplus of this stuff, You'll use it for everything. It's also more economical that way.
You'll use a lot of 2x4's from your local hardware store as well.
I had my jointer and thickness planer by this point so I went the extra mile and milled mine for the simple workbench you see here but you really don't need to bother.
Quick lesson - Most 2x4 stock you buy is branch wood.
That mean's it's under crazy cell fiber tension. In short, when you cut it, you can expect it to bend as your blade cuts through it. Softwood 2x4's will teach you more about celular wood movement than any other wood you'll work with.
Here's an example of how bad that can be.
OK so let's start with the first and most important piece. The outfeed table for your table saw.
If you get a contractor table saw, you need to accomplish a few things here.
You need to design your furniture so that the top (bed) of your saw is ideally 1/32 inch above the bed of the outfeed table.
You can get away with up to 1/16 inch but just make sure that the stock you are cutting doesn't have to bend down or drop much to rest on the outfeed.
Next, you want the table height to be comfortable (as already discussed).
Ideally, you also want to be able to cut a full 4x8 sheet of down single handedly. For that, depending on space, you might want to design in there some left side support.
Let your imagination create the solution and get to building.
When I built mine, I had space saving in mind so I opted to go without the side support.
HERE'S WHERE YOU START TO REALIZE WHY I MADE SUCH AN ISSUE ABOUT THE SHOP FLOOR!
You're going to want to buy some adjustable feet.
With them, you can set your work surface up so that it's perfectly level.
You'll find that typically a garage floor slopes toward the door so these guys come in handy, believe me.
Next up, the miter station.
You could just buy a small, contractor miter station but they won't give you the functionality of a shop made one.
This thing is absolutely indispensable.
Having the ability to drop a plank on there, push it up against a measured stop and make repeatable and fully supported cuts is priceless... Wow... The time saved alone makes building a good miter station worth the time.
I chose to create lots of shop storage under mine as well.
You'll notice there are no doors. That was a conscious decision.
I knew everything in there would be covered in dust but I also knew that opening and closing doors would be a hassle. They get in the way, cost time and eventually need maintenance. They also would have added to design and build time which I didn't have at the time.
I'll leave it there for now.
If any of you would like plans for anything you see here, let me know, I'll convert my Sketchup CAD drawings into plan form and put them on the blog.
I'll be redesigning a lot of my shop furniture over time so keep an eye out for that. I'll actually show you the time lapse design process as well so that should be cool.
As always, I hope this has been useful. Don't forget to share this blog with your friends and come back tomorrow where I'll be taking a look at shop space planning.
See you then.