Best three easy improvements to my shop. How about yours?

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I just finished a project and was cleaning up the shop, moving stuff around to get at all the sawdust, putting tools back, etc. I was musing about changes I've made to my workshop over the years, thinking about the successes and the failures. Here's what I came up with for my best three:
1) Compressed air from an overhead, retractable reel. How the heck did I get through the early years without this? I leave my portable compressor hooked up via quick disconnect to a feed line for the overhead reel. I can disconnect and roll out quickly if I need the compressor in the yard, garage, or at a neighbor's. The reel also has a quick disconnect, stuffed with a blowgun when not using any other air tools. This setup is great for woodworking, but the air gets used for all kinds of other tasks, too.
2) Stopped overcrowding the shop with machines. For years, my semi-portable power tools were set up and ready to work. Visions of moving from station to station with effortless efficiency. I thought it made projects go faster. The opposite is true. As I run low on space, the shop gets messy and projects begin to crawl. Now I take out the miter saw, belt/disk sander, scroll saw, etc. only when needed. The rest of the time, I enjoy the free space around the bigger machines. The shop stays much cleaner.
3) Rolling tool chest. You know, the mechanic's type. Just a low end, stacking unit from Lowes. Measuring tools, wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers, drill bits, etc, stay organized and dust free, and I can wheel the thing around if needed. My pegboarding of all this stuff never stayed organized. Somehow, I manage to keep it neat in the rolling cabinet.
What are your best three easy imrpovements?
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I installed a retractable reel about a week ago but will be relocating it from near the compressor to nearly the center of the shop, because there is only about 21' feet of hose which gets caught up on the TS and other equipment when I drag it over to the workbench on the wall opposite the reel.
Five wall cabinets to hold and hide lots of stuff! Plus keep most of the dust off those items.
An overhead retractable 110V cord with a 3-outlet molded plug.
Can I give more than three? Here goes:
painted the walls semi-gloss white.
Lot's of light: 11 4 foot fluorescents in a two car "studio" <g>
Weather striped the door to stop drafts; the shop is much warmer in the winter because of that one improvement.
Just added a TV last week to supplement the CD player, cassette player/radio.
What I'd like to have but won't (do to one thing or another)
1. Utility basin 2. A John 3. more R-O-O-M 4. higher ceiling 5. wood floor
dave
Rich Stern wrote:

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<SNIP>

Where did you find retractable reel at what cost?
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Sears has them for about 15 - 30 bux.
wrote:

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jev wrote:

whiplash back into the reel. The Sears version will eventually break. Mine did after about 1 year of use. Had to buy another one.
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Stop letting the kids play jump rope with it!
dave
JAW wrote:

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Harbor Freight has one that normally sells for $80 on sale for $40. Includes 25 feet of 3/8" hose. Seems like a pretty nice setup. Check back in a couple of months for my review.
Dave
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sears, for $29.95 on sale. same exact model that a favorite mail order company of the Wreckers sells for $54.50.
Hint: it's a Canadian company
Hint number 2: The item is on page 222 of the 2003-2004 catalog.
dave
dave
jev wrote:

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wrote:

I got mine at Auto Zone and I think it was about $29. If you dont have Auto Zone in your area, check whatever passes for auto parts store.
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Why the wood floor Dave and is this in preference to concrete ? I am about to set up a new shop and wondered what was better. Puff

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Puff Griffis wrote:

Wood floors are easier on the feet and legs. It does not seem like much, but there is a big difference. New floors are not always practilal, but rubber mats whee yo stand the ost are a big help. Two or thee are a "must" in a good shop. In front of the bench, in front of the sander, the band saw, the table saw. -- Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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You are asking this is a wood news group? Seriously, concrete is hard on the bones & cold. Got mats from CostCo. Really like them but hard to sweep up; so's I don't. Except Mama.....never mind. If you afford it, go with wood floors.
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I'd really, really, like to reorganize my shop for better efficency. Its the basement, divided into 3 areas currently. One corner was a darkroom/laundry area. No darkroom now, and I plan to make the laundry area smaller to enclosed the washer/dryer/tub acessible by bifold doors. There is a dividing wall along the middle of the basement, running alongside furnace and hot water heater. On my "shop" side (dirty side), I cram a workbench, a tool cabinet, table saw, band saw, drill press, and soon, a jointer. The table saw is on wheels. The Band saw and drill press will soon be. The jointer will be too. On the floor under shelving, I have my planer, drill doctor case, plate joiner case, a small electric heater, shop vac, a model plane in progress, and a couple of small rubbermaid tubs. On the other side of the shop around the furnace, I have 3 rubber maid "wrap and store" containers for my model airplane cover, a 6' high wheeled rack for model airplane wood sheets, a roll around upright rack for model airplane wood sticks, a couple of boxes of stuff, some rolls a of naughahyde, and lots of wood leaning against the water heater. Plus a rolling toobox and air compressor.
The other half of the basement (which has the laundry corner), I have a 4x8 table intended for building parts of my full size plane when I get to it. One wall holds model airplanes. Another wall is taken up by steel shelving, the 3rd wall has shelving, my reloading bench, a gun safe, and a plastic desk holding my miscellanous hunting stuff (clothes, cases, etc). Next to the laundry corner are 2 plastic shelving units, a half size metal shelf, basement dehumidifier, and miscellanous stuff.
So yeah, things are tight.
And no, I don't have a garage!
I need storage! agh!
John
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wood is the preferred floor for several reasons:
1. drop a chisel, tip down, onto a concrete floor. what do you get? a damaged tool. drop it on wood instead. what do you get? satisfaction!
2. easier on the feet and legs.
3. a bit warmer than a concrete slab.
That's all that comes to mind at the moment. I'm sure others will chime in.
dave
Puff Griffis wrote:

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Do they ever land any other way? <G>
Barry
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On Sun, 08 Feb 2004 12:27:57 GMT, B a r r y B u r k e J r . wrote:

If you wrap a piece of buttered toast around the handle, butter pointing outwards, then it will land on the handle ;)
--

Frank

http://www.freebsd.org /
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Would you still recommend wood in a commercial shop environment? What about one with radiant heating? Anyone here ever use removeable wood flooring "panels", a la the Boston Garden?
JP
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I have been following this thread with some interest and note that no one has listed a dust collector or dust collection system among the top 3. I have been considering adding one to my shop and now I wonder if it is really a significant improvement.
John
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On Thu, 12 Feb 2004 04:09:13 GMT, "John Broadway"

It's a big improvement, but for many of us it wasn't easy. Doing my DC installl was a long slog for me. So I didn't think installing a DC really fit the question posed by the OP.
Tim Carver snipped-for-privacy@twocarvers.com
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John Broadway wrote:

YES. If you have or plan to get a planer you NEED one. They make a lot of chips. Saves me a lot of cleanup at the saw also as it get 90%+ of the dust. It is not very efficent for the bandsaw and I still have to hook it in to the sander.
I did not post to this thread so now that I did, insulation and white walls is a big help also.
--
Ed
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