Our Woodshop

Two friends & I converted the North end of our barn from the remnants of horse stalls into a woodshop for my wife, Jan. We began the project in September of 2003 and more-or-less finished in April of 2004. First was to move out all the accumulated junk from the area. Then, tear out the tack room and remove the railroad ties that comprised the floor. A local contractor was hired to pour the floor, and we went from there. Stud walls were built, interfacing with the building steel, insulated & drywalled. Filler panels went into the 4' X 8' stall doors, 2 of which have 34" X 76" patio door insulated glass units and inside shutters. The third door will have 2 A/C units to cool & dehumidify during the Summer. We installed a 6" chimney and an 85,000 BTU gas furnace in Bay 2, ducted through the wall. You'll see the bottom of the loft deck in some of the "before" pictures; that was covered with 4" styrofoam panels and 1/8" Masonite. Here's the results:

As described, we first had to remove years of accumulated junk, here, here, here, and here. Also, we tore out the tackroom.

This 16-pole panel is fed from the main panel in the barn. It's full, mostly for the woodshop.
There's plenty of outlets, nearly all of which have both 120 and 240 volt receptacles.
The 3-phase (480 volt) comes through this panel. The motor starters are for the various machines. Note also the compressed air outlet.
Most woodshops today have an air cleaner, ours has its blower upstairs, in this box.
The 3-phase stuff all goes through this junction box in the loft.
Two more junction boxes in the loft make wiring additions easier. The 4X4 box just left of the white pipe is for the table saw feed in the floor; we can easily change from single- to three-phase if required in the future.

Of course, we have a dust collector blower in the loft. All piping is 4" PVC, with a ground wire running inside and connected to the metal building. There's 5 connections in the shop, as seen here with the big drill press and power miter saw. The blower is 6" in/out, with a 2HP motor.

We have 2, 10" table saws, a Craftsman and a Delta. The Craftsman is the "main" one, having a Bisimeyer fence; the Delta will be dedicated to using a dado head. A "filler" panel between them makes it into a large table, serving both saws. Here's the detail of the dust collector hookup and power, running through the floor. You can see the "upcomer" against the wall in the background.

The furnace is in Bay 2, next to the home-made hydraulic press. It's ducted through the wall (wood plenums), with the filter in a frame near the floor and the outlet above as shown here. Immediately to the right is the control panel for the 24" planer and the planer itself. Interestingly, this furnace could have been installed upside-down in counterflow configuration, but we didn't know any better.

The wood lathe sits in the corner. Note the open shutters adjacent, with the tempered glass window. The steel sliding doors are still installed on the outside, they'll be removed when weather permits. Although hard to see, to the right of the open shutters is a 4" I-beam column with a floor sweep on the floor adjacent. Here's the lathe with the shutters closed. The lathe is an older Rockwell, with a Reliance DC variable speed motor drive providing the power. To the left of the lathe is a stand with a 4" belt sander that Jan has rigged to sharpen her lathe tools.

Jan found this Powermatic 20" bandsaw at a machine shop. It has a 2-speed transmission and a variable belt drive, so can cut either metal or wood, with blade speed ranging from about 75 FPM to nearly 4000 FPM. The dust collector hookup is shown here.

Getting into the loft (former hay mow) is done through this hatch, seen from below and from above. You can see the operating pole in the Below picture, it's a 1 1/2" square wood pole with a metal hook on the end that engages a screw-eye on the door.

We have an antique 15" disk sander, bought at the same time as the 24" planer and the 16" jointer. The latter is still in cold storage at this writing.

The heart of a shop is the workbench, ours is an island style, made from 2 old Chemistry Class work tables, fixed back-to-back. We'll eventually build more drawers, giving us a total of 16 on the bench. One view is here, another here.

I like the little touches like this pilot light panel. One light indicates that the 3-phase power panel is energized, another tells you that the loft lights are on.

Besides the big planer, we have a 12" Sears/Belsaw unit with a 1 1/2HP 240-volt motor. One of these days, I'll build a new stand for it, this is how it came. It works well (after a little work!) and can be connected to the dust collector system.

We have an Electric Carpenter that got us started until we got some of the larger, more modern machines. Think of a ShopSmith, circa 1930 and you'll have an idea. It's a 7-function machine: 8" table saw, 6" jointer, 14" bandsaw, shaper, wood lathe, and mortiser. We've used (and STILL use) the first 3 functions. Here's the top, the front, the RH side, the LH side with 2" flat belt on jointer pulley, and the LH side with the crossed belt driving the bandsaw & shaper pulley. Note that the bandsaw can be laid down to clear the table saw top.

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