Tom's Shop

Welcome to my shop! It is located in the basement of my house. The room was formerly almost unusable because it would often flood, but we waterproofed it (by hand) and now it stays quite dry. The shop is constructed around the house's central supporting pillar, which is nearly 3 feet thick. The benches and shelves built around this are homemade from plywood, and are left unpainted so I don't have to worry about messing them up. As well as having this large central area, the room is full of nooks and crannies that are also jammed with benches and tools. Let's take a look around.

Here's a shot of the built in bench. Note the Craftsman table saw set flush with it. I keep the area around the saw clear of debris and projects, so that boards can be rested on the bench while being cut. Hanging on the wall are my big drafting tools, like the yardstick, calipers, and T. Also note the drawers and storage space under the bench.

Working our way around the circle, we see another part of the bench. On the corner I keep my hand tools, like the sander, hand jigsaw, and gluegun. The barely visible white thing is a remote for the shop's ventilation system, which consists of 4 heavy duty window fans. Using the remote, I can turn them on and off, as well as set them to intake or exhaust. The system keeps the shop air clean even when I'm sanding or spray painting. You can also see the big jigsaw and bandsaw, both Craftsman. Between the two is a commercial coffee grinder I found at the dump. It makes short work of mulling sand and grinding kitty litter for casting sand.

This is the main work area. It is out of the way of the machine tools, so I can safely keep projects lying around until I finish them. The shelves hold all my basic tools, like screwdrivers, files, drill bits, and vice grips. They are built of pine, and fronted with plexiglass so I can see what's inside. On the top shelf is everything flammable; torches, propane, and oils. The center of the desk is kept clear. The only tool allowed to reside here is my Dremel. To the right hand side are all the drafting things, like pencils, paper, a slate, compasses, and Xacto knives. There is also a bench grinder/buffer that is barely visible in the picture. Underneath the bench on the first row of shelves is a set of tiny plastic drawers with every fastener imaginable, as well as all my big hammers and pry bars. Under all that is my good wood, which stretches from one side of the bench to the other.

This is my electronics bench. It is opposite the main bench. In the drawers are compartments with all sorts of componenents. There are two power strips so plugs are always open, as well as a twelve volt converter so I can work with car/boat stuff. Under the desk are two 12 volt car batteries and a charger, so I can get high amperage 12 or 24 volt as well. On top of the desk are various soldering irons, calculators, thermometers, and multimeters.

This is the corner of the shop. To the left is my 14in chop saw. To the right is the drill press, and a belt/disk sander. Behind these is a shelf with a huge assortment of spray paints. The door leads to an inclined room origninally used to store coal. I use it to store large things, like sheets of foam or plywood.

This is my pride and joy, the scrap heap. It is a collection of metal and machines I've salvaged from hundreds of dump visits and yard sales. On the shelves are sheet, bars, and pipes. On the top are appliances and electronics. On the floor are the big things. You can find almost anything you need in the heap.

This is one of the room's nooks. Here you can see my air compressor and air tools, as well as lots of random stuff I store on two steel shelves.

Here is my homemade kiln. It in constructed of bricks, and powered by two electric stove heating elements. It can run at around 250 degrees for several days if necessary. I use it to slowly dry out refractory and other things I don't want to heat quickly. The temperature gauge suspended on the wall works extremely well. It was given to me, so I have no idea where it came from.

Here's my metal cutting bandsaw. It is cheap and poorly constructed, bought through Harbor Freight, but it works juts fine for my needs. In the corner is another Harbor Freight purchase, my stick welder.

This is my homemade welding bench. It is wheeled, so I can move it anywhere in the shop. The top is covered with bricks, so I can weld right on it. Sitting underneath it is my gasless MIG welder.

This is the potting and molding bench. It is topped with plexiglass to be easily cleaned. Set into it is a basin of potting soil. Off the the side are two sinks. Underneath are an assortment of plasters, sands, and cements.

Copyright 2004 Tom