depends *PIC*

John K Jordan
I think the types of things you do in your shop can make a big difference in how you organize. Different areas of my shop get different attention. Most of my shop time concerns woodturning and very little with flatwood projects. Those who build cabinets or furniture would have to organize differently

For the woodturning, I did spend a lot of time thinking about my tool organization in my new shop. I had the advantage of experimenting in two previous shops to figure out what worked for me. I made a plan, set it up and barely changed things in maybe 3-4 years now.

Everything I use most is within arm's reach or two steps, two-five steps for things not often used, and storage elsewhere in the shop for things rarely used.

I basically work within a U-shaped area and make heavy use of the walls, cabinets and shelves, a machinist's tool box for small things, and a workbench immediately behind me with shallow drawers and open shelves. I built shelves out of reach near the ceiling for spray cans and things I access with a grabber. I can't think of any way to make this more efficient, not even if I expanded the space.

Best thing I did was panel the walls with 1/2" plywood so I can mount things anywhere.

With a small class in progress:

My little machine shop area is likewise efficient with almost everything I use within reach in drawers under and cabinets over. It only takes me a few minutes get things ready to turn or mill.

However, my welding and metalworking room is a horrible mess. I didn't allow space to store stock or even the tools I use. I have to spend 20 minutes getting things ready every time I want to make or repair something. My flat wood area is likewise a mess - things are spread around the shop and on the tablesaw and it's an effort to get things ready for use. I simply don't have (i.e., have not reserved) enough room for storage space. More space for both of these areas would be a huge help.

However, I sometimes go for months without using the non-woodturning areas. I think my tunnel vision inspires me to organize the things in my focus and let the others slide. A change of focus would require a realignment or shop addition!

BTW, I admire some of the things like racks and cabinets people have pictured for their tools. Some are works of art and fine furniture quality and sometimes their shops look spotless. However, this is something I have no interest in - I spend what little time I have in the shop using the tools (or teaching) rather than working on the shop.


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