Shop Reconfig

I recently discovered a PBS program called, “The Woodwright’s Shop.” Actually I think I may have seen it before in the days when we had a television (35+ years ago,) but for some reason, I came across the show online and started watching the back episodes. Host Roy Underhill’s woodworking philosophy differs from mine in that he does not use power tools. Still, when I watch the show, I get lots of ideas of things I can do better and smarter in my own shop.

As I was looking around in my shop the other day, I realized that my table saw is in the center. It has a large table that I can work on if I need to, and much of the work I do out there involves using the table saw to cut lumber. Mr. Underhill’s shop’s center is his workbench. As I’ve watched him work for hours and hours, I’ve come to see the wisdom of this arrangement. My workbench is pushed against the wall, and is cluttered with all sorts of semi-permanent stuff. I almost never use it as a workbench, which is a shame, because it is a good workbench.

The table saw weighs almost 1,000#, and is equipped with inadequate casters. One swivel caster in particular has been repaired numerous times because the weight of the machine has torn the rubber off the caster rim. I found some much heavier casters at Menards some years ago, but haven’t installed them yet.

So my reconfiguration will be to first put the decent casters on the table saw so I can move it around, and move it up against the wall where the workbench is now. The workbench will occupy center stage of my shop, after all the useless junk has been removed from it. When I need the table saw, I’ll pull it out on its shiny new casters, and when I don’t, it will live alongside the wall.

In order to get these new casters to work on the table saw, I had to make some heavy steel plates which will be bolted up under the table saw. These were cut out and ground smooth today. In the next few days, I hope to get the holes drilled, the old casters removed, and the new ones installed. Then we’ll see if my productivity skyrockets.

2 Responses to “Shop Reconfig”

  1. Jeff says:


    Best of both worlds. Workbench on the side. It may catch the junk but it also is where the mechanic’s vice is located.

    Put a second bench in the middle (with a wood/carpenter’s vice); make it the same height as the table saw and then it catches the cut product as it comes off the saw. Keep the table clear for cutting and then you will have an empty surface for working,


    • admin0 says:

      Thanks Jeff. I’d be pleased if you’d come over sometime and show me what you mean. I failed to mention that my miter saw table in on the side of the shop, and it is about 14′ long. I frequently use it as a work surface, and it has two mechanic’s vices on it, one on each end. Seriously, though, I’d love to have you come out and look my setup over. There are a lot of ways I could improve it I’m sure.

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