Sunday, April 30, 2017

Workshop Makeover, part 14 - Dust Collector Closet - Removing Shelves

It's been a couple of weeks with little progress. I wish it was because of all the awesome outdoor stuff I've been doing but alas it is something much more prosaic. My elbow has been paining me since sometime during the basement clean up in January. Stupid weak software engineer physique. Anyhow, after two weeks of rest and some really good anti-inflammatory medications I'm back to working on my dust collector.

I didn't get much time this weekend as I did have other things to do; however, I got a couple of hours of knocking apart the old shelves.

The top row of 2x3s were added by me when I needed auxiliary wood storage. They came down pretty easy since I'd just screwed them in place with deck screws. Zip-zip and they became a pile on the floor.

Unfortunately the person who put up the shelves originally really liked nails. That meant hammer swinging and nail pulling. I did seriously consider pulling out my sawzall and just cutting them out but decided it would be better to knock them apart. It did let me know that my elbow isn't completely healed yet but now I have a nice pile of 2x2s, 2x4s and particle board ready to be taken out to the curb on the next garbage day.

Much better. I'm probably going to discard the 2x2s and some or all of the short 2x4s. There's some utility left in them but not a heck of a lot and they'll take up storage space. Maybe I'll find something to do with them; however, all that particle board and probably the flake board is going to the curb.

I had a little bit of time left so I took a closer look at where exactly the next set of shelves would end. This is important because I'm going to support one side of the next set of shelves with the closet wall. I'll go into more detail on the shelf construction in the next post but figuring out where the inside wall of the closet was going to land allowed me to take a closer look at the space inside the workshop.

The wall is going to come out just to the right of the steel post. That post is also pretty much in line with the wall to the left. Framing around it will be a little tricky maybe but probably not too bad. My woodworking friend who helps me pick up lumber on occasion is was worked construction before so he'll be able to give me tips and suggestions.

I'm definitely pulling the two upper cabinets and the lower cabinets. I think I'll move the lower cabinets back to where my laundry machines are. That'll give me storage for laundry supplies and other household chemicals I don't want just sitting out. It'll also give me a counter top for folding laundry. The upper cabinets pose a bigger question.

I have some shorter upper cabinets to the right of the post that I could replace with the taller ones.

There is a vent there that might make things more complicated but I might just prefer to close it off to help keep dust out of the rest of the house. With the taller cabinets I'd have to readjust my pegboard but that was really just a short term storage solution for the things I pulled off my old peg board. In fact that is a piece of my old peg board that I cut down so no great loss.

Whatever extra upper cabinets I have - short or tall - will probably get moved to the garage.

Next steps:

  • Empty and remove the cabinets
  • Demo the wall
  • Build the closet
  • Finish the shelves

Monday, April 17, 2017

Workshop Makeover, part 13 - Dust Collector Closet

My next project in my workshop makeover series is to build a closet for my dust collector.

Why a closet you ask? Well, my dust collector has regular bags that collector dust sized down to a few microns; however, that still means that some very fine dust still gets through. Basically the very fine dust gets sucked from the tool and then gets sprayed into the workshop air. I wear a dual canister respirator made by 3M AO Safety - I feel those paper masks are worthless - but since I have a beard it doesn't seal perfectly. By putting the dust collector in its own little room I can keep the dust a little further away from my lungs.

It sounds like a great plan. huh?

Well, there are a couple of complications. The first problem is where to put the closet. I don't really want to take any useful space away from my workshop so sinceI haven't solved how to access extra-dimensional space that means bumping out a wall. Wherever the closet goes I need to be able to get into the closet to empty the bags. I also need to take into account where my ducting will run. As a minor consideration I need to make sure the room is vented. It will be sucking in huge amounts of air into the closet and I need to give it a way out.

This last consideration is the easiest to solve. I'll leave a hole in the closet wall or door the size of a HEPA furnace filter. As a bonus, if I can route the air into an area outside my shop I'll be able to put my workshop in negative pressure so air will tend to flow in rather than out carrying dust. Also I think I have an idea of where to put the closet.

There are cabinets there now but that can be fixed. Now I'm hearing the hew and cry, "But that's storage!" Well yes, you are correct; however, it isn't very good storage. The cabinets really aren't sized appropriately for most of my tools and to get to them today I need to walk around the table saw and climb over the dust collection hoses on the floor.

These two factors make them less than ideal. I'd rather trade the utility of storage cabinets for freeing up the floor space my dust collector is currently occupying. Also, with the addition of my new workbench I have plenty of storage in the shop.

The second concern with this space is that just taking the cabinets out will not be enough. I'll need to bump out into the space behind my workshop. This space today is currently occupied by some shelves that were build by a previous homeowner. They are pretty basic and utilitarian. They hold stuff off the ground but I've been wanting to upgrade them for a number of years now. I think I can store all the same stuff I have on them now by purging stuff that I don't need and better utilizing the space with more modular shelves.

Rough diagram of closet and collector

The back wall of the closet will be in a hallway and I can build in my vents there to get the air outside of my shop. Sure it will be venting right by my utilities but I'll have HEPA filters cleaning the air before it leaves.

The location will also be convenient for a direct run along the floor to my table saw and close enough to where it is now to be able to run a couple of drops to the ceiling and miter saw. I'd like to put some floor sweeps in too but I'll have to put some more thought in first. I haven't even decided whether I want to use metal or PVC pipe for the dust collection. (Yes, I know about PVC building a static charge making it possible to trigger a fuel-air explosion with the dust.)

The central beam is low; however, I'll still be able to put a doorway from my shop into the closet so when I need to clean the bags I can keep the dust in the shop an away from the rest of the house.

In actual fact, this blog post is a couple of weeks behind. I actually started the demo of the old shelves a couple of weeks ago and have started building the new shelves to hold all my stuff; however, that's all grist for another blog post later.

Old shelves and corner of sneak peek of new shelves (left side)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

It's Springtime in Upstate New York

Spring has finally arrived in upstate New York.

Flowers are starting to bloom, grass is starting to grow... heck the snow is melting. Okay, maybe that last might be a bit of hyperbole. We haven't seen snow for at least a few weeks now. The biggest signs that it is spring are that I have yard work I have to do, the local Brusters has reopened and it is warm enough I can drive my Miata without gloves and ear muffs.

However this spells the end of my primary woodworking season. It's really tough to spend time in my basement workshop when it's 80 and sunny outside.

I'll be updating my blog periodically until this coming winter when it is woodworking season again. My plans for the summer are principally to continue working on my workshop makeover. The last few weeks I've been working on building a closet for my dust collector. I should be able to get that finished by the end of the summer baring any crises. More about that soon.