Workshop Idea Book
by Andy Rae

235 x 275mm

Published by Taunton Press Inc, CT USA


ISBN 1-56158-875-X

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As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 139

Have you ever stood in someone else's workshop and thought: Hey, I could do that! or I could make one of those!

Andy Rae was given the opportunity to look at a lot of workshops and he has recorded in his Workshop Ideas Book those magic moments when he saw something unusual that a woodworker had devised to solve a problem or satisfy a particular need.

It's a book full of photos but it has few drawings and no descriptions on how to make any of the items shown. It is purely a book about ideas.

These ideas are grouped into five chapters: What Makes a Good Shop?, The Clean and Safe Shop, Clever Workstations, Storage Solutions and Workshops and Worktables.

It's a book that's designed to be read from start to finish, though you could start at any chapter you think might contain something you may wish to use immediately. It's practically impossible to glance through the book without seeing something to attract your interest.

Take the example of a wide dust extractor inlet placed down near the floor with a blastgate just above it. All you have to do is open the blastgate and sweep the floor rubbish towards the inlet. Presto! A neat, clean floor in minutes.

Of course, many of the ideas are a lot more complicated than that and they're approached more as topics for discussion than as instructions on what to do and how to do it.

Mobile Workstations, Sharpening Stations, Sanding Centres and Vacuum Veneering Setups are given a few pages each. Naturally, many more pages are given to the perennial problem of making the most of the space available.

You may never want to house more than two dozen handplanes in a single cabinet (though there's a beautiful cabinet to copy if you do), but the tall cabinet that swings open to reveal an entire workshop full of hand tools is worth careful study. At the very least it will suggest ways you may use to store different kinds of tools in your own workshop.

Of course, some ideas are better than others. For example, the wheel mounted garbage bin to store the workshop's stock of clamps is surely not as good as the neat wall holders or the movable angled rack.

If your aim is to make your workshop more productive and a better place to work, this book would be a good place to start your planning.

Photos: Colour

Units of Measurement: Imperial



Chapter 1
What Makes a Good Shop

Basement, Garage or Outbuilding?
Laying Out Your Shop
Shop Floors
Getting Good Light
Using Compressed Air
Controlling Your Shop's Climate
Doors and Other Forms of Egress

Chapter 2
The Clean and Safe Shop

Keeping a Clean Shop
Body Armor
Safety Jigs
Making Machines Safer

Chapter 3
Clever Workstations

Work Supports
Auxiliary Tables
Mobile Workstations
Multipurpose Setups
Sharpening Stations
Sanding Centers
Vacuum Veneering Setup
Finishing Areas

Chapter 4
Storage Solutions

Stashing Wood
Storing Tools
Clamping Gear
Hardware and Supplies
Sanding and Finishing Supplies

Chapter 5
Benches and Worktables

Assembly Tables