Our Digs: The OPC Workshop Tour

March 1, 2012 | by Ethan (email) |

A lot of the popular design sites like to give you a tour of their house as an example of their creative talent. Well, I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’d like to show-off the official OPC workshop, because it’s awesome. Plus, it’s been a few months since we gave you an update.

If you’re a regular reader, you’ve probably already seen elements of our shop like these hardcore workbenches, the wall-mounted lumber storage rack, and the epoxy paint floor coating. If you’re not a regular reader, you should be, and here’s a giant arrow directing you toward our subscribe options. Subtle right?

When I’m not out harassing following contractors, I’m usually in the workshop plugging away on my laptop or piecing together a project. Here’s where the magic happens.

That’s my desk in the middle. It’s surrounded by four workbenches including the dedicated miter saw workstation. The workbenches provide the bulk of our tool storage, and it’s crazy how fast they’ve filled up. Eventually, I plan on putting up a whiteboard, and the area below the mini-split seems like a good spot (see the mini-split being installed).

We have 16 recessed lights and a few rows of track lighting. Even so, it’s still a little dark for pictures, and more track lighting is on the to-do list. We ran all of the conduit, and I love how the red, surface-mount boxes look (more details on that here).

We’ve exhausted our pegboard hooks, and that leaves a few hand tools scattered about when I’d rather have them up and organized. Eventually, Jocie is going to stencil One Project Closer along the top of the pegboard, and I’ve started a small collection of manufacturer’s logos in the middle. You might not be able to see it, but we have 9 different battery chargers setup.

This Craftsman vice is probably the oldest tool in the shop. I estimate it was manufactured in the 60’s, and it’s still going strong. It’s the one piece in our shop that just screams Americana. Fred loves it.

Another creature comfort we have is that TV mounted up on the wall. Fred insisted we purchase one, and I’m glad he did. I use it to play Pandora all day long. Right now I’m listening to Bob Segar’s Old Time Rock and Roll. I get a little concerned about sawdust + electronics, and that’s why dust collection and shop air cleaners are the next items I’d like to add. I was thinking about cutting holes in the ceiling and mounting the air cleaners in the attic space above the shop. Anyone else use an air cleaner? Anyone ever make their own?

The Steel City table saw is a recent addition, and I’m still undecided on whether I like it or not. It took forever to assemble and calibrate. Then the belt came loose and SC had to ship me a replacement. That wooden sawhorse makes for a great out-feed support though. Another future project is to drop electric nearby so I don’t have to run extension cords on the floor.

Other than the things I mention, what else should our workshop include?

36 Responses
  1. Lisa-Fred's sister says:

    Hey guys your workshop looks so great and very professional. You guys are doing a great job.

  2. Simon says:

    This looks awesome! Definitely what I’d consider tool and DIY pr0n!

  3. Eek565 says:

    Looks awesome guys. I think you made a wise choice to put in so much lighting. You can never have too much when it comes to a workshop.
    I’m excited to see some reviews on dust collection as I’ve recently started getting into woodworking a little bit.

    • Ethan says:

      Right now the lighting is just good enough that I can see without problem so the motivation to finish more track lighting is low.

  4. What’s the model number on the SC Saw? I have the Ridgid R4512 (that’s also made by SC).

    I started small with dust collection. Currently just on the table saw but will expand as I add more woodworking tools. I think I’ll build a Thein separator next to keep most of the dust out of the shop vac.

    • Ethan says:

      Hey Jeff, the model is 35990G. I’m curious if you have the Ridgid version and what you think.

      I looked at the Thein separator- very cool. Depending on how my quest for better dust management/ air cleaners go, I may build one too. Thanks for the tip.

      • I guess the 35990G is the same as the R4511. A lot of people love(d) the 4511 (especially on LumberJocks). Cabinet mounted trunions, no rust ever on the top (since it’s stone), still had the two piece rail but a very capable saw. I tried to get a 4511 when Home Depot clearanced them for $300 but all my local HDs were tapped out. I waited for some of the bugs to get worked out of the 4512 and then picked one up. I really like it so far except for the stamped steel wings.

  5. wow! I love this guys. one day! & thanks for sharing. ~jb

  6. William says:

    I’m calling BS. There’s no way that’s a WORKshop. It’s far too clean for any work to have ever been done. I’m thinking that any project pictures in there were staged, like the pictures and video of men landing on the moon.

    • Ethan says:

      Hehe… like the moon landing….. hehe! I spent about 2 hours cleaning the place before I took these pics. It’s amazing how much sawdust even one cut with the miter saw can make.

  7. haus356 says:

    Love the workshop. I’m in the process of long-term planning to organize my garage/workshop, which will pull double duty. I’m definitely planning on lots of light and I love the concept of the movable workbenches, especially the miter saw stand/adjoining appropriate height table for feeding material. A tv would be nice but that probably won’t happen.

  8. Jake says:

    Looks great, buying a house with a similar sized garage. Hope to make it look at least half as nice as that!

  9. paintergal says:

    Mine would have to have a sewing machine. 🙂

  10. Joe says:

    looks nice. are you planning on making a more permanent workstation instead of just working on a folding table?

    Cant you just put the plug for the table saw in the space between the two garage doors?

    • Ethan says:

      I had sort of envisioned a drop for electricity and a drop for air right next to each other in the ceiling. An outlet between the doors is probably more practical though.

  11. MissFixIt says:

    Looks super professional I say you need a bar fridge. Who doesn’t need a drink while working away.

  12. MissFixIt says:

    Also a good security system that looks like 1000s of dollars worth of gear. I say you install a camera in there too.

    • Ethan says:

      We plan on swapping the garage doors out for some insulated ones, and they will have the windows up high to help avoid prying eyes.

  13. Nice work, although, i’m not totally sure exactly what it is you guys use the workshop for.. Where’s the dedicated blogging station?

    • Ethan says:

      That dinky fold up table is where I do most of my blogging. The shop has been great for testing tools, building things (like my handmade bottle opener).

    • Fred says:

      I think of the shop as the place we go between Pro Follows. It’s the place where we work on content when our contractors are busy on projects we aren’t following. I know that today, Ethan drove 1,000 screws as part of our Drill Driver test. The results were surprising to both of us. Can’t wait to share the article.

  14. Paul&Aundrea says:

    With all that lighting, it looks like the set of a t.v. show. Another blog I follow is starting a DIY mini-series type thing. Any chance of that for OPC in the future?

    • Fred says:

      What’s funny is that even with all the light, we could still use more. The black ceiling absorbs a lot of what would be reflected light (but the look is awesome!) Right now we have about 1600 watts over 500 square feet (3 watts/sq. ft.) The plan is for another 1500 watts in track lighting to go up, which will bring us to about 6 watts/sq. ft., which is enough light for just about any scenario. It also allows us to get directed light for pictures of tools.

  15. That is a dream workshop! I love the electronics and big black peg board. The black ceiling is awesome looking but yes you’ll need a lot more light because of it. Holy cow 6 W/sf! ASHRAE 90.1 is down to 1.2 for workshops ( I wish someone could convince the architects on my project that surface mounted boxes were OK for the utility side of the high bay laboratory I’m designing right now so we didn’t have to run all of the conduit through concrete walls.

    • Fred says:

      It was an interesting experience to actually paint the ceiling black with the can lights on. You could literally see the room darkening in this eerie way as we spread the black out. What we’ve got today is plenty fine for regular work lighting. Problem is that we take close up pictures of tools in multiple areas and we want to be able to eliminate shadows in those photos but retain a dramatic look. But everyone should know that the lighting is controlled by dimmers on a bunch of different switched circuits, so we can a lot of flexibility NOT to have all 3,000 watts of light lit up at once!

  16. robert says:

    Nice job, I’m jealous. Are you worried about the computers and tv with sawdust? I’e heard you canget a cover [like a shower cap] for the tv.

  17. doublemint2x says:

    Snap this workshop is awesome. So many nice features I would love to incorporate into mine. 1st on the list is the epoxy floor. Brings such a great finished look to the place. The place looks super organized with all the work benches. Also, I really like the track lighting. Great idea; the place is looking great.

  18. Tim Rowledge says:

    Get dust collection sorted out before you get annoy more tools. Your lungs are quite important to future happiness – much more so than the electronics . Skip the cheap units and go straight to a serious 3+ hp cyclone that can use 6″ or 7″ ducting. Keep the ducting as big as possible as far as possible and only choke down to the tool’s outlet at the last minute. Get a remote for it so you will actually use it every time.
    People tend to think of planers and jointers as the tools that need DC but those little sanders can produce huge clouds of the nasty small, persistent dust that really damages you.

    • Ethan says:

      Hey Tim,

      Thanks for the tip. I do like my lungs, and so far, have trusted that opening the garage doors will get rid of most of the dust. Even so, I’m always shocked by how little our shop vac can eliminate. I’ve been ogling some Delta DC units so we’ll see if that happens.

      I think this is the first time I’ve seen you around OPC. Just wanted to say welcome and thanks for commenting.

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