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A Tour of Mike Flaim's Shop

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basement shop

My shop spans about half the size of my basement. The former owners used the space as a downstairs living area complete with a pool table. I had to wire up about a dozen outlets and eight fluorescent lights when I moved in.

fluorescent lights

My ceilings are short (6' 10" tall) so I had to place most of the fluorescent lights between the ceiling joists.

dust collector underneath bench

Even my airborne dust collector had to be mounted underneath my bench, as there wasn't enough room to install it above.

hand planes

The biggest obstacle I face is trying to keep dust from going upstairs since my wife can't stand any dust in the house. I really like using hand tools, so anytime I can, I'll pull out a plane instead of a random orbital sander. That saves me from creating a lot of dust.

plane till

Anytime I do any sanding I hook up my Fein vacuum to the palm sander and that eliminates nearly all the dust the tool produces. However, I'm not so lucky with other machines like the tablesaw or routers, so I vigorously clean every night when I'm done. Ironically, I've found that since I keep such a clean shop now, my work is a lot better than it was before. Instead of looking around for a particular tool in a cluttered shop, I can now stay more focused on the fine details of the project. It also helps me find small slivers that accidentally come off the work that I would never find if I had a pile of shavings on the floor.

tool bags

Storage in my shop is quite simple. I have all my power tools and accessories under my benches. I have a bunch of tool bags that I place my power tools in so that the cords don't get tangled up when I try to grab a particular tool.


It was very frustrating to grab my router and end up pulling out my belt sander, jigsaw, and laminate trimmer all at once because the cords were all entangled. This new system works great!

parts cabinet

Another storage solution that I have is a couple of old library card catalog file cabinets that the previous owner left behind. They work great in storing screws and jigs that I use on a regular basis. This was definitely a nice find when I bought the house.

lumber storage

Lumber storage is adjacent to my shop. Unfortunately it's right next to my gas furnace but in this instance I have to make a compromise since it's the only available space I have to store my lumber.

supplemental lighting

A downside of my shop is that I don't get that much natural sunlight so I have to use a couple of clamp-on lights for finishing. Since my ceilings are so low, it's easy to reach up and clamp them to the ceiling joist when I need them. A couple of times a year my shop will flood during a hard rain. The water level doesn't get too bad, as I have a drain in the middle of the floor. Each time it floods I'm reminded of the silver lining that at least my floor gets washed!

Mike Flaim

Posted 28 March 2008

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