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A Tour of Mike Louthan's Shop
A Place for Everything
This 960-square-foot dream shop is a triumph of planning.
 

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Mike Louthan's Dream Shop

Like most wood and metal workers, I am very proud of my shop. It is an outgrowth of three previous facilities. Before I was married I lived in a farm house with a couple of other bachelors and had some space there to set up a small area for woodworking. I was lucky enough to marry a wonderful woman who already had a house with a 900-sq-ft, unfinished basement, so this was my next shop. It was great; cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Mike Louthan's Dream Shop

Main wood working room looking North towards electronics room and machine room. Outfeed table w/ air filtering blower below. Cabinet table saw/router station in foreground with 220VAC riser. Overhead compressed air distribution with auxilary ceiling mounted airtank.

But, we outgrew that house and moved on to a larger home with a 2 1/2-car garage. For six years I used the garage and had all my tools on mobile bases. It was quite a project to move things around and try and create projects, yet still clean up enough at the end of the day so we could get the cars inside.

Mike Louthan's Dream Shop

SE corner with large drill press and custom drill press table.

Four years ago, I started planning the shop you see here. I used a lot of info from the book Workshop Book by Scott Landis and actually used an architectural program called Visio to generate over 200 detailed drawings on the layout, placement, electrical and systems prior to even starting to shop for a building. I knew I would only do this once and I wanted it to be as close to perfect as possible.

Mike Louthan's Dream Shop

South wall of main woodworking room with 16' work bench along wall, 2 vises and custom 4' x 8' assembly table with tool drawers below and six compressed air outlets above.

Two years ago, the 960-sq-ft buiding went up in my backyard. I hired a local contractor to actual construct the shell for me--24' x 40' with 2 x 6 walls, 7' ceilings (to meet local codes in my neighborhood) and a metal roof. I insulated and framed the inside as well as installing all the sheetrock and wiring. It took close to a year of working weekends to get it to the point I could move in.

Mike Louthan's Dream Shop

West view of 16' miter saw table area, sanding table and rolling storage bins below for scrap cut off. Home-made roller table for table saw station.

Since I was a child, I always enjoyed building things.. My father was a engineer, as am I, and I have never been afraid to tackle a project. I like to have all the components to complete a project available; and, since I have worked for a couple of manufacturering companies, I am somewhat spoiled regarding quality tools and work environments. Of course, my wife likes having the garage back. I am 47 now, semi-retired and hope to enjoy my hobbies for many years. I hate to admit it but it is really a lot of fun to have friends from out of town drop in and I ask them if they would like to see my "workshed". They expect a 10' x 12' building with a table saw.

I have also inherited tools from my father, grandfather and my wifes father. These tools are very special to me.

Mike Louthan's Dream Shop

Small parts storage of nuts, screws, bolts, connectors and cable harnesses on East wall of Electronics Lab.

Mike Louthan's Dream Shop

Electronics Lab with test equipment, oscilliscope (x2), waveform monitor, vectorscope, VTVM, freq counter, oscillators and hand tools. Equipment rack houses cassette, VCR's (2), AM/FM with stereo distribution to other rooms. Video/audio tie lines to house and other rooms.

Mike Louthan's Dream Shop

Writing Desk, laptop for e-mail, rolling tool cart and electronic component storage in Electronics Lab

Mike Louthan's Dream Shop

Audio and Video Test panel in Electronics Lab.

Mike Louthan's Dream Shop

Low Voltage Control panel for air compressor and central dust collection. Connected to microswitches at all DC blast gates for auto operation.

Mike Louthan's Dream Shop

Metal working bench, torches, grinders, small band saw and polishing equipment.

Mike Louthan's Dream Shop

SW corner with metal cut off bandsaw, air tools, sink and hand power tools. Video monitor above. Fire hose, First Aid cabinet and eyewash station next to sink.

Mike Louthan's Dream Shop

Trust me, take a look at the shop plan pic; it's very legible, not like this thumbnail.

Mike Louthan

Posted 25 February 2003

 
© 2003, All Rights Reserved
Presented courtesy of Ellis Walentine, Wood Central Publishing