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A Tour of Mike Rubes' Shop

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Hello, all. This was something I always meant to do at Badger Pond and just never got around to it, so here goes now.

Living in an apartment in our previous location didn't really offer me many chances to build things, so once we got this place, I started to outfit my shop. I've had what I would consider dedicated shop space for about five years now. Unfortunately, our house doesn't have a garage or basement, so my mom-in-law lets me keep my tools in half of her two car garage. I'd done only flat work until last March when I bought a Jet Mini lathe. Since then, the flat work has really taken a hit, but I've turned 50+ bowls and vessels. :)

outside view of shop

Here's a view of the outside of the garage.

front end of shop

This view shows the front end of the shop with table saw, jointer, lathe and dead AMT bandsaw. I borrowed the bandsaw from a buddy who wasn't using it and when I went to adjust the blade tension, CRACK! and 10 seconds later I am holding the upper wheel in my hand... He was actually very understanding about it. I'm still looking for a replacement part, but they seem few and far between. You can also see the clamps along the back wall and the dust collector, which I roll around as needed.

The bed and desk and small table are refinishing jobs that I've not gotten around to. I use the desk to hold things (planes mostly), so would have to build a something to replace it when I refinish it.

sweeping not done here

Second shot is a view of more of the same. Obviously, I didn't sweep. The pack of shingles under the lathe help with stability.


Third view is looking back towards the rear wall (garage door is to my back taking the photo) and you can see the back bench. My wife's father used to sell laminated beams and he made that bench. It weighs a ton! I've thought of one day trying to convert it into a woodworkers bench, I've just never done it. It's way too long for that now and only about 14 inches deep, so would have to take some work. Still, it works great as a place for the drill and other stuff.

The red tool box contains lathe stuff. The black cover besides the miter saw is my 12.5" planer. There's also a compressor and the world's flimsiest router table on the floor. Just to the left beside the license plate you can just make out the side of the dorm sized refrigerator.

Also, what is my only piece of "old iron" is my drill press. It was my wife's grandfather's and I got it after her grandma died a few years ago. It had been sitting unused in her Ames, IA basement for 15 or so years. It's been flooded twice, but the water never reached the motor or quill, just the base. I stripped it down, cleaned and greased and removed all the rust and it works great. Only parts that I replaced were the plug and the drive belt. The old belt seemed to run OK, but I had some link belt around and used that. It's really heavy for a benchtop drill. Lots and lots of cast iron on it.

wood supply

Fourth view is back looking across the bay with some wood in the foreground.

That's some oak, ash and eucaplyptus from some recent ice storms around here. Also a good view of the bed that needs refinishing.

power tool storage

This one is looking across the saw towards the empty bay. The door is actually a closet where I can keep things like routers and jigsaw and nailguns, etc. I use the wood cabinet for a general catchall for things like nails, drill, bolts, screws, etc.

happy face

Why is this guy smiling?

  1. It's because he'd just been turning and...
  2. he'd just delivered a serving tray to the guy who owns the dead bandsaw. :)

small tray

Here's a pic of the tray:

(how did he get that tray to come out rectangular on the lathe? Ed.)

The tray is about 13x23, made out of cherry with padauk splines. This my first attempt at a compound angle cut. Not too bad, but gluing took some time and thought.

the 'employees'

Finally, here's a shot of my two favorite guys, Calvin and Sam, helping me put up some bookshelves I made for our house.

Anyway, that's about it. Sorry for being so long winded. Thanks for looking.

The shop's never really clean and it needs lots more light, but I like spending time there and have lots of fun.



Posted 4 March 2003

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Presented courtesy of Ellis Walentine, Wood Central Publishing