Once a year I try to do a woodworking shop tour video. I mainly do this for myself because I want to see all the ways my shop evolves over the years. My tools improve, my organization improves, and my processes improve.
Perhaps, You, my customers will also find my shop tour interesting. It gives you an inside look to where your Dog Kennels, furniture, or cabinetry is built.
About My Shop
The Shop isn’t anything special, other than I love it and having it allows me the opportunity to do what I love every day. It’s a 3 car detached garage and was one of the major reasons we bought our very-much-still-in-progress fixer-upper house. We converted about a third of the garage into a craft room for my wife. She loves to quilt. This leaves me with about a 450 square foot space, and the front yard to build things.
Working from Home is a Blessing
It’s so nice to be able to walk 10 feet to my work every day and eating lunch with wife and small kids every day is a blessing that I don’t fully appreciate.
My son is in and out of the shop 100 times a day, pulling out tools and “helping” daddy and Devin. He mostly makes a mess and slows down progress. I need to learn to cherish these moments because soon he’ll start school. My girls (2 and 1) haven’t quite mastered door knobs yet but they’ll find their way into the shop several times a day as well.
Without people like you buying our dog kennels or hiring us to build a unique piece of furniture I wouldn’t have this opportunity. So thank you.
I have several playlists on youtube and be sure to check out the “My Shop” category and the “Lean Improvements” category for all the little things we do to be more efficient in the shop.
Build a Boring Workbench
If your new to woodworking “The Perfectly Boring Workbench” is a great beginner woodworking project and will literally be the foundation for your future projects. It’s simple and will be a great addition to your Woodworking Shop.
I needed a new workbench. After spending days on Youtube watching video after video on the “Perfect” “Ultimate” Workbench, I was more lost than ever on what I needed for my shop. After several failed design attempts to create my own “ultimate” workbench, I decided to go in the complete opposite direction.
What was the simplest, easiest workbench that I could make that would meet the following criteria?
Large enough to use as an all-purpose table saw outfeed table, assembly table, and work area
Strong enough to be used and abused in a production shop every day
Relatively easy to move around
Provide flexible storage that I could customize as my needs develop
Built for less than $100
Easy for new woodworkers and DIYers to build themselves with limited tools
I did it. I created a basic, common, cheap, no bells, no whistles, boring workbench…and I LOVE it. Thus the name, “The Perfectly Boring Workbench.”
Build Your Own
I decided to publish a set of easy-to-follow plans along with this video. They should be easy enough for a new woodworker or DIYer to follow. You’re local Home Depot or Lowes may even be able to cut everything to size for you in the store.
One tool or rather set of tools you may want is the Kreg Accu-Cut System. This is an attachment to your circular saw that will aid you in getting straight accurate cuts.
Two 4’x8′ Sheets of 3/4 Plywood (Other Materials like MDF are fine I just prefer plywood)
Two 4″x4″ Posts 8ft long (Or Four 2x4s doubled up for the legs)
Get the Step by Step Plans
The Perfectly Boring Workbench is easy to make. It’s even easier with our step-by-step plans. The plans include a full material list, cut list, and assembly instructions. Purchasing our woodworking plans helps us put out more and better blogs and videos.
Straight boards are essential to quality woodworking, however, I’ve yet to buy a perfectly straight board. This easy to make jig can be made in a few hours and will definitely up your woodworking game.
A Jointer is a woodworking tool that is used to get a perfectly straight edge on a board. You cannot typically do this on a table saw because the curve of the wood will follow the fence and you’ll be left with a narrower curved board. A Jointer is a specialized tool that is able to deal with the imperfect boards to get them straight. They are also expensive ranging from $400-$3000.
Also, I don’t really have room for one in my shop. But I can achieve the same results faster and a whole lot cheaper with a jointing jig for the table saw. With this jig, I’m able to get perfectly straight edges on lumber up to 2x12x96. That’s a little overkill for most folk so you can make a smaller one that better suits your needs. The jig uses plywood, which will have a straight edge from the factory and inexpensive toggle clamps.
I recently purchased the Ridgid 10in Heavy Duty Portable Table Saw (R4513) to replace my Hitachi C10RJ Table Saw (Sigh). The Ridgid R4513 has a great fence, plenty of power, and a “gravity rise” stand. I’m mostly happy with this saw and can trust it on the job site unlike the Hitachi.
One area that really could use improvement on the Ridgid Jobsite Table Saw is dust collection. I’ve really been on a dust collection crusade recently, because of the health benefits, time saved in clean up, and an overall more enjoyable woodworking experience.
I noticed fairly quickly that the dust collection was poor on my new saw. Looking underneath I found that the shroud was mostly open which didn’t allow for strong suction. I decided to do something about it,
I couldn’t make a shroud cover out of plywood or stiff material because it would interfere with the blade tilt mechanism. Therefore, I simply doubled up some duct tape (sticky sides together) and started closing in the empty spaces. I also used Zero Clearance Tape by Fastcap to quickly make my stock throat plate a zero clearance throat plate and to add some rigidity to my Gorilla Tape shroud underneath the saw.
The results were too good. I actually closed up the saw to the point that air was only entering through the zero clearance throat plate. This caused too much restriction and quickly caused the dust shroud to clog. I cut out a small portion of the duct tape at the front of the shroud to allow for air flow and it works great.
This simple improvement greatly improved the dust collection at my table saw and makes it far more enjoyable to use. I did this to my Ridgid Portable Table Saw but the same method should work on any table saw.
Watch the video below to see how I did this. It should work on any jobsite or portable table saw.
Towing is something that must be done carefully and safely. Tow mirrors increase your ability to see your trailer and surroundings. See how to install aftermarket tow mirrors on your Ford 150. It’s easy.
My shop is completely mobile. This allows me to do everything from building you a Murphy Bed to a full remodel anywhere within our service area. I’ve dubbed this “The Dailey Portable Shop.” This is the fancy name for my 6×12 Cargo Trailer that I have meticulously organized and optimized to serve as my shop.
Pulling this trailer is not without its downsides. The increased traffic in College Station paired with all the road construction has made driving through town stressful. Adding a trailer with into this equation doubles the stress. The Dailey Portable Shop is backed into the driveway of most homes so that we can set up shop in the garage.
So how can I see everything I need to see to do all this safely?
Enter Aftermarket Tow Mirrors
My primary concern in adding tow mirrors is to increase my visibility while backing my trailer. I have small children. It honestly terrifies me that one of them may run behind my trailer while I’m backing it in and I not see them. (Obviously, we try to teach them safety and keep them in a safe space while this is happening but…they’re children who don’t recognize and process the danger. They’re just excited to hear daddy’s truck and want to run out to see me). Tow Mirrors have dramatically increased my visibility.
I did a lot of research to find an affordable, quality aftermarket tow mirror that would fit my 2014 Ford F-150. The reviews online pointed me to 1A Auto, and these Trail Ridge Tow Mirrors for only $173.00. If you’ve looked for Ford OEM Mirrors you’ll know this is a much better deal. These mirrors will fit 2007-2014 Ford F-150s but be sure to double check before ordering.
How to Install Tow Mirrors On Your Ford F-150 (Video)
See it’s that easy.
Keep up with Dailey Woodworks for inspiration in your home and life.
My Truck is my mobile office. I spend a lot of time there. It has also devolved into a filthy disorganized mess. You don’t realize how much clutter and disorganization stress you out until you decide to fix it and feel the burden lift from your shoulders when everything is in its place and there is a place for everything.
The key to making improvements is to label everything so that it is easy to put things back and know if something is off. Too many times we will clean stuff up only for it to be the same mess a week later because we don’t actively create easy ways to sustain this change.
I have to give credit for this hashtag to Warren, one of my youtube subscribers.
What is Lean?
Lean Manufacturing is based off the Toyota Production System that emphasizes continuous improvement and eliminating waste through every single aspect of the production process to provide the best product at the best possible price to your customer’s
I’ve adopted the Paul Aker’s (CEO of FastCap) version of lean which is summed up “Fix What Bugs You.” By fixing what bugs me, my disorganized truck, my work is more enjoyable, it’s easier, and I can do it faster. My mind is now freed from stressing about “where’s my tape measure?” “Where’s my clipboard?” and is now able to better focus on my client’s needs because I’m not stressed trying to find what I need for an estimate.
The Principles of Lean
Lean can be applied to absolutely any area of your life: From how you get dressed in the morning to how you prepare your taxes. By applying Lean principles I’ve knocked 3hrs off the production process of my dog kennels (12hrs to 9hrs) and know I can cut it down to six all while improving the quality of my work. Here’s the gist of Lean:
Eliminate All Wastefulness From Your Life and Work – There have been books written on this, but to keep it simple: 90% OF EVERYTHING YOU DO IS WASTE. Stop it!
Continuously Improve by Fixing What Bugs You – Paul Akers of Fastcap calls on his employees to make one 2-Second improvement to their job every day. Think through how you do things, fix that one irking thing, next time it will be faster and more enjoyable.
One Piece Flow – This is the hardest to accept. We think batch work is faster. We’ve been told batch work is faster. However, every study and comparison shows that doing one complete task at a time is faster in almost every situation.
3S – Sweep, Sort, Standardize – This is really the backbone of Lean. You have to clean up, eliminate your waste, and standardize it so that it stays that way
Sweep – Clean up – I when through my truck, pulled everything out, wiped everything down, and vacuumed it out.
Sort – What is necessary? what is waste? I then figured out what do I need in the truck, what should be in the toolbox? What should be in the shop? What needs to be in the trash? There is no value in organizing your waste. Purge!
Standardize – Implement processes, controls, and habits that make your hard work of Sweeping and Sorting stick. Also think through how you used items, where they need to be, and how much of them you need.
Imagine if Congress would just halfway apply lean…
The Before and After of My Truck
For those curious, this is a 2013 Ford F150 SuperCrew Texas Edition with the 3.5 Ecoboost EcoBEAST engine and 6.5ft bed. I need to do an article on why a 4-door half ton truck is almost the perfect vehicle.
I’ve only had my truck like this for a couple of days and I love it. It’s easy to find what I need and more importantly, it is easy to put it back in its place. I’m already seeing more improvements to make it my “Mobile Office.” One thing I did learn is that mailing labels don’t stay stuck to plastic, so I switched to white duct tape.
After almost a year I’ve made 10 big modifications to my trailer design and layout. Mostly these have been gradual improvements as I’ve had both time and money. Some were bad ideas, but even our mistakes can lead us to drastic improvements. If, of course, we learn from them. Enter Trailer 2.0
You can catch up on everything trailer related by checking out my YouTube playlist by clicking here.
If you don’t feel like watching ten 10-minute videos here’s the gist:
Trailer: Cargo Mate 6ft x 12xft V-nose, ramp rear door, side door, tandem axles. I bought this trailer used in early 2016 after cleaning out my savings.
My only shop: This trailer is my only shop. I don’t have a garage, I don’t have a carport, My entire shop (save some specialty tools) fits in this trailer.
It’s a PORTABLE shop, not a mobile shop: Meaning, the trailer acts as a tool room. All my tools, workbenches, require set up on location. They aren’t set up in the trailer. The advantage is I’m able to set up the “shop” where and as the specific job allows for the best workflow. Instead of walking all the way from the work to the trailer for every cut.
Efficiency is the goal: The popular term right now is LEAN. Which can be summed up by: Eliminate Waste! Eliminate wasted space, wasted movement, wasted weight, waste materials… all with the goal of eliminating wasted time. I’ll also note that safety is naturally built into this mindset.
I try to strike a balance between ease of access and space savings. I lean towards ease of access. I work by the job, so the more streamlined I can make getting the right tool without moving unneeded tools the better.
Everything in it’s place and a place for everything. This is the ultimate goal. I’ve gone so far as to label drawer, bins, shelves. I’m not there yet but I’m getting closer.
Make it easy. When it comes to organization if it’s not easy to put back it probably wont be. I’m learning this with my safety items. They’re hard to get to so I don’t use them as I should. Other things, however, are easier to put back in their correct place than they are to misplace. <[That’s the goal]
I use passive restraints as much as possible. Bungees and latches slow me down. They also are forgotten, greeting you with a mess at the beginning of the day. I’m trying to remove these from my trailer, and rely on ledges, gravity, and friction to hold things in place. My table saw hold down is a perfect example of this.
I love it!: Yes I wish I had a large climate controlled building to work out of. However, I get twice as much done out of my trailer than I ever did in my set up shop. I just want the large building to back the trailer up to. I now laugh at people who complain about their two-car garage shops being to small. It’s not you just need to get organized.
For most carpenters, the miter saw is an absolute necessity. It’s a little funny since for the woodworker the table saw would be the most important stationary/bench tool. Now that I’m in the field, it’s the miter saw that sees the most use. Probably 3 to 1 compared to the table saw. (I couldn’t function long without either)
The Delta stand was nice but didn’t hold up to bouncing around in my Rolling Workshop. Neither did my Craftsman miter saw, but that’s a different post.
I replaced my saw and decided to ditch the Delta stand for my own “Shop Made” miter saw stand. Most of the really good crown guys I’ve come across have made their own unique stands to fit their workflow and the type of work they do. Therefore take my design with the idea of using the concept for your own needs rather than making an exact copy.
Getting a different type of miter saw stand like this DeWalt was something I debated for a while. In the end, it was better to make what I wanted/needed than use a commercially available stand. The issue with the manufactured miter saw stands is that they are made as a “one-size-fits-all” product and that just doesn’t work. They’re are too many different miter saws and a huge variance in how they are used. Therefore making your own is the way I thing most people should go.
The stands for table saws are different in that they just hold the saw in position. The table saw itself is all the work surface you need, other than a simple out-feed table. Miter saw stands are asked to do a lot more.
My stand had to do several things.
The first was to break down into a compact package that stored easily in my trailer. The Delta Stand took up A LOT of space. I wanted the stand to break in to 3 pieces: The base, and two extension wings. (I mounted a piece of plywood to the saw itself, so four if you want to be picky)
The second thing was that I wanted at least 4ft on each side of the blade to holdmaterial. I also wanted a large surface that I could lay a 2×12 on without it falling ortipping. Each wing is 4ft long and this gives me almost five feet of support on each side of the blade. That is plenty for my work.
The third thing is that I wanted the stand to be made from on sheet of 3/4″ plywood. Home depot carries some nice Radita Pine 6-ply plywood that I really like for cabinets, jigs, and just about everything. It’s $30.00 a sheet in my area.
I didn’t really have a design in mind when I made the stand, just a concept. The stand definitely needs some improvements, but as far as the idea goes I think it is solid. I’m going to keep refining and tweaking it. One there I may show you how to build this design. But for now I’m just sharing my “proof-of-concept” for you to use for inspiration for your own.
Also here is another DIY stand that a carpenter made to meet his needs. It’s what inspired me to make my own.
Since going into business for myself in November of 2015 I have been working out of my truck. I did as much as possible to organize my toolbox, and have efficient space saving tools (such as my Multi-purpose slab). I did the best I could with just a truck, but it seemed like everyday I would have to make multiple trips to and from my shop.
Sometimes it took two trips to simply get the tools I needed to the jobsite. The rest of the time were the inevitable trips back home to get the one tool forgotten. In the trades time is money; the faster and more efficient you can be the more money you can make. Speed and efficiency also benefit the customer. Being highly organized means the job is completed faster, and a contractor can charge a lower price because he makes up the difference in time saved for more jobs. Furthermore, I was limited in that I was “stuck” only bidding jobs within my small town.
I knew I wanted an enclosed cargo trailer. I’ve known I wanted a trailer since before self-employment was thrust upon me (A true blessing in disguise). My modular shop cabinets, which I build over a year ago, were built in anticipation that I would eventually go into business for myself and have a cargo trailer workshop. I’m determined never to go in debt for my business, and I am proud to say I found the exact trailer I wanted and was able to pay cash for it. Dave Ramsey would be proud.
The trailer I wanted and I bought is a 12ft long by 6ft wide cargo trailer with a V-nose, tandem axles, and a ramp door. My trailer is a 2014 Cargo Mate. I found it used on Craigslist for a fair price and the previous owner took very good care of it. I hadn’t heard of Cargo Mate before this, but the build quality seems higher than many of the other trailers I looked at.
I detail the reasons why I wanted a trailer spec’d this way in the YouTube video below. 6ft by 12ft seemed to me to be big enough to actually be able to work out of, yet small enough to pull with my F-150. I have the smaller 4.6 V8 in my truck so it cant pull as much as my Expedition with the larger 5.4 V8. The 5.4 doesn’t care that there is a trailer behind it, but the 4.6 definitely notices. The V-Nose is primarily for aerodynamics but gives additional storage options. My Father, Father-in-law, and an uncle all recommended that I only consider getting a trailer with tandem axles. Their reasons were as follows: Safer (four wheels vs two in a blow out), Pulls better (tracks better, rides over bumps smoother), Easier to load (It’s not a teeter-totter), and carries twice the weight. The weight of the loaded trailer is going to be whatever it needs to be. Having tandem axles means I can load out the trailer how I need/want to and still be far under the maximum payload. Based on my estimates I am going to be slightly over the limit of a single axle, leaving plenty of payload for materials. The ramp door is a convenience and a back saver. I can easily roll my tools up the ramp instead of lifting 70+ pound tools several times a day. I’m glad I listened to the advice of others and got this option.
Turning this trailer into my rolling workshop is a lot of work, planning, and thinking through how I want to work in the future. It’s also a lot of fun! I’m enjoying the design, trail and error of making this trailer uniquely mine. I am certainly taking inspiration from other contractors, most notably Ron Paulk’s Awesome Rolling Tool Box.
My rolling workshop is continuously evolving. Since I’ve never worked out of a cargo trailer before, I couldn’t simply build it out from the beginning. Here’s a Mark Twain quote “Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.” My trailer build happens in spurts. I work out of the trailer and fix what doesn’t work for me. Below are Trailer Builds 1.2 and 1.3
Trailer build 1.4 should be along shortly. I’m doing my best to document every improvement as I go.
Now that I’m a full-time carpenter/small business owner I work primarily out of my truck. How you work, how organize your tools, and how you plan projects drastically changes when you go from a nice well thought out and organized shop to an F150. The biggest loss in this transition is a sturdy workbench. This is where the Multi-Purpose Slab comes in.
A Multi-Function Slab is a poor man’s version of the Festool MFT (or Festool Multi-Function Table). I made mine from a 3/4 Sheet of MDF and paired it with Dewalt/Stanley Metal Adjustable Height Saw Horses (these are great sawhorses). This combination takes up minimal real estate in the 5.5ft bed of my truck. I would love to take my Paulk Total Station to the jobsites, but it doesn’t fit in the bed of my truck. That’s the advantage of the Multi-function slab: it’s compact and lightweight enough to maneuver into small working locations. The Paulk workbenches don’t share that advantage.
Isn’t this “Multi-Function Slab” just a glorified plywood and sawhorse combo? Yes, yes it is. The advantage is that the Plywood/MDF is planned out and layed out to make work go smoother. That’s why you keep this instead of the typical use of scrap on sawhorses for a make shift work bench. What makes it better is that you think out how you’re going to use a work bench and put in clamp locations and dog holes so that it becomes a valuable tool.
I modified Steve Olson’s original design to work with inexpensive Bessey F clamp rather than the expensive Festool clamps. To do so I drilled a grid of 1 1/4 inch holes on 6 inch centers. I then had to create a rabbit on the underside for the clamps to pop into place. My Paulk Workbench is made from 1/2″ ply and I didn’t have a problem with the clamps on it, the thicker slab left more material to bind on. The various handles and clamp slots I made with a can of wipe on poly. The rectangular shape makes nice looking cutouts.
[A note about Festool: Just because I’m making a knock-off doesn’t mean that I think Festool tools are overpriced and not as good as the “fan-boys” claim nor do I think a professional needs the “top-of-the-line” tools to do quality work. If/when I can justify the cost of such premium tools then I may or may not invest in top-shelf equipment such as Festool.]
Cost wise the Festool MFT 3 is $665 from Amazon. Would I buy one? Maybe if I ever decide to invest in the Festool ecosystem. Now let’s add up the cost of making your own MFSlab.
$30 – 4ft x 8ft x 3/4in MDF sheet. Cut to 3ft x 5ft and a second 4ft rip is left to act as a shelf
$80 for a pair of good adjustable height saw horses. I can say enough good things about these Stanley/Dewalt Horses. They are very good.
That comes out to be $158 which is $507 less than the Festool MFT. Even if you factor in what your time is worth it’s still drastically cheaper. I painted mine to protect it. I try to bring it into the shop overnight so it doesn’t get rained on but if and when I need to replace it, it’s inexpensive to do and only took about an hour to make.
If you’re a carpenter of have extremely limited space this is a great tool to consider adding to your arsenal. If I was woodworking back in my college days this makes a great workbench store in an apartment or even under a bed.