Monday, February 23, 2009

My God Complex

My first nickname for my new shop was Mammoth Cave. It was an obvious choice given when we moved in the 1800 square feet of basement space was lit by 5 overhead lightbulbs. It was dark enough that with the addition of a little water and some fish eggs, within a generation or two the scaly descendants would have devolved to be born without eyes.

There was a time years ago when I was tasked with packaging map lamps and reading lamps in mini-vans and SUVs. So I seem to remember nightmares of Footcandles and Lux as I strove to focus light on areas that passengers would want illuminated, all the while blocking stray light that would disturb the driver’s view. Yep, automotive interior lighting paid the bills for a few years back then.

Now I have the task of illuminating something I care about.

Ideally, I could come up with about 100 lumens per square foot, but when I look at throwing up 180,000 lumens of fluorescent shop lamps in my basement…it’s a fairly big task.

Nevertheless, I went ahead and did a temporary addition of some 4 foot long T8 shop lamps to at least shed enough light for me to take the first photos of my new shop that many of you have asked for.

There will be more to come in the blog, but on the Creationist model, we are at Day One:

In the beginning was Jeff and his shop. And the shop was void and without form. And Jeff said, “Let there be light.” And Jeff saw that the light was good. So he shot a couple digital photos and promised to add some more to the blog when he had time.

Then, he went out and had a Guinness.

Below are some pictures of the new shop along with descriptions...

My wood pile. It's mostly airdried cherry, but it also has bubinga, hard maple, purpleheart, quartersawn white oak, birdseye maple, etc. It is unstickered and measures 11 feet 8 feet by 4 feet. It's 300+ cubic feet of amazing collection of lumber.
Who doesn't have 10 ft long pieces of Birdseye Maple just randomly thrown into their woodpile?

Looking down the "machine" side of the shop: past the jointer, Unisaw, planer, drill press, chopsaw, etc... all the way down to the massive woodpile.
Looking from the "Bench Area" toward the Cyclone in the corner. 18" Bandsaw is on the right and a boatload of 6" PVC ductwork on the left.

The "Bench Area" is about 3 times bigger than my entire shop in Michigan. Here you can see my Holtzapfel Bench, my tiny little Soberg bench, and the Metal Tool Cabinet that is actually the base of the biggest Router Table known to man, courtesy of Woodpeckers, Inc.

There will be better photos and much better descriptions to come. I promise.


GES695 said...

Because you invited your mother and me to dinner Saturday night, I can verify your description and pictures of your "cave" work shop.

And speaking of dinner, I will use this opportunity to mention Gail; and what an outstanding job she did with the meal.

But the thing that really surprised me was your failure to recognize your apprintice Peyton. I thought he looked liked he was content and where he belonged in the workshop.


Jeff Skiver said...

Everyone knows I don't use crappy wood for projects. Well, the same can be said for the raw materials for dinner.

It was an Ina Garten recipe for beef tenderloin with Gorgonzola cheese sauce that we got off of Barefoot Contessa about 8 years ago.

I suppose when you start with almost 7 pounds of beef tenderloin and have them trim away half of it that isn't perfect and tie up the remainder, you have the ideal foundation for a meal.

Now if I could just come up with an excuse for eating like that more often.

JasonB said...

You could invite me for dinner. You're about 3 hours north of me; but I'd probably drive that far for a meal like that and a Guinness.

Ethan said...

I, too, was amazed to see the first description was not of "Peyton and a large pile of wood"...

While I do enjoy the occasional sojourns into the darker side of your mind, it is also good to see a woodworking blog entry!

Looking forward to more. Are we going to see a "progressing shop building" theme for a while?

Bartee said...

Paint those wall white before you do anything else.. Remember white reflects light !!!

Also you can put in a "ceiling" by cutting strips of flake board just wide enought to sit on the I beams of the floor joists. So these panels would be 4ft x about 15 1/2 in. Think of it as drop in ceiling. So with these installed you would see the bottom of each I beam joint and the white of the panels inbetween each joinst. Paint the panels white, again more light reflected.

If you are interested and cannot figure out what I am trying to say the eMail me at

You are really going to have a nice shop. Just take your time and enjoy.

Pictures of my shop are here