Our last shop tour was right after we had moved down to Texas and got all of our tools placed where we *thought* we wanted them to go in our garage! Since then we've gained tools, gotten rid of tools, upgraded tools, and completely reorganized the space!
We've had to do quite a bit of transitioning when it comes to our shop. When we lived in North Dakota and were just woodworking as a hobby and then selling custom work, our shop was set up COMPLETELY different than it is now. Since our focus is building at scale, we need a shop that is set up purely for efficiency. No longer do we get to choose where to put things because "It looks good there" or "I like it there". The best method of doing things is what determines our shop layout now!
So we basically work out of 3 different spaces:
Our garage shop (19' x 19')
Our spare bedroom turned laser and packaging room...
Our recording studio/Office
In our video (above) we give a full tour of each room!
But let's get on with these big changes we've made over the last year or so!!
First off, our Grizzly table saw is no longer the center of our shop!! We've always had the table saw placed in the very center of the garage because it seemed like the tool we used the most and that required the most space for "convenience sake". However, now that we have our checklists written and procedures outlined for how we build each piece of furniture we sell....we've realized that we actually DON'T use the table saw the most! So what made most sense for us was to keep it up against the wall and roll it out whenever we needed it.
We definitely need every inch of space we can get in this garage, so getting to move other tools closer to the center really helps.
Pre-made tool cabinet
Yes, we build furniture. Yes, we know how to make our own tool cabinet out of cheap 2x4's and plywood. But what we don't have is the TIME!! We could have taken an entire week designing and building the most ideal tool cabinet that has every little drawer we could ever dream of....but when we first moved in, we needed to GET GOING. That meant buying a pre-made tool cabinet that took 30 minutes to buy from the store, even if it was more expensive than building our own. It's actually been a fantastic asset to the shop! We wish we had room for 2 more of these!
Small army of pipe clamps...
As we were batching out some cutting boards this fall, we realized that the main sticking point for optimizing our speed was our lack of good pipe clamps. We had a few 1/2" pipe clamps, but they weren't quite bulky enough to hold as many board glue ups as we needed them to. Now we have a bunch of 3/4" pipe clamps and they work great! We're not slowed down by glue ups now and we can be sure the quality of the boards is where we need it to be every time.
This was a tool that we put off buying for way too long! Now that we have it, we realize that it saves us so much time joining large table tops and brings our products up to the level of quality we need for our business model. Basically, we needed to take some of our own advice and stop worrying about the money going out, and worry more about the money coming in.
The final push came from the guys in the Stud Stack - our private Facebook group for makers trying to build a business. The guys and gals in the group learn SO much from each other....like the fact that people ARE buying furniture despite the pandemic. Actually, people are buying MORE furniture than usual during the pandemic!! If you want to learn how other makers are taking advantage of the money making opportunities right now (and a ton of other advice and lessons) check out the Stud Stack! But this group isn't for everybody. It's for makers who are serious about building their business - so the group is behind a paywall. We'd love to see you there!!!
The Super Max 19-38 drum sander is our newest addition to the shop. With how many boards we make every month, we spend a TON of time on sanding. The drum sander saves about 10 minutes per board, so it's definitely a great time saving investment for us!
Goodbye CNC, hello Glowforge!
One of our biggest changes since the last shop tour is that we sold our CNC and purchased a Glowforge laser engraver! So far it's worked great and does everything we need it to. The Glowforge software is a little limited if you don't upgrade to their Premium account, but it still allows us to do what we need. Eventually we want to upgrade to a larger industrial laser and then we can pick and choose our softwares.
That pretty much covers all of our big changes since our last shop tour! All of our decisions since then have really been oriented around how we can make our shop more production focused. But to be honest, our goal for 2021 is to grow out of our shop! We want to be in a position where we need a larger space by the end of the year! What are your shop goals for 2021??
This post may contain affiliate links for products we used to create this project! If you’d like to check them out, we do get a small percentage of the sale and they are of no extra cost to you! It all goes towards supporting the content creation of Jennie and Davis. BUT – we do not take tool sponsorships and there were no tool endorsements. Just our honest opinions!