Shop Transformation – Part 1

So the last seven weeks or so has been chock full of changes to my shop. Unlike so many woodworking youtubers, I am not moving in to a new shop (I can think of 5 off the top of my head), rather, I am modifying my existing shop. Once things are settled, there are some new pieces of shop furniture I am hoping to build, but for now, I am just looking to get operational again, as currently, my shop is completely non-functional.

So this all started in April when my wife surprised me with a SawStop for my birthday. She’s so awesome, and it is quite the saw too. The model I got is 220v power only, and has a 4 inch dust port – way too big for a shop vac. That soon led me to finally click on the order button for a proper dust collector. Something I had been pondering for some time, but was stalling until I sorted out what I was going to do about a table saw. Since that was now sorted, time to order. Before I knew it, I had a basement full of boxes and parts needing assembly, and very little space to work.

Hardly any room to even walk around with all the boxes and parts in the shop

I focused on the saw first. With some gracious help from some teammates from my daughter’s fencing team, the main unit of the SawStop made it to the basement, followed by lots of pieces and parts in other boxes. Compliments to SawStop – the packaging (well done) and assembly directions (stellar) are really as good as everyone says. I can also confirm that the packaging (OK) and directions (poor) from Laguna were not nearly as good, but more on that later. I got the saw and the cast iron wings assembled (not the rails or fence) before the dust collector showed up – on a rainy day. It was in one main piece, incredibly top heavy and shaped in such a way that it would not fit on a dolly or cart of any kind – and I had to get it down a flight of stairs with two landings. My parents and some friends of theirs were nearby and offered to help. It wasn’t pretty, but in the end, we were able to get that to the basement as well – no lost or broken parts, limbs, digits, or people.

Pushing everything together to try and make room to work on the tools and the floor

I finished the SawStop and then completed the assembly of the Laguna dust collector. It was also during this time that I discovered that the dust collector says on the web that it is 110/220, but in reality, only part of it is. The primary motor is indeed 110/220 and can be rewired to work – but the small motor that powers the paddles that keep the filter clean, is 110 only. To run 220 as I planned, I needed to contact Laguna since no one sells or makes mention on their website, of the conversion needed. Turns out Laguna has a tiny footnote in one giant chart that makes mention of this kit – they don’t list it as an accessory, or even have a SKU for it. You have to do it through customer service, and it costs $300. I was so upset. I reached out to Laguna and eventually someone responded, but only to say it was their policy to charge for the conversion, anyone that buys their tools knows that, and yes, they realize that many folks don’t understand this – but choose not to correct their marketing or website. In other words, they were not actually helpful in any way, and were actually closer to confrontational – “maybe you should have bought the next model up that is 220” they suggested. It is 20 inches taller and would never fit in my low ceiling basement. Then the best part – while this unit is new, only released in February, they were completely out of stock on two of the three necessary items for the conversion. One was to be in stock “soon” and the other had no projected in stock date. I am hoping to love the dust collector once it is running, but I can’t recommend Laguna as a company. The saving grace in all of this was Woodcraft. They were surprised at how Laguna was handling this (or not handling) and offered to refund the whole purchase, and the shipping to get it back to them, or to work with Laguna for me. Since I had already assembled it, and had not found a comparable replacement (that I could get to my basement), I asked them to try and work with Laguna. At present, Woodcraft says that Laguna will be shipping me my parts “soon” at no additional charge to me. In this instance, Woodcraft customer service did everything I could reasonably ask of them, and more – as they even called me to see if I had heard back from Laguna, and they check in with me to update the progress. Kudos to Woodcraft for their customer service.

The Laguna dust collector is ready to go, I really hope it will have been worth the headaches

The only downside for me is I am wiring a dedicated 110/30amp circuit to run it until the parts come in, and then the electrician will come back and make the changes, so I can use the 220v line as originally planned. So I am still out extra costs but that is simply because I don’t want to wait on the parts to actually start using it. The electrician will be here this week to get all three lines run, and then I can use the SawStop and the dust collector, and when the parts come, we make the changes to the dust collector. Fingers crossed that it works great, after all these headaches. Now, back to the transformation.

Starting the dricore panels on the floor, and immediately moving things on to it to make room to put more flooring down

At this point, with boxes all about the shop, I also decided that it would be best to lay down a dricore floor. If you are not familiar, they are OSB squares about 2’x2′ and on the bottom they have small plastic feet. This raises the OSB slightly off the floor and creates a space where any water that comes up from the floor can flow to the sump pump without impacting anything. You can see the stack of them on my last blog post. Given the weight of the saw, and the dust collector, I wanted to get the floor down quickly so they could go right on it. So to summarize, I had parts of a saw, parts of a dust collector, and a stack of dricore panels all in the way of doing anything in the shop – and all of it had to move to actually put down the floor. Thankfully nearly everything in the shop is on wheels. That allowed me to push everything to one side to start on the dricore flooring. The biggest headache was removing the french cleat wall. To get the new floor under it, I had to remove it and remount it about 1 inch higher. That was a pain. Once I completed a section, I pushed more stuff on to the new dricore, and worked on another part of the basement.

The first half of the shop with the new dricore floor

Eventually I got the majority of the flooring down – but I was not thrilled with the look of the OSB, especially when it was time to sweep up sawdust, so I decided to paint it grey. Once again, everything had to be moved. Clear out one half of the shop, and then get to painting. One coat of primer, two coats of floor paint, and now the OSB looks almost like cement, Kinda funny how that worked out. It just looks like a clean basement floor. So the last coat of paint went down this morning on the primary section of the basement. There are some small parts I will need to come back to, but they are not where the tools are, so I can do them another time. Given all the moves back and forth, I am very impressed with the ICS mobile base on the SawStop (I have a PCS saw, ICS base) – it works great. For a 450 pound saw, it is comically easy to move around in the shop, yet is completely stable otherwise.

I couldn’t help rolling the SawStop in place to see how it fit, before moving it back out so I could paint
The first painted section – this is when the paint was still wet, it dried to an even matte finish, and yes, later on, I painted under the miter saw table too

So that concludes Part 1. That was about two months. Once the paint dries, I can start moving things back to their places. I can put the saw and dust collector close to their final spots to run the power later this week. Then I can actually turn on the SawStop and the dust collector for the first time. I am so looking forward to that. One, I just really want to try it out, and two, it has been 2 months of staring at it without even being able to turn it on. I haven’t even put a blade in it yet. After everything is functional and running, and mostly in their proper places, I will post again with an update. Then, hopefully, I can get back to making stuff.

More sawdusting soon, and thanks for reading along.

One thought on “Shop Transformation – Part 1

  1. As always your writing is so detailed and well written, even a non woodworker would find it compelling to read. Laguna deserves even harsher criticism, but you gave it a good start. Your patience and vision will help you make your shop a showcase to be extremely proud of. Keep going.

    Sent from my iPhone



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