It has been a busy week in the shop.

If you have ever moved, you know the dilemma of finding a home for all of your stuff. What worked in one cabinet or drawer at your previous home, doesn’t work in that exact spot in your new home. Then, after living in your new home awhile, you find that somethings still need a different home.

One day was spent rearranging the shop – AGAIN!

It all started the week the mini lathe began its slow decline. The motor started rebelling – going faster-then slower – then screaming. This prompted the need to look for and purchase a new lathe that would hold up to the “more-than-the-occasional” hobby use that the mini lathe was accustomed to.

After talking with fellow woodturners at a turners meeting, Thom decided to purchase a Jet 12″ x 21″ variable speed lathe.

After getting it home, however, he found that just switching out the new lathe for the old lathe wasn’t going to work.


Mini lathe’s home on my grandfather’s old workbench.

The new lathe wasn’t going to fit into the table vise of the old workbench. So, now where should it go?

Two of the gentlemen from the turners group who had come over to help take down a bradford pear tree helped Thom attach the new lathe to a board. Then, they cleared the old farmer’s table that we used as work space. They placed it on scrap pieces of wood so that the bolts wouldn’t gouge the table; so that now it took up the end of the table with an extension cord crossing the floor.



The cleared this table and set the new lathe at the back end.

Thom found this whole configuration too high. We started to talk about what would work best. He figured a surface height of 30″ would work best for him. I started my search. You might think looking for a 30″ tall table would be easy. Nope! I found something that I thought might work and took a picture. It was long enough and wide enough, but at 38.5″ in height, it was too tall. I suggested a platform to stand on. He wasn’t too keen on it, and I wasn’t too happy about running an extension cord up to the middle of the ceiling and dropping it down for power to the lathe.

I was now kicking myself for not moving more things from our garage. The old kitchen cabinets and old custom built entertainment system bottom that created workspace in our garage would have made the perfect base for the lathe.

Bright idea light!

For some reason we had to go to the local hardware stores. I mentioned that kitchen cabinets (the uppers) were a standard 30″ tall. If they had any scratch and dent or damaged cabinets for a reasonable price, we could purchase two and use them.

No luck   —   BUT

The salesperson suggested we contact one of the cabinet makers in town. When they renovate kitchens, they sometimes keep the cabinets and many will resell them.


The next day as we were eating breakfast, I called the two cabinet makers listed. One didn’t answer. The other had two cabinets, and yes, they were 30″ tall, but they were in sad need of repair. We wanted a look.

They weren’t bad. Some wood glue, nails, and clamps and the cabinets would be perfect for what we wanted.

Now, how to rearrange the shop. Move the drill press down to the far end of the workbench and position the two cabinets where the drill press had been. Now the power tools are plugged into the wall and there are no cords to trip on.


Here is the new home for Thom’s lathe.


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