Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Workshop - New stuff, tools lights, etc...

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by John Nicholas, Feb 5, 2017.

  1. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    It's still a bit cold but now that the shop looks like a tornado ripped through it, it's time to get serious about cleaning and arranging. Some tool cabinets (sanding station and router table) need to be built to hold all the bits, sandpaper, spare routers, sanders, etc...

    One area that needed serious work is dust collection. Dust was getting EVERYWHERE!!

    I've had a dust filter on my Amazon wish list for a long time. Sold a guitar and went to buy it. An ad popped up for a $50. gift certificate if I signed up for the Amazon Credit card. So I bought me a WEN dust filter. This looks to be the same as the Grizzly...

    This is an awesome filter. Way less dust floating in the air when it's running.



    Has a two stage filter system...



    One big issue was the shop was very dark. Our warehouse just upgraded to LED's so I got a couple of T5 fixtures. The price was right! FREE!!

    Lighting before new lights...


    Lighting with new lights..


    Mike (MpacT) has been sharing some cool videos, while digging down a rabbit hole, I stumbled upon one with a frey press. Harbor Freight was having a sale (what else is new?) but the 1/2 ton arbor press was selling for $19.99! With the 20% off coupon total cost was $16.98!! A few years ago the same press was nearly $40.!!



    So it was off to modify the press for frets!

    Yup, drill a couple of holes...


    My nice new Irwin Cobalt bit... it cut through really nice. If you look inside the bore, you will see a small ridge.. it didn't line back up perfectly after checking the depth. Only wanted 1 inch deep.


    Yes it's not perfectly centered... my skills with metal are very limited... so I'm really happy with this.

    Then drilled a hole for the set screw...


    Then tapped it 1/4 - 20....


    Need to get a few more bits of hardware from HD...

    Anyone set up a cool return mechanism for these?? I have a few ideas but would like to hear how you did it.

    While I was messing around, it seemed like a good idea to do some guitar work. So I cut some poplar and alder, jointed them and glued up three blanks.

    Here are the two poplar ones...


    There will be more to come on the workshop updates!!!
    nickhofen, 1955, Piggy Stu and 2 others like this.

  2. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Mar 30, 2011
    Wow! Whole lotta stuff going on there, John! Good job. I remember when I finally got the lighting sorted in my shop. It was a remarkable difference.

    It always feel pretty awesome when you start improving processes and work environment.
    DrASATele and John Nicholas like this.

  3. mPacT

    mPacT Tele-Holic

    Dec 23, 2014
    Burbank, CA
    Go Johnny!
    John Nicholas likes this.

  4. milocj

    milocj Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Aug 21, 2005
    I don't have one of those, but the simplest return mechanism I can think of would be to use a coil spring and two 1/4" threaded eye-bolts.

    Bring one of them off the side of the ram opposite the handle and thread it in just like you did your set screw, using a jam nut to hold it against the ram.

    For the top end I'd cut an L-shaped piece of steel and mount it with the top two bolts on the front plate. Put another eye-bolt into that piece (facing the back of the press) and use jam nuts on that as well. Then just find a hardware store spring that can attach to both the eye-bolts and that isn't so strong that it will whip the handle around too fast if you were to let go of it.

  5. adirondak5

    adirondak5 Wood Hoarder Extraordinaire

    Oct 24, 2009
    Long Island NY
    Good deal on the lights . Like Roger said , the difference when you have good lighting is amazing , not to mention the safety factor . The air filter will make a big difference too .
    John Nicholas and bparnell57 like this.

  6. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 10, 2014
    Philadelphia, PA
    Lighting is key in any type of work. Only thing is don't try and tell that to the darkroom worker. Hahaha.
    John Nicholas likes this.

  7. koolaide

    koolaide Tele-Holic

    Oct 11, 2009
    south carolina
    I put led lights in my shop a couple of years ago, after my son's work shop up graded to them, and he was really ranting how great they worked. I bought 2 for a 24x24 shop. I moved the exsisting lights over the bench. And, as you know Wow, what a difference.


    John Nicholas and bparnell57 like this.

  8. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 24, 2015
    South Lyon, MI
    Nice upgrades! I'm very envious of the lights...that is an upgrade that I need. My current shop lighting system involves waiting for long summer days with open garage doors.
    Larry F and John Nicholas like this.

  9. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Mar 30, 2011
    Before I got my large florescent setup, my shop lighting consisted of a single overhead incandescent bulb in my 1-car garage and then my shoplight that I'd carry with me from machine to machine :D

  10. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Aug 3, 2010
    Loganville, Ga.
    Nice, John. I've got to get some kind of very fine dust air collection in place--the cyclone catches everything that the big hose collects, but power tools throw off a lot of dust that gets airborne before the big hose can grab it.

    While building Sir Andrew, two--count 'em--two fluorescent fixtures bit the dust in my shop. Brainy's ghost having a little fun at my expense? Who knows?

    One of them was an old 4-tube fixture a friend gave me when they closed a store his family owned, and woked well for years. I replaced it with an LED fixture and a 2-tube fluorescent fixture, and although I'm still deciding if I like the quality of the LED light, it certainly is a brighter set up, so I replaced the other 4-tube fixture that had also started flickering and going dim, with the same setup.

    I'm pretty sure I prefer the light quality quality of the fluorescents, but can't argue with the efficiency and brightness of the LED's.

    I haven't put a return mechanism on my modified HF arbor press, seems like it never sets up the same twice, so the arm is not always in the same position, so fixing it so it always returns to the same point wouldn't work. I think I'd need an adjustable return mechanism that could be rotated around, then bolted down or fixed in place, so the arm would return. I haven't had much problem with manually returning it, anyway.

    Great shop improvements, they'll make your shop time so much more enjoyable and safer, too.
    DrASATele likes this.

  11. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Thanks Roger... it is like working in a different shop. Now when I walk over to the bench without the new lights on, it's hard to belief I was able to read the marks on a ruler!!

    There's so much more to do....

    I'm blaming you for this! ;-)

    Thanks for the ideas and suggestions... there are a few ideas I've seen online, just looking for someone that has some experience and time using the fret press arbor. You learn so much after using something for a while..

    Here's another idea...

    Couldn't beat the cost of the lights!! One of the fixtures had some small issues, so I'm going to get a "replacement".. again you can't beat the price. Do you want a couple Herb??

    The air filter is awesome! I used the table saw and couldn't get to my dust collector, so only the dust filter was running, what a huge difference!

    Why can't I get to the dust collector? In October my neighbor moved to Colorado and sold me his John Deere lawn tractor. So that's jammed into the garage as well!

    Do people still use darkrooms? I was in the photographic industry and spent a fair bit of time in darkrooms.. but after digital really gained traction... very little actual photographic film is used...

    But to your point, yes light is good!

    Hey Jim,

    I did consider buying LED lights, but didn't want to replace the units I already have. The one thing you do not want to do is to mix lighting types. They have different color temperatures and can sometimes make you crazy... very tough to see colors... lights over the bench are a muct!


    I can get you some, but the cost of shipping wouldn't be worth it. Check with an electrical contractor, see if they're doing any LED upgrades and ask if you can get a couple of the old light units. It could work!

    Otherwise there's always Home Depot (or Lowes)

    Before I got these high bay lights, there were two 100 watt incandescent bulbs in a two car garage. It was like working in the dark!


    This WEN unit is really good. It's basically the same unit as the Rikon, Grizzly, etc... but with the Amazon credit card gift certificate, it was just over $100.

    Honestly, a year ago if someone said that I should buy one of these, I would have reluctantly agreed, then put it off as long as possible. After using it just once, I will not work without one!

    Sure it keep the air clear so you breath easier and do not have issues with your lungs. But in addition it keeps the air clear so you can see. I wear glasses and they used to get coated with dust. Using the filter they stayed clean!

    Even better there is less dust to settle over everything, plus it keeps it out of the house, which is a huge wins with the misses.

    The old big tube fluorescent bulbs flickered so much that it would give me headaches. Also the color was far too deep into the green spectrum. The "newer" T5 units are much better.

    The LED's as much as I love them in the rest of the house, I'm not so sure they are the answer in the workshop. They seem really blue to me. Plus the difference in price, for me, was too big! The free ones went to the top of the list.

    What do you mean the fret press doesn't "set up" in the same place every time? Do you leave it all together to store or do you take it apart? I'm a bit confused...:confused:

    My reason for a return spring is me... there is a very high chance that 21 of 22 fret will go in just fine, but on 22, the ram will drop and destroy the neck, by leaving a huge divot in the fingerboard, with my luck it would be on a fret with a MOP inlay!!

    I'd feel better knowing that it will stay up and away from anything sensitive!!


  12. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Aug 3, 2010
    Loganville, Ga.
    I guess what I mean is that the whole stroke of the ram requires several rotations of the gear to which the arm is connected. To install the fret caul holder, I have to back off the gear sliding the handle back and forth, until there's enough clearance under the ram to get the caul holder installed.

    But then, I've found I have to adjust (lower) the ram so that to get it to work with one stroke of the handle, and with the handle in the right position to allow pulling it down, so the caul fully presses in the fret, but so that the handle will go backwards enough so it will fall backwards if released, (when backed off enough past center) to give you room to move the neck or fretboard, and pull the ram away from the work*, all that takes some adjusting that as far as I can visualize, would be prevented by a fixed spring.
    That's probably clear as mud, I almost feel like I need to shoot a little video to demonstrate what I mean.

    *which is how I make sure the ram stays up when I want it to--dependable gravity.
    John Nicholas likes this.

  13. NotAnotherHobby

    NotAnotherHobby Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 27, 2015
    Da' Magic Mittin'
    Seeing that Wen air collector, it makes me think of this video, where a guy made his own dust collector using a blower and the cardboard box it came in.

    Roughly 4:37 in the video.

    I have to give the guy props. He is inventive.

  14. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 6, 2012
    North of Boston
    Looking good John!

    I need to upgrade some lights in my shop as well. The HF press was something I should have done a long time ago.

    Up until I read your "dust on glasses" comment I wasn't really sold on the air filter, now I have to figure out where and how ;)
    John Nicholas likes this.

  15. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    I noticed the multiple rotations of the handle thingy... but then I looked at the Stew Mac one for inspiration. They have a nice long bolt so that the handle doesn't have to go all the way up... along with the return spring which looks like a quill spring, you have a nice simple fret press that will not crash into the fingerboard.

    Too many projects going on at one time, so this will go to the back burner for a little while...

  16. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Some people are very clever. This guy is certainly one of them.

    But me, I have only a certain amount of "free" time, so the choice is between building stuff for the shop or building guitars... somehow the guitar stuff always goes to the from of the priority list.

    It's the biggest reason my shop looks like a tornado strolled through. It's actually really tough, I have stuff all over the place and sometimes forget where I put it, so it takes a while to hunt down what I'm looking for and during this time something shiny pops up and it's off into another direction, until my brain catches up and realizes I was in the middle of something else...

    Thus, the reason for the shop "clean-up"...

  17. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Thank you Chris!!

    Lights are really good. they help you to see stuff, especially the stuff you're working on. For a while it seemed like I was going blind... couldn't read things or see the 32nd lines on the ruler clear enough. As soon as the new lights went it... taaa daaa my eyes got better!

    Honestly, up until a week or so ago, the dust filter was way down on the list. After working with non-dusty glasses, it's one of the better investments in the shop. Did I mention it has a remote control? That it also has a timer, so you can run it for a set time after you leave the shop??

  18. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 10, 2014
    Philadelphia, PA
    Photography students at most art schools start out on black and white film loaded into fully manual cameras.

  19. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    This was the case in many places for years, the school the company I worked for and supplied cameras to, went away from film before our brands got fully into digital...

    Do they still use film now?

  20. Revv23

    Revv23 Friend of Leo's

    Oct 9, 2009
    To the LED light guys - i am huge into light quality. With LED's the quality can vary all over the place. The high quality stuff will be much better quality than fluorescent. Beware though if you but a 2.5K lamp it will be very yellow and a 9k lamp will have everything blue.
    Blake Brauer and Fenderflame like this.

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