May 082018
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Spring cleaning.

It’s almost a cliché.

Even the City of Long Beach is having a Spring Cleaning event.

Sometimes, it’s a joke, laughing about the cleaning we should be doing in the spring, even as we put it off.

We’ve discussed before how much I like cleaning my shop. Right now, because of the painting project,  almost everything in the shop is on hold, as I’m trying to finish painting completely so I can have that behind me.

That means the shop, indeed, my entire garage, is a huge mess.

I have a brand new Tormek T-8 that I’m dying to use and write about, and I’ve had time to take it out of the box, put it on my sharpening table and do the initial setup. There’s been no time to do much beyond that. I hope to have that article for you soon.

Meanwhile, the shop is just a mess, which is a problem for me, because I have to see it every morning when I leave for work and every evening when I get home.

When I do get to it, I like to vacuum with the Festool Dust Extractor. A separator ahead of your vacuum, regardless of brand, is a great way to save on replacement filter bags and HEPA filter elements. Highland carries a unit you can put on top of your metal garbage can, and another that works on a 5-gallon bucket.

I don’t believe there is a vacuum cleaner made that will clean the air coming out of it better than the Festool units (the Mirka is a rival), but a separator is terrific for everything from Shop Vac to Craftsman. Even the canister filters in those aren’t cheap.

A separator works by catching both large and fine particles before they get to your suction-producing unit. You could think of it as a filter ahead of a filter, except the separator has no parts (filters) that ever need replacing. Periodically, you just empty all of the refuse from the separator’s container, reassemble and go back to work.

Oh, well, I will get it done someday. Meanwhile, I’ll just apply the old saying, “This, too, shall pass.”

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

  One Response to “May Woodworking Poll: Spring Cleaning Your Workshop”

  1. I clean my shop after every home period, so before heading out to sea again, I normally spend the last day in the shop cleaning and organizing.
    So when I get home there is a clean shop to start in again.
    It is not grandmother spring cleaning standard, but I sweep the workbench and the floor and put all the tools where they belong.
    Once every second year prior to hosting the DCBE, I thoroughly clean the shop and put away all excess wood that has mysteriously gathered in a corner.
    I try not to get more stuff, but somehow a few things sneak in on me every now and then. If they haven’t got a dedicated place they take up space on the table under the window. Then during the “great purge”, I will try to find a space for them.

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