Shop improvements and updates


One of the things I continually struggle with is routine maintenance and organizing in my shop. Since I produce a video and project every week, I tend to put a lot of this stuff on the back burner.

This week I had decided to just take some time to spruce up my shop and drag you along with me. So while I don’t have one project to present, I hope you can pick up a tip or an idea from this video as I basically just putter around with five different things.

  • I painted one of my OSB walls white. I ran out of paint, but will eventually get to my other walls. I’ve been wanting to do this for ages because the OSB sheets make color correction difficult in my videos. The white paint really brightens up the shop.

  • In addition to brightening up the walls, I bought three new daylight-balanced light fixtures to lighten up some dark holes in the shop. Each fixture holds four, 48″ t-8 fluorescent bulbs. My shop almost glows at night! I installed two and still need to wire up the third.
  • A few weeks ago a viewer sent me a Dust Deputy: it’s a type of sawdust and wood chip separator cyclone that works with a shop-vac.  For some reason, figuring out how to put it together caused me undue stress. Mostly because of my own impatience when it comes to assembling things such as this. In the end, I got it working with duct tape, and it does a great job! I even bought a new filter for my shop-vac.
  • I have a number of table saw sleds and jigs that I have never had a spot for. Instead, they sit on the floor, requiring me to constantly move them out of my way. My thought was to get them up on the wall, but I didn’t want them to hog up a lot of space. What I came up with is hanging them from chains suspended from the ceiling. It looks a little funny, but it is very efficient and easy to use.


  • Lastly, I needed a storage system for my table saw accessories that seem to always be in various spots around the shop. Mostly where they are not handy or easy to find, which make me less likely to used them. I built a super-easy storage cabinet to hold everything in one place. It works well and took less than an hour to build. If you would like to make one like it, here are plans:

Woodworking animation

It seems like every woodworker on YouTube is incorporating stop-motion animation into his videos lately. Naturally, I am the type who desperately needs to jump onto trends, so I have incorporated my own animation into this video. (With all apologies to the stop-motion master, Frank Howarth.)

The other trend I see in woodworking videos is “super speed”. I’m not sure what this is all about: some videos seem to be on fast-forward throughout the entire video, like a 1914 Keystone comedy. I’ll have to put this on my to-do list.

I am thrilled to have a new sponsor to the show: Please help support Woodworking for Mere Mortals (and free woodworking content)  by visiting them. has over 100,000 audio books you can download and listen to wherever you go: great for listening to in the shop. The best part is they are letting viewers to WWMM download a free book just by visiting this link:


  1. I thought the “stop motion animation” was hilarious, and added much more to the video than the typical animation does to woodworking videos.

    How do you like the new Grrripper blocks? I’m thinking about picking up a pair.

    You might consider cutting some cardboard discs to place between your saw blades on the side of the cabinet. The carbide teeth are brittle and can chip when they bang against each other.

    • I actually prefer the new gripper blocks to the other ones. They are just basic, effective push blocks. The little drop-down hook on the back is a great system.

      That’s the first and last time I’m doing animation! Way too much time and effort goes into them….and I made mine intentionally bad! Total respect for the guys who do them.

    • Blade spacers don’t even have to be disk shaped. In my blade caddy I use 7.25 blades between my 10″ blades. Anything to keep the carbide teeth from banging together is an improvement. With all those blades Steve has now a blade storage box might even be a nice thing to hang onto the side of his new accessory cabinet.

  2. Got a kick out of the stop motion and speed up. Just the right amount of each. I need to do the same thing, cleanup and organize. Your shop vac looks similar to mine and the filter looks about the same as mine did. being cheap and the filters being somewhat expensive, I would try to clean it and just get all dusty. Then I had a bright(?) idea, go outside and use the leaf blower. It actually worked nicely and I didn’t go away all dusty.

    • A compressor with a blower nozzle works great on those vac filters. Not only does the dust build up on the filters reduce vac performance, it can cause overheating that can cause your motor to burn out.. Great video, it reminds me that I have at least a dozen shop fixes on my to do list.

  3. Did my eyes decieve me or did I see a fake hand from last weeks video in one of the stop motion segments?

  4. I use my leaf blower to clean my shop vac filters. I take a long piece of dowel to “hold” the filter in place near my feet, then blow it out with my leaf blower for 5-10 minutes. It gets most of the dust out, then I can use the air compressor to get most of the rest. It’s not as clean as a new one, but it’s definitely cheaper.

  5. I liked the OSB background better, but the fact that for videos it’s better and brighter like this is a good argument. Great video, loved the stopmotion!

  6. Good video Steve. I believe that organization in a shop is important and it makes me feel better personally while doing projects. Funny about the OSB. I just did a wall with some I found in the “cull” bin at a local store for .51/ea.

  7. Great job Steve!
    Sometimes you have to hit the pause button on other things and get the shop in order. 🙂

    That small storage cabinet is really nice and quick to build. I could see a few of those coming in handy in the shop.

  8. Steve love your videos and appreciate all your effort. Think maybe you can do a video on 1 of your channels where you walk us through the process of recording, editing and posting videos for people like me that aren’t tech smart. Also I have to replace a arch top door and screen door that would cost $2,400 for a basic door custom made. Think if I send you a pic of door you can give me some pointers? My email is if you want to let me know if your willing then I can send you a pic.

  9. Hey Steve, I just saw a new project for a weekly video…. a zero clearance insert for your miter saw… I put one in my saw last week helped a lot with tearout on some baltic birch… if you use this idea you can credit Anonymous…… and if you get bored come visit us at

  10. Thanks for these tips! 🙂 Our school’s shop is a terrible mess. I’m a new teacher there and there’s a lot of organizing and cleaning to do. Maybe next spring the shop will look more like a classroom than a dumbing ground… 🙂

  11. Steve, I love your approach to how you make your videos, Good information, great sense of humor. I am moving my shop out of the basement into my two car garage. I have just finished building your rolling lumber cart, and will follow your lead on the white walls. By the way, I love the ORANGE paint .

  12. kinda funny in last week’s mere minutes you poked fun at woodworkers who do nothing but “play house” in their shop and here you are playing house. It is almost as if you knew you had this card up your sleeve :). I am with you, my shop sucks and totally needs an overhaul. Buy whenever I see a guy with too clean a shop and shop fixtures that look better than my furniture I just assume his wife must be sexually frustrated.

  13. Steve, you know I just love your videos. You are a great example for the people to get out and BUILD SOMETHING!

    I build my shop projects really fast and simple just like you did. It works out just fine and my stuff has been lasting for years. Just proof that it works and there is no need to be pretentious about it.

    I think a lot of people feel they have to build the perfect storage cabinet, bench, or shelf to show they are a craftsman. I say quick and dirty is good. I think the utilitarian look has a beauty of it’s own.

    I have had the same Dust Deputy for a few years and I love it, it really works great. I have it hooked up to what appears to be the same Ridgid shop vac that you have. That particular model does not accept dust bags and so the filter gets clogged up pretty fast with fine dust. The Dust Deputy will solve that for you. I did not buy the kit that you received, I had enough parts laying around I used them to hook it all up.

    I added a 1/2″ plywood reinforcement ring inside my lid to make it more rigid. You can see it here:

    You editing is really fabulous…man you make me jealous;)

    Keep up the great work. There are few people I find worth watching and you are right at the top of the list!

  14. Hello Steve.

    Great show. I just wanted to spend a minute reminding everybody that thanks to the “magic” of internet your weekly updates are seen way beyond the US and/or English speaking countries. I do not know if you actually know how is your audience geographically distributed (country or continent wise I mean). Cheers!

  15. Wow, what an educational and important post! The list of veggies is very helpful. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and thank you for the recipe too! Great job! Awesome website! I am glad I found it.

  16. Steve,

    Did you cover the seems on your OSB wall at all? If so, what did you cover it with?

    I read that you are supposed to have a 1/8 gap between sheets when installing, but when I see your shop I don’t really see the joints?



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