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Tom Whalley's versatile workbench, his original design, was the first project he built for his new shop. The bench acts as a "bat cave" to house his jointer, shaper, and mitersaw. The jointer and shaper carts slide in beneath the worksurface. By equalizing the worksurface heights, he can provide a stable platform for a board as long as 14'. "I wanted to make my mobile tool stands as tall as I could but still fit underneath," Tom says.

"I honestly don't know — it's just how I like it. Oh, I guess it would be nice to have more electrical outlets. But that's quibbling. I took the time to design it exactly the way I needed to. I'm rather happy with the way it turned out."

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Tobacco Can Display

Machinist's Lathe, Grinder, and Jointer

When a fixture serves no functional purpose in Tom Whalley's shop, you'd better believe it has some other deeply held value. The tobacco cans and other tins at right belonged to Tom's father, who used them to store nuts, bolts, and screws. Tom built the display as a tribute.

As with all of Tom's wall-hung cabinets, the more-attractive mottled side of the birch plywood shows. "Birch usually has one side that's dear and a back side that's mottled," Tom explains. "The variegations of the grain add character."

When Tom bought his jointer, he realized the metal base just wasn't functional. So he removed it and built his own. Then he added a dust-collection system inside that not only captures the chips but also feeds them into a dust-collector hose, which attaches to a port on the side of the cabinet. On the back (unseen) is the new mount and belt housing Tom built for the motor. The housing protects the pulleys and belts and allows Tom to easily adjust the belt tension.

To the left of the mobile jointer, Tom built a cabinet to fit his small machinist's lathe and grinder. (The grinder comes off easily when he needs more room.) The right-hand set of drawers below the grinder stores the turning tools Tom custom-made to build the smaller parts of his scale-model cars (seepage 15). The larger drawer on the left holds various other turning tools that see less frequent use.

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