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Home : Trade Secrets Archive : Issue 78, ShopStand: solving the space problem in a cluttered shop
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Photo: Dan's cluttered shop Solving the space
problem in my
cluttered shop


I was wrestling with my power tools over the limited floor space, and the tools were winning...

Dan Erlewine, January 8, 2009
Photo: Dan Erlewine
Photo: Dan's cluttered shop
I’m crazy about tools
After years of buying at auctions and sales, I’d filled my shop with power tools: buffer, grinder, drill press lathe, bandsaw, power hacksaw, big belt sander, vertical belt sander, and more. Most of these didn't get used a lot, but they sure took up a lot of room. My shop was cramped and cluttered.
Order your 2009 shop calendar!
This lack of elbow room was slowing me down, so I rearranged my workspace around two ShopStands: one is a versatile workbench and the other is... Well it becomes whatever I need it to be. I'll show you what I mean.
The not-so-plain workbench
Photo: ShopStand


On a ShopStand, I made the best workbench I've ever had. Solidly bolted to the floor, it supports a mahogany plank holding a guitar repair vise. This simple bench rotates on the ShopStand’s ball bearing, and height-adjusts for sitting or standing. It hardly takes up any more room than the guitar I’m working on.

This idea really comes in handy:



This Telecaster is held in the repair vise, and the body is lifted above the benchtop clutter by a leather-covered riser on a brass post.

The post fits a hole in the bench, and a pin through the side makes it height-adjustable. The guitar is safe from the clutter of tools that build up while I'm working.

Erlewine ShopStand




Guitar Repair Vise




Nut and Saddle Vise
Store tools on your wall

Fitted with an angle vise, my other ShopStand becomes many tools standing in the same space:


Angle Vise
Photo: removing the pickup

I mount tools on platforms that hang on the wall like the buffer above, or sit on a shelf. Under each platform is a piece of 3/4" plywood for the vise to grab onto.

Here’s a tip: Put a block of wood at each corner to serve as feet for standing the tool on a shelf or on the floor.
I put this ShopStand in front of my exhaust fan — a perfect spot for making a mess with a belt sander or buffing arbor, because all the dust and fluff shoots out the fan.


Buffing Arbor System
Photo: Golden Age Prewired Pickguards
The Angle Vise is a pivoting work holder
This sturdy steel vise mounts to your drill press, mill or workbench to hold jigs and fixtures. It tilts your work from horizontal to vertical, or anywhere in between. The perfect addition to our height-adjustable Erlewine ShopStand.

More tools in the same space
The ShopStand is sturdy enough to hold this 60-lb. metalworking vise (top left photo, below) for sawing, pounding, drilling and tapping. Also shown is our arbor press for fretting: the height-adjust feature of the ShopStand makes using it a breeze for sitting or standing.


In the middle picture is a small worktable I can set up when my main bench is busy. On the right is the spray room of my shopmate Elliot: he uses a ShopStand with a guitar repair vise and a handy holding fixture. This is a prototype of our upcoming hands-free spray jig: it works great! (Keep an eye on Trade Secrets to know when it’s available.)

So my same old shop space is a lot roomier now, and I'm having fun rigging up new jigs to use the ShopStand for every sort of job. I guess with all this new capability I'll stop taking pictures and get working!





Fret Press System
Dan Erlewine signature

Problem-solving products mentioned above:
Photo: Erlewine ShopStand Photo: Erlewine Neck Jig Photo: Angle Vise
Erlewine ShopStand
More versatile than a workbench!
Erlewine Neck Jig
The revolutionary string tension simulator that takes the guesswork out of fretwork and fingerboard leveling.
Angle Vise
Mount jigs, fixtures or work surfaces with this sturdy tilting vise for convenient access to your work.
Buy Now
Buy Now
Buy Now
Photo: Buffing Arbor System Photo: Guitar Repair Vise Photo: Fret Press System
Buffing Arbor System
Our exclusive professional buffing outfit, for gorgeous "factory" finishes in your own shop.
Guitar Repair Vise
The luthier's favorite vise is even easier to use, thanks to custom modifications: bearing-smooth operation, fast crank handwheel, and urethane/hardwood swivel jaws.
Fret Press System
Most consistent fret jobs possible.
Buy Now
Buy Now
Buy Now

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