I love my shop.
The power tools, the hand tools, the padded luthier workbench, and the integrated dust collection. Especially the dust collection. One point of frustration however, is the relatively limited storage space. And so I’ve had to find spaces in every crevice and corner, and install shelving and hooks around the wood-paneled walls.
A particularly frustrating problem was the lack of convenient power and dust collection on my main workbench/tablesaw outfeed table. The router table is here. It is also here where I typically work with the random orbital sander and hand-held routers. Consequently, I frequently need both power and dust collection in this area.
I’ve never found a good spot for a power strip right on this bench. I will sometimes pull the retractable cord from the ceiling box at the back of the shop over to this area. However this results in a long cord running along the length of the shop – a hazard to both my work pieces and myself. More often I will unplug the table router to “borrow” it’s power cord for whatever tool I’m using. This is always a bit awkward.
As for dust collection, I have a 4″ port on the wall a the far end of the bench. But didn’t have a good space to store the large flexible hose to hook into it. I would normally store this on the floor behind the joiner. This meant kneeling down and feeling around behind the joiner to retrieve it. It also meant that whenever I would slide the joiner out of its cubby and away from the wall, the hose would expand a bit and make sliding the joiner back a hassle. I needed a solution that would get me fast and easy access to dust and power that would easily stow away out-of-the-way when not in use.
The solution was to mount a 4″ dust collection hose to a ceiling-mounted retractable power cord. It is hung so that the power is accessible though still out of the way even when the cord is retracted. When I also need dust collection, I can simply pull down the hose.
To ensure the hose “hugs” the wall to the side and doesn’t merely hang limply over my counter space, I tied a cord around it a few feet from the end and rigged up a counterweight system using a pulley and some nylon cord. When the power cord is pulled down, the rest of the hose “follows” and comes to rest a few inches from the countertop. When I no longer need it, I release the retractable cord, sending the cord and hose up. When the cord retracts, the counterweight engages to pull the rest of the hose out of the way as well.
The system works surprisingly well and I now have a self-storing power and dust collection solution for the hardest working bench in my shop!