The Knock-Down Shop
A precision shop is set up in less than five minutes using collapsible tables and a salvaged panel door.
Synopsis: Using lightweight portable power tools and an assortment of work supports, it’s possible to create a portable job-site workshop that can be assembled and disassembled in minutes. Here, the author describes the versatile and flexible system that he uses to produce cabinet-shop quality work.
Job-site shops are not a new idea. In the past, carpenters often would lug heavy shop tools such as radial-arm saws to the job site as soon as they could be protected from the weather. These temporary shops were — and often still are — left in place for extended periods of time. In the mid-1970s, however, the electric miter saw was introduced and combined portability with the speed and power of a radial-arm saw. The power miter added a level of precision and mobility to a carpenter’s tool arsenal that was unknown before that time.
The trend toward job-site precision and portability continued with lightweight tablesaws and routers being used with high-quality guides and collapsible stands. Combined with the power miter saw and biscuit joiner, these tools allowed cabinet-shop accuracy on the job site. To develop the full potential of these job-site tools, I set them up on knockdown benches, but thoughtful placement and tool orientation also contribute to the overall success of the knockdown shop. What really makes the system work is that after spending the day doing anything from framing to custom woodworking, I can break down my shop and pack it up with an efficiency that would make a roustabout proud.
Does a knockdown shop make sense?
Why would you want to set up and tear down your job-site shop every day? Isn’t it hard enough just getting the work done? Having the option of packing up shop on a daily basis has several advantages. The first is that you…