Shop Fox W1241S 8″ Helical Head Carbide Jointer

My purchase of the Shop Fox Model W1741S 8” helical head carbide jointer began with reviewing the multitude of jointer brands and models available. After much thought and analysis, I decided on the Shop Fox brand. I further refined my search to see where it could be purchased and was happy to find it was available via Amazon with free shipping. I thought, well I can’t beat that, but decided to check anyway to see if any local companies sold the Shop Fox brand. To my delight, Workshop tools, less than 5 miles from my house sold the brand. A quick phone call tw1741o them confirmed this but they didn’t have the model I wanted in stock, so I hopped in the truck and drove down there anyway to look at other Shop Fox products to check out their quality. I was fortunate enough to be able to talk with Will Swann, the general manager, and he said he could order me one and get me the same price as what was offered on Amazon. I always try to buy local when I can, so I told him he had a deal. Will was very knowledgeable and helpful and after talking for a bit we found that we had a common hobby, wood turning. So we exchanged knowledge and tips for a while and he placed my order for the jointer. The jointer was on back order from the supplier but Will kept me informed as to the status of the shipment. Finally, the day arrived and it was received at the local store. Will notified me and I went down with a buddy’s trailer and picked it up. The guys couldn’t have been more helpful in making sure it was loaded properly on the trailer. It arrived in two well packaged crates on pallets and weighs about 500 lbs. The instructions say to have 4 people to load the table onto the stand and I should have enlisted more help but my nephew and I were able to lift it up and put it on the stand but it was a real struggle. Will had told me that if I had any problems with it, to just let him know and he would take care of it. After getting it all set up, it ran flawlessly and the surface finish from the spiral head carbide cutters is superb. I have included a few pictures of the cherry I jointed to show the finish right off the jointer. I don’t even think I will need to sand it; it is that smooth. So, anytime you need some tools or supplies, don’t hesitate to go to Workshop Tools, as the name implies, that is their specialty, plenty of tools, supplies, friendly and knowledgeable staff, what more could you ask for.
Jeff M.

Mountain Man Breakfast For A Dutch Oven


Barn Roof

We have a barn. Well, a 30 x 30 shed that needed a new roof and that we wanted to convert to a horse barn for the winter months.  Our first task (my husband and mine) was to build a large 21’ lean-to for our “stuff” that was in the barn, and it had to be long enough for our boat.  This went smoothly after squaring up to the existing barn, then the large 6 x 6 posts were set and the frame built.  Added a few more posts in the center for support, 2x4s and tin. Done.

2Next was to tackle that roof.  We decided to build our own trusses and to save money we recycled some of the 2x6s that were on the current roof.  We were not constructing our trusses at the same pitch as the existing roof, so we could re-use and cut off the rotted ends.  The pitch of the new roof was going to be a bit steeper therefore our trusses were going to angle higher. So after much calculation and using google searches for the formula, we finally built our first truss in front of our garage where we had a nice level work surface.  Having a dead-level work area is very important for figuring out the correct angles.  After the first was built, we constructed a jig to use on the rest of the 13 trusses.  A jig is the 1way to make way all your trusses are identical so you have a level smooth roof.   For the jig, I simply used scrap wood.  I used a very thin piece of wood to lay on the ground. The bottom of this thin board would snug against the 2 x 6 truss base.  The 2 x 4s would lay on top of this board which is why it needs to be thin.  I nailed a scrap piece of 2 x 4 at the top with the correct measurement of the peak of my trust.  So if your total height of your truss is 36”, this jig would rest on the top of the 2 x 6 (subtract 5 ½”) and be 30.5” to the 2×4 stopper.  Be sure to mark center where your two 2 x 4 on your trusses will meet. It’s hard to tell on the picture, but I wrote all my measurements on the jig for building the trusses.  A life saver.  We had never built trusses before this so we researched this.  There are some You Tube videos out there and good diagrams.  Also, there are different ways to build these.  Use what you believe you are capable of doing.  But the basics are the same.  Build on level ground, build some sort of jig or jigs for uniformity, and be sure you write down all your measurements for the different braces, angles and lengths.

My husband and I built 5 trusses in front of the garage with the new lumber.  This is all we calculated we’d need before we started using the recycled 2×6’s.   We then started the tear down and re-build.  With each truss being 30 feet long it was time to call in some help.  These were heavy!
3We moved our work area closer to the barn and used our 16’ trailer with the gate down as our work bench.  I was building trusses with my father in law and sister in law helping hold and nailing the plates as my 4husband was working demolition with a friend, and of course our daughter helping pull nails and picking up with her wagon.  We did not tear the entire roof off at once, in case of bad weather so we tore down as we built up.

In starting to build the rest of the trusses, I had my 10” Ryobi Miter Saw I bought from Workshop Tools years ago.  This worked fine except the bending over on the trailer was killing my back.  I went to Workshop Tools and bought their Portable Miter Saw Stand for $99.97.  LOVE IT!  With the slide out guides to hold the long boards it saved my back.  We used a SKIL Circular Saw from Workshop Tools to cut the long angles on the 2x6s for the ends of the trusses.

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Once the trusses were built and we got them hoisted up with extra help from some very strong friends and family.  These were very heavy so it took about 4 or 5 of us to get them up.  We then had to nail temporary braces on them to keep the level vertically until we got the one bys on the top.  We put our trusses every 3 foot, the width of our tin and one on the outside of 9each end.  When we put the one bys on, we calculated even measurements between where we wanted the top or peak line and the base line. We used ladders moving up and down screwing the one bys perpendicular to the trusses. Finally, it was time for  the tin!  This was the simpler part of the job.  I was the lightest and the two guys didn’t particularly like heights, so with my charged BOSCH 18v Impact drill (bought at Workshop Tools of course) and a ¼” nut setter, away I went.  The guys hoisted the tin up, my husband squared the peak on his ladder and I was on the other end.  I simply walked on the top of the tin making sure my weight was straddled on the trusses up and down screwing it down through the one bys every ridge line of the tin.  The final touch was the ridge cap.  Gutters were put on later and the roof was done!  My husband got the honors of the last touch.  You can see where I was taking the picture.

One final note: In doing any project like this around your lawn or where you will have animals and kids, I would invest in a magnetic pick up tool.  We were constantly dropping nails and screws, and this would be torture in a horses hoof or in a kids foot.  This jewel from Workshop Tools, the rolling magnetic pickup got them up every time, out of dirt or in grass.  I purchased this because our horses get their “pedicures” from the Ferrier on concrete.  After sweeping, I run this little tool over the concrete work surface.  I have attached a picture of what it picked up after sweeping up from the Ferrier.  Look at how much it picks up.  All those metal splinters. . . . and how much I use it!  Amazing!!


11        Next Project – the inside of the barn.   Happy Building – Brenda R

Pop-Top Camper Build

Camping has always been a part of my life.  Our family would go almost every weekend in the summer.  We have gone through numerous types of campers over the years including a tent, pop-up, pull behind and a motorhome.  After moving to Tennessee in 2008 I started out my own camping adventures with my now Fiancée Bonnie and her son Jacob.  We began with just a tent and after sleeping on the ground a few nights I decided to trade one of my ATV’s for a pop up camper.  334050_10151370578828765_807812162_o
This camper was amazing compared to a tent.  Although the roof leaked and it had various other issues, compared to a tent it was the Biltmore.  After doing the necessary repairs to the pop up we used it for another year or two.  In summer of 2012 we began the camping season finding mice and various other critters living in our camper.  The roof leaked just as bad as it did before if not worse.  At this point I was fed up with this camper.  So I towed it home and with a sawz-all and hammer, I took apart (not nicely) the whole thing and burned what I could.  Now having only a frame, it was time to start building.  After searching the internet for ideas I came across some plans called “the pop top”. The plans seemed to be interesting and easy to build.  So I started construction. I finished each piece that I built with 2 coats of two part epoxy.  First I sanded the whole trailer down and repainted it. Then came the floor. I had some sheets of 3/4″ OSB, and since I was epoxying both sides I figured it would suffice for a floor.

After this, the sides take shape. Each side was assembled first and then put up. After the sides were installed I framed up the front and rear of the camper.
Since I was using just luan plywood for the panels I thought it may be a good idea to use water putty to fill in any voids in the wood for a smooth finish later on.  This seemed to work good for filling in the “Gaps”.1374885_10152268727423765_1814718281_n1385760_10152268727278765_927677865_n1391888_10152310197878765_1345189935_n1385331_10152310202513765_982498718_n

When framing was done I installed all of the wiring inside the camper and put in foam insulation in and painted the interior with paint. At this time I also decided to put down linoleum.

At this point I decided to build a couch bed that folds to a bed.  The ending size is equivalent to a Europeon Super King Bed. I’m 6’8″ and need a long bed to sleep comfortably. The bed folds up and down with ease and has ample amount of storage space underneath.
From here I started to build the kitchen cabinets. I just started from scratch.  The refrigerator cabinet turned out very nice with ample storage in huge drawers underneath the fridge.  I also installed lighting on the interior of the cabinets to help out when its to dark to see in.

One of the last things to do is to build the top.  The top had to be huge because I am a tall person.  It is basically four swinging sides that fold up and down and then a top that sits on top of it as the roof.
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As an extra addition to the camper, I decided to build some storage boxes for the front and the back of the camper.  They are simple and follow the contour of the camper excellent.  They both have built in led lights inside.
The whole thing took me about 3 years to finish as many other projects came to life during construction.  The whole camper is built from mostly scrap wood. A few of the couch legs have bite marks on them as my Lab tried to us them as toys before I could get them in the camper. The camper has two coats of epoxy resin on it and three coats of paint. The bigger tools I used were: Table Saw, Skill Saw, Sanders, Drills and Pneumatic Nailer’s. The basic idea of this camper is to get out of the weather and still be able to sleep, eat & entertain. The camper will sleep 3 people and our Lab without a problem.  The main cabin has a “pop top” in which I can stand easily.  It allows a 360-degree view out the pop top. Below is a picture looking up into the opening from the sitting area inside the camper.
The camper can be towed easily with a Mini-Van, Light truck or SUV.  Although it has no plumbing or propane connections inside yet, both of those are easy to do outside with our cook stove and hot water shower.  We are excited to use it when the weather gets a bit nicer.  Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more blogs from Workshop Tools

There’s Gold In These Hills……

There’s gold in these hills……

Gold prospecting has many opportunities for the recreational gold prospector to the professional. It is fun for any individual or even the whole family. East Tennessee has many places to prospect including the Tellico River zone and Coker Creek zone, all of which is part of the Cherokee National Forest. There is no permit needed for panning only, but if you plan to use a sluice box or a dredge you must first receive a permit from the ranger stations in those areas.  There is currently no fee for a gold sluicing/dredging permit. You are free to use a gold pan in any state owned waters, but most of the gold is found along the Eastern mountain range bordering  North Carolina. Please note you cannot prospect for gold in the Smoky Mountains National Forest.gold_kit_sm

The best way to start prospecting is to use a pan. A good starter set includes a 13.5” pan, snifter bottle, shovel, classification screen and a 5 gallon bucket.  Panning is the most important thing to get good at. Well, that, and where to find gold. The two will go hand in hand. With these tools and a bit of knowledge you will be finding that golden nugget in no time. I found my supplies at Workshop Tools in Sevierville, Tennessee. They have everything you need to get started. When you’re ready to start prospecting, check out

I hope this entry has inspired you to want to start prospecting. Stay tuned for further updates on how to use a pan, snifter bottle & classification screen.

Benjamin T Harrison
Workshop Tools