We are pretty new to the game and are working through some organizational issues in the shop we just rented. It is only about 1000 square foot. By the time you get one kitchen cut and stacked (in the middle of the floor) you're up against the wall. Our table saw is on one wall about center.
Someone suggested we place the saw in the middle of the room, put some shelving along the wall where the saw is now and when the cabs are assembled put them in the shelving, face out for drawer/door install. He suggested no more shelving than two rows high so that we are not killing ourselves to lift cabs e.g. 90" from the floor.
It seems plausible and wouldn't require too much linear shelf footage to hold one complete kitche out of the way until it's ready to be installed. Does anyone have any thoughts on interim storage? Because the way it is now is heartbreaking. Someone carrying something around the shop has knocked into the taped face of my cabs and it is really irritating doing that two or three times. Any help is appreciated.
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor R:
Do you have space outdoors to bring in a storage container? I get monthly mailers from a company trying to rent me one or more of these things. I have plenty of space inside but it could help get you through a tight situation.
First, set your shop up so the work flows through. Almost certainly you don't have a back door, so you want a setup so it flows in a circle. Material comes in, is staged, goes through the saw, then whatever machining you do, then subassembly, then assembly, then what we call "preps", final preparation for shipping, then it's stacked and ultimately goes out the door.
As you've found, if guys have to crisscross around the shop during the stages of production with parts, finished product can get dinged. You may also have noticed that carrying parts clear across the shop, however small it is, is time wasted. A circular flow just moves the product to the next work area, and the next and the next with maximum efficiency.
Grizzly apparently has software on their site where you can lay out your shop. Of course you could do this on paper (for you younger guys, paper is a wood product we used to use before there were computers. It's very thin and easier to carry around than a computer monitor).
Now, about what order to do stuff in. I started out in a two-car garage doing mostly kitchens, often pretty large ones. Such a situation forces you to become very efficient.
Scenario A: Cut and build your boxes, stack them, cut and build your face frames, pull down the boxes, attach faceframes, stack boxes. Build drawers, pull down boxes, install drawers, stack boxes. Build (receive) doors and drawer fronts, pull down boxes, install doors, stack boxes.
Scenerio B. Cut and build faceframes, toekicks (if separate), and drawer boxes. Build doors (or order so they arrive the day before assembly). Cut carcasses; pass them off to the machining area.
Build a carcass, apply the faceframe and toekick, and then pass it off to the next work area, where it's finished up: faceframe is sanded, drawers are installed, doors and fronts are applied. Stack them for shipping. Why do you need racks for this? Build your bases first, stack them two-high, put your uppers on top of that. You can consolidate a lot of cabinets into a very small space doing this, and you don't have to handle them several times.
Of course you'll have to vary this according to your specific methods, but if your methods don't lend themselves to this kind of flow I heartily recommend that you re-examine and modify them so they do.
Next I do all my finishing, and then I assemble my cabinets, wrap them, and load them on my old delivery van. It has worked incredibly well for me because the all the combined parts themselves take up very little room when stacked against a wall. It's only an assembled cabinet box that takes up a lot of room.
I should mention there are a few exceptions to this: Sometimes I won't build my doors until last when I customer is in a big hurry. In that case I will build everything else, install the job and then make and finish the doors while the house is being finished. The other exception is any cabinet that has a veneer or finished end I will usually assemble it before the finishing stage. To do this you have to be able to build your doors accurately because you cannot fit them beforehand. I hope this helps.
When drawers and doors arrive, the cases are taken back out in twos or threes, doors/drawers attached, miscellaneous touchup, blanketing or cardboard protection, then stored back in the truck for delivery and installation. The shop stays semi-organized, I'm not driven crazy trying to maneuver around a sea of cases, and the work stays clean and ding-free. The truck is also a lifesaver when the client suddenly needs to postpone delivery on the life-and-death rush job that you've worked extra nights and weekends to finish on time. The truck only adds 100 square feet or so to the shop space, but makes an incredible difference in my operation. Obviously a cargo trailer works similarly; I have a friend who transformed his operation with a 7 x 12 enclosed trailer.
I do have to remove them again for finishing, but when they go back in truck, they are secured for shipping. (If you have a separate finish room, you could even finish them before loading on the truck.) In this scenario, I will install doors and drawers on site to prevent damaging them when moving from truck to shop then back to truck. Most of the time I install crown at the shop, but pieces that will adjoin a wall, soffit, or other structure I cut on site. Just out of curiosity, how are you delivering cabinets now? If you don't have a truck or trailer, sounds like that should be your next purchase.
My friend owns a sharpening company and gives us a break. Now all we need is some time to true up that blade. It is slightly off front to back and I can't stand it. I haven't had time to even find out how to actually true it up yet. We did just get a second hand porter cable chop saw with laser 12" blade. It's pretty good considering it was only $250. However, I tried to tell my friend that what we really need is a good radial arm saw. Somehow he's got it in his head that they are only good for rough work like cutting vinyl siding. I have not used one very much, but that is not my experience at all. I think it would be perfect for cross cutting shelves after they have been cut and taped full length. Are you aware that they are less accurate than a regular chop?
Our shop is only 1500 square feet, and we assemble and package our tools, pre-finish trim and doors, and Fabricate Solid Surface tops out of the same square footage. It’s all about multi-tasking our square footage and having racks that quickly fold down and out of the way.
My shop started out at 1000 square feet and I just used my cabinet saw. Now we're up to 3000 square feet. We still have a good table saw, and use it a lot. I would not try to fit a horizontal slider in here. For us, with our mix of products, the vertical panel saw makes more sense. Between it, and the Jet 10" cabinet saw (which we take pains to keep dialed in), we can do everything we need - as accurately as we need. The vertical panel saw is accurate, space saving, and makes material handling very easy.
Oh, and your question about comparing the sliding miter saw and the radial arm saw. RA's are indeed easier to get out of square. The good ones are good and stout, which does make them good rough mill cutoff saws. They are a little more dangerous (please tell me you wouldn't use it for ripping). Again, I don't own one anymore. I can't justify the space, when the chopsaw is so accurate, safe, and easy to maintain.