I love individual work stations. Having everything you need, in one spot, close by where you need to work, makes for greater efficiency as well as a pleasant experience. If you can group tools and their needs close together, you're more likely to work more safely, because you aren't tempted to overlook things and take short cuts.
The little roll-around cabinet below (subject of an article in the first issue of Woodcraft Magazine, January 2005) was designed to hold all the appurtenances and bits to go with my standing drill press. It also serves double duty as an adjustable infeed/outfeed roller stand for the table saw, band saw and drill press. I store a depth stop, screw extractors, files for sharpening bits, circle cutters, hole cutters, a hole-size gauge, and anything else pertaining to the drill press. It's one of those 'how-did-I-get-along-without-this' shop necessities.
And beneath my little workbench, I've added in a shelf to hold my portable sharpening station, a box to contain and protect a collection of oilstones:
It is french-fitted to loosely hold three grits of oilstones and is simple to just lift up onto the bench to work with, or to any other flat surface not buried under wood blanks or other tools at the time I need to sharpen chisels or plane irons or carving gouges.
The stones lift out to wash away a build-up of swarf, or to turn them over for use, or to flatten against another. I included a small well for storing a slip stone and other miscellaneous sharpeners, and glued a wide leather strop to one end. There is also a steel plate for use with diamond pastes.
Having everything so easily to hand has made touch-up sharpening much easier, and I sharpen more often than I used to, when my supplies were scattered. The box keeps them clean, and can be used anywhere.
Work stations improve all my shop time. I have a unit for sandpaper storage, but need to do one for finishes and finishing supplies. It's on my list.
If you have any other innovative ideas for individual work stations, please share! I'm always open to new ideas for better shop efficiency.
©Barb Siddiqui, use with permission only