Cleaning up or not cleaning up is a recurring topic of frustration. While we can put our effort in to ways to find the culprits, I would rather we put our effort in to simply keeping the shop cleaner. To that end, I have some observations , and others can add theirs. My point here is to articulate some expectations on a shared space beyond the vague “clean up after yourself”.
In the woodshop, just about everything creates dust, and the dust goes everywhere. If you only clean up your work area, that’s not enough. In this shared space, there isn’t anyone who’s job it is to clean up the common areas. Those are also your shared responsibility. Clean up in a wide radius around your work area, around any tool that you use, and under nearby tables.
If someone is waiting on a tool, clean up. They may tell you not to worry about it, that’s fine. But plan on cleaning up. If you happen to jump in on a tool while someone is using it, offer to help clean up.
The drill press, band saws and chop saw are problem areas. If they are clean, it’s a surprise. Many who use this equipment, “only make a quick cut”. That still makes a mess. 30 seconds of work is still a mess. If the area is not clean, do your work, then clean it up. Someone is going to have to. Behind the equipment, inside the bandsaws. Don’t forget to clean inside the doors of the bandsaws, and the floor all around.
Anything that we do while sanding or cutting is getting the entire shop dirty. Reach the broom under your work table. Reach under the tables next to it. Your dust went there, too.
Jointer, planer and router. These things throw chips all around them. The middle area around the vacuum seems to collect chips from all three pieces of equipment. Each of these has multiple surfaces in, around and behind the equipment to collect shavings. Get a hand broom and knock it all off.
On the planer, chips collect on the housing, under the feed table. You gotta get in there too. Get under the planer, if you can.
On the jointer, chips collect behind the fence in all of the contours. Empty the jointer chip bin into the trash…
Router - everywhere, but especially behind it and under it.
Sander, same thing. Brush it down, sweep the floor all around.
CNC machine - the chips go over both sides, and under the table. Grab a broom while a job is running.
The table saw has a huge dust radius. All the way past the sanding stations and into the lathes. Forward onto the extension table, and under it. Out both sides to the work tables and chop saw. If you’re not sweeping off the entire top of the saw, the top of the extension table, the aisles on either side, and back to the sanders, you’re not cleaning up. Clean the miter slots, the fence slot, the handles, face plate, etc…
How far and how deep you clean can vary on how much wood you cut. But with even a single cut, you should run a hand broom on the surfaces, and a floor broom all around the equipment. If you have been there for a while, go deep.
“It was already dirty” is not an option.
It is frustrating to clean up someone else’s mess. This is a shared space that we are all responsible for. The equipment is kept working, and the lights are kept on. The cleaning has to get done as well. If you’re using the shop, you agreed to help keep the shop up.
If you’re thinking that “it’s not that bad”, or “it’s just one cut”, then there’s a decent chance that you will be contributing to the problem. If you haven’t picked up a brush and a broom after working, then you are definitely contributing to the problem. There are days when any and all of us have made a mess that was not cleaned up. It’s going to happen. Let’s work together on making that an “oops” and not a habit.
Finally, don’t forget the trash and dust collectors. Similar philosophy. If it’s not quite full, and you have been using the equipment hooked up to collection, empty it anyway. If you haven’t taken out a trash can in the last few trips to the shop, empty the trash cans. Dump 2 or 3 into a single can and take that out. This is all shared responsibility. Set a goal to take the trash out every couple of visits to the shop. Maybe you’re already doing it every time, but for those who aren’t, make sure to do it some of the time. If you can’t remember the last time you took the trash out, it’s time.