Stepping back

(New series, Working in 144)

With the new tool cart basically done, it’s time to slow my roll and determine what the next steps are. I have a plan in my head, but I need to really think hard about if it would work, how well it would work, or if some other form of action would work better.

Had a trackback link to a contractor forum where someone was impressed at how much stuff I had and how I’ve been working with it. I was a bit more honest there than I’ve been with myself I think. I also still haven’t admitted what I’m going to admit now – I think I’m right on the edge of functional, and not in a good way. Doing final assembly on the cart, and all the projects leading up to this, I find one thing in common with all of them – I’m practically falling over things and items are everywhere, especially during the last stages of a project. During the dangerous activites like cutting, routing or similar the shop is tidy and clean, so it isn’t a problem. At the end though, I have clamps falling over, the old stands in the way, not a lot of room to work. Really made me question how much longer I can be in this space.

I’m pretty proud at how far I’ve come and what I’ve been able to accomplish, but I think my shop is really starting to impact how well a project turns out for me. I notice it most towards the end where I just want to get a project done. Why? I want the room back. It gets way too cramped near the end and I have to constantly move things out of my way. I need more horizontal surfaces, for sure. I need to not have to move my jointer to get to my clamps. I hate how each time I bump into my saw dust collection it falls off. I start taking shortcuts or start accepting results I really shouldn’t. If I ever want to make that next step I really am going to have to build a new shop.

A completely new and bigger shop is expensive, though. I’m realistically at least two or three years away from being in the position to do it. I’ve already started dreaming about a bigger shop and how I would outfit it. For my sanity (and my quality) though, I need to figure out how to bridge the gap between here and there. So, I’m working on a new series about my shop to go through the entire process from start to finish. To see the whole series, look for the tag ‘Working in 144’ to follow along.

Why am I doing this? Well, I have to be serious about what I want in my shop and what I want to do in my shop. I need to be able to actually work in it, not just have it be a collection of tools. Museums do that, and I can’t charge an admission fee. Storage would need to at least live out the remainder of this shop’s time if not be able to be useful in the next one. I’m trying to use every single inch I can. My thought is that these overlooked spaces, if used properly, may give me enough room to actually complete a project, perhaps on an assembly surface.

Coming up in Part Two: Shop evaluation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.