Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Shop Make Over 101

I just couldn't seem to find the right spot in the garage for that beautiful new saw so I decided some changes were in order. Normally when I make these epic decisions, nothing much happens for a while. This time things are changing rapidly.

That gargantuan steel shelving I had in the shop was at best, useless. It held a lot of stuff, but it mostly took up room which I don't seem to have enough of. So I offered it to someone for FREE and they actually took it.

I suddenly had a gigantic big bare wall to work with and that was awesome. However I also had a ginormous MESS to contend with and that was disastrous! The shelves may have been space hogs but they held all this STUFF! At this point there is absolutely NOTHING I can do in the shop because I can't MOVE in there!

Okay so it's time to get busy. First of all, I need a plan so I fire up Google Sketch Up and devise a new floor plan. This is a GREAT idea! I can move all that equipment around in my shop and never lift a finger.

It's great on paper but now I actually have to try to implement it. The easiest place to start is with the bare wall. So I move everything over there according to my new "plan". This is good, it's working for me. And I am trying to keep everything mobile so I can move away from the wall if I have to. Move it out into all that new floor space I will have.

But as you can see I am a long way from there yet. I at least made a "pathway" so I could sort of get to things.

I have another idea! I'll put up shelving (oh no not shelving again!) OVER TOP of the machines for storage. One shelf, 18" from the ceiling, and 20" wide and 16 feet long. This will fill that missing "storage" area.

So I ordered some serious heavy duty shelving brackets from Lee Valley but as you can see, they aren't here yet. Time to work on something else.

That new drill press is not very stable on that temporary mobile base I made so I decide to make a new BIGGER mobile base. The problem here is because this drill press is very top heavy it really needs to be BOLTED to the FLOOR. Unfortunately in my shop that is NOT an option. So I make a bigger base and it it less "tippy" then it was, but it will still require caution whenever I use it.

Now while I am twiddling my thumbs waiting for the shelving brackets I am thinking that there must be another project I can tackle in the meantime. Something small and quick and easy. Oh wait, those words don't exist in my world.

This pile of lumber and trim and ceiling tiles and god knows WHAT I have piled in the corner really need to find a proper home. AND they need to be organized. I could put up shelving... NO NO NO NOT SHELVING! This is a big pile and no matter what I do with it it will be in the way at some point. If only I could make it MOBILE....

I searched the net for some suitable plans but I didn't find anything that appealed to me. My problem is I want something that will hold ALL the wood I have AND will organize it too. I don't want much do I?

So again I turned to Google Sketch Up. I am not very astute at using it yet but using it sure helps you to learn things. Unfortunately I am still doing everything the hard way. I really need to learn the keyboard shortcuts and how to use some of the simple tools like the guides better. If I keep this remodelling pace up, I should have it mastered soon!

After a few hours I had a design I liked and that would work in my space and for my needs. Now all I had to do was build it. A trip to Busy Bee tools for some 6 1/4" heavy duty casters and then to Home Hardware for $300.00 worth of lumber and I was all set.

I chose to use 3/4" spruce construction grade plywood. I would have LIKED to use Baltic Birch but this would have been an even more expensive lumber cart if I had. Of course it would also have been a lot sturdier but it's working for now.

It took about 8 hours to build. Manhandling 3/4" sheet plywood by oneself is not an easy task. I managed to get all the pieces cut by myself, and then the spouse came out later to help with some of the more difficult assembly which had to be done with the cart upside down. Flipping it right side up was NO easy feat! But it's built AND it's mobile. My one regret is using two swivel casters and two fixed casters. In retrospect 4 swivel casters would have been a better choice.

Hopefully tomorrow I will get the shelving brackets and get the shelves up. Then I will be making some rolling drawers for storage under the workbench. And someday soon, I will be able to work in my shop again.

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