Friday, 4 April 2014

Spring cleaning the shop

This is one of those jobs I'd been putting off for a while (or saving for a rainy day). The shop was rebuilt at the end of 2012 (see here) and when restocking it there were a lot of boxes containing equipment, detritus, old bits of wood and plywood. I just put them onto the shelving for that elusive sorting out time in the future.
Well the time has arrived.

Over the last 15 months I had obtained a lot of timber from various sources and put them neatly on the wood rack (see here). Inevetiably during that time pieces were shortened, the wood pile disturbed etc to the point where I didn't know what I had. In fact it had become quite a mess. The first spring clean job was to put the offcuts and anything shorter than about 1m on to the top shelf but crosswise instead of lengthwise. This allows me to categorize and label the timbers, oak, mahogany, beech etc. This methodology was carried to the long lengths too but placing them longitudinally labelling the side or ends of the wood rack so I now know precisely what I have. I just have to keep this rack tidy and then I'm all set.

Shop Plan View
This is so you can orientate yourself
for the following photos.

My wood rack (freestanding) and utility storage racks are partitioned off in the shop with OSB boards forming a small room (12 feet long x 6 feet wide). There is a lot of cubic space in this room and maximising the usage by sensibly arranging it has been a priority right from the start of creating my new shop.

Wood Rack
The trolley with castors leaning against the wood rack above I use for various tasks. If building large items I will use it as a low assembly table and that gives me the ability to tow it around the shop or park it in the wood rack area. If I want additional work surface space or a higher assembly table I simply clamp it to the grey table shown just in shot above. It's surprising how useful a 4' long by 18" wide shop trolley can be at providing extra horizontal surfaces. The grey table is actually a fully height adjustable mitre saw table that can be folding flat for storage if necessary. Another big box store purchase that has come in useful.

The boxes of "stuff" were sorted through with many visits to the bin, I mean recycling facility, in my back yard ;) . I found tools I remember buying but had "lost". Also there were piles of anchor bolts that I must have kept buying probably because I couldn't find the previous ones. It certainly is liberating to throw junk away (I mean recycle!).

Utility Shelving

I now have a little more room to store the various tool boxes that have been collected over the years.
I prefer to keep my power tools in storage containers and put them onto the shelf when I'm not using them. I'm not particularly bothered if it takes me a few seconds to pull it off the shelf before using it. Some people like everything out and at their fingertips but that isn't me.
I also have a few more tools on the shelves that I don't use that often such as a lunch box planer/thicknesser and a desktop jointer. I have full size versions of these permanently available elsewhere in the shop keeping these desktop models for occasional emergency usage. Also on the shelves in the above picture is my dedicated bench-top mortiser and another bench-top drill press. There is also a disk and belt sander on the nearest lower shelf. I must get around to setting that up permanently.
I keep one of the shelves stocked with glues and adhesives so I don't have to go rummaging through boxes to find a glue bottle.

This has been a useful exercise for a spring clean. I now just need to keep it tidy.

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