Home is where the heart is

8 Feb

This winter hasn’t been the best for visiting my shop. I’ve been tired, a little blue, and distracted by work, car troubles, and family obligations. I’ve been longing for my shop to be CLOSER. A thirty minute drive can be a huge deterrent to just popping in and tinkering on this project and that. Add to that the fact that winter makes me want to hibernate, and I’m left with very few shop visits. I hope to move into a house in the next couple of years, and one of my priorities will be to have a shop space attached. It’s a very exciting thought- to be just steps away from resuming a project. Ideally I’d like to find a basement workshop or even a garage, either would probably be just as large as the shop I currently have. I have a real estate listing or two on the fridge that I consider dream options- but I’m willing to compromise!

All this to say that I visited my shop for a second or two while visiting my mom yesterday, and I miss it! I went in on the pretense of checking for leaks etc., but I really just wanted to be in the shop. I suddenly realized that part of the reason I’ve been feeling a little blue of late is that I haven’t had shop time. It didn’t occur to me because I basically woodwork all day at my job- so how could I be missing woodworking? The answer is simple, work is not the same as time in my shop, doing what I want, how I want. I really want those two things to mesh into one eventually. But for now I have to recognize that I haven’t been fulfilling a need. So starting this weekend I will head back to the shop and kick up some sawdust.

Here are a few pictures of a little reorganization I did over the holidays.

Before shot:

IMG_20121215_155339

When I suddenly added this sander to the shop I had to think quick and come up with a stand for it to sit on. I happened to have a workmate lying around so I used it for this end, but as you can see it was a clunky affair, not really a permanent solution.

After pic of sander:

While this stand may also just be temporary, I find it much more easy to tolerate as it has opened up loads of space that I frankly wasn’t functioning well without!

Before pics of fastener storage:

A flurry of cutting my parts to dimension was the beginning of the project. Then followed a lot of edge banding.

Top left you can see my previous fastener storage system on the end of my bench.

It's a bit cleaner than this now. There's a dust collector in the background. I haven't found a window treatment for the door window yet...

In this photo you can just barely see the back right corner held blue bins along the wall for fasteners. It worked for a while but eventually the racks failed and the bins would drop off the wall spilling their contents all over the floor.

After pic of fastener storage:

This storage solution, which incorporates my paper dispenser for protecting my work-surfaces during glue ups, has me wondering why I didn’t think of it sooner! Ah what a difference!!

Yesterday I noted how much this reorganization session had changed my space for the better. My previous setup had created a lot of frustration from tripping over the workmate, and from searching for dropped/ spilled items on the floor. I’m certain that the current state of the shop will improve how productive I am in the shop.

As an aside, I recently had to suffer through a bout of  second hand car shopping, as my car (that I recently posted about!) needed replacing much sooner than anticipated. I had been wanting to change up from a sedan for quite a while as I found it was a rather formidable limitation to woodworking. I couldn’t pick up machinery, or transport furniture that I’d built with a sedan, although picking up boards of wood was surprisingly possible. Because I wanted to purchase a car outright rather than be tied to payments, I went with a second hand car. And because I wanted more flexibility to transport woodworking related items, I went with a hatchback. And finally because I was worried about day to day fuel consumption I compromised a bit on size. The car I went with has 64 cubic feet of cargo space.

2003 Suzuki Aerio SX

I just thought it was interesting to mention that woodworking can even influence a car purchase! Also I figured out that in a few years when I might need a “real” woodworker’s car, with more cargo space I might want to get a Honda Element- the cargo configurations were made for surfers and mountain bikers, but they also would work perfectly for woodworkers!

Happy woodworking!

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