Thursday, March 12, 2015

Shop Organization

I've been spending some time on shop organization.

Like many woodworkers, I share a two-car garage for my home shop. Like any reasonably intelligent guy who likes to daydream, I spend a fair amount of time thinking about all the ways this is inconvenient or suboptimal for me and my work, and about improvising ways to make the space suit me better. Occasionally, I think about how sharing the space with a woodworker is also inconvenient for the person who actually uses the garage for its intended purpose, and whose name is on the deed to the house.

Margaret has her own interests and hobbies, and the materials and equipment that go along with them. She also does a fair amount of her own home improvement and decorating, so there are times when we are both trying to put the garage to uses that have nothing to do with storing vehicles out of the weather. (The best times are when we collaborate! But I digress.)

So it behooves me to be on the lookout for anything that will make it easier for her to share her garage with me and my woodworking. And lately came a great opportunity in that regard. A local school system has been auctioning off surplus equipment and furniture, everything from old transparency projectors and movie screens to desks to school woodshop equipment (in fact, I bought a Unisaw at an earlier auction). Recently they've started getting rid of old kitchen equipment too, and that's where I picked up the shelves you see in the photo above. These are commercial restaurant equipment: Metro wire shelving. We got enough to completely cover one wall of the garage, which yields more than enough space for all our junk before we even cull and organize! These units are 6 feet wide and 2 feet deep. If you've ever worked with this stuff, you know it beats the pants off any of the cheap shelving you can get at Ikea, Target, or other discount stores. On the other hand, it isn't cheap. But it goes together tool-free and is rated to handle several hundred pounds per shelf. I am taking the extra trouble to anchor it to the wall and connect the posts on adjacent units.

It also works great with the Odate-style toolboxes I have in abundance now that I offer a class in making them every couple of months!

Next I need to work on my side of the shop. I'm thinking some more lights, wall-mounted dust collection, get rid of that soffit? Hey, I can dream, right?

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