Once you know that there is essentially no difference between what the social conventions call “WORK” and what some of us call “PLAY”, then term “workstation” becomes interchangeable with “playstation.”
[Sony lawyers notwithstanding, but our use is in the generic sense, not the product anchored wordmark (2 cap letters), and there is plenty of prior art. (I have to give legal the weekends off…) Like we can use imagineer with no fear. Prior art for imagineering derived from an aluminum company in 1946. But as a tool slut with an imagination, you should know this stuff. Forgive me, but with a patently unconstitutional Bidenista “trute squad” masquerading as meaningful, one can never be too careful!’ It’s just another reason we believe in getting hammered prior to being nailed…]
What turns an otherwise boring used double-wide in the woods into a transporting and growth-friendly creativity mecca is nothing more than following some simple rules of Life. Among which:
- You can do ANYTHING in Life, but not EVERYTHING.
- Whatever you do, it’s done best with the right TOOLS.
- And the tools work best logically grouped at a workstation.
- It’s there the workflow is optimized.
- And money is saved, depending on your tooling addiction.
An Example Workstation
A few Sundays back, I put up a picture, in passing, of the most embarrassing corner of my shop. It’s the area from the wood storage area (corners are good for that because you can lean everything (and everything) up against a wall) over to the shop double doors.
Double doors? Of course!
All serious shops need double doors. I will never forget when Pappy decided to build his own fishing boat. 8.5 -foot Pram design, built with attention to detail in the home’s basement shop up in Seattle. Bronze fastened. It was a “car-topper” before that was vogue (and plastic or Kevlar for today’s whimps who can’t shoulder 90 pounds on an off a car).
Thing is, though, the finished pram almost didn’t get out of the basement. He’d forgotten to measure the door correctly (didn’t account for the freeboard of the boat) which meant hinges had to come off the green shop door. Accompanied by some gen-u-ine firehouse “don’t talk like that.” (I still don’t know what a bald-or-bastard calf is, for example.)
From that point on, if any real work was to be done, the room containing it would have a wide sliding door or double doors. My “doubles” were a $35 garage sale find and dickering 10-years ago. Projects need to age a couple of years sometimes. It’s like art that way.
Back to this week’s adventure: there was this ugly corner in Ure’s messy shop: A catch-all desk and piles of piles…
the first step was to reorganize things and fix up the crummy desk with a fresh coat of hard cabinet paint. That (and moving the piles around) made an immediate improvement.
Desk cleared, some of the tools and supplies for the workstation/playstation were laid out. Storage is one skill I have never figured out.
Here, for example, is the air brushing gear. There are pourable acrylics and three or four air brushes, some hoses, adapters, more paint, cleaning pot, solvents…you see the pile. Oh, yes, the compressor, too. With shop air overhead as a backup.
Shortly after this snap, a similarly sized pile for the styrofoam carving project tools rose (planned, not started yet) which means that’s a great way to recycle Amazon packing materials). And all the Dremel tool add-ons and accessories. Last item was ONE of the gun cleaning kits and a couple of quarts of Hoppes (which was on sale for under $14 a quart).
Empty space is the rarest item in a busy shop.
Since this bench will be used for gun cleaning, too…another story:
Come to find out, son G2 is a fan of an alternative, CR-something gun cleaner. And some of his friends (the real-deal operators club merc types) are all about barrel snakes and such. Me? Bore sight boredom if you ask. If a couple of passes with a brass brush, Hoppe’s #9 a few patches after that, and some Royal Purple MaxFilm doesn’t work, well that’s why God made boot guns, grenades, and running shoes, right?
Any who…Next step in this adventure was to build and load up the shelves. Which began like this (after first making some shelving):
Best thing for tools at the work position is one of those magnetic strips – long one here -24-inches worth.
Now (more or less done) there are scissors, small pliers, picks and doodads all along it. Overhead a big LED work light is offset just left so reflections off shiny things (like a P85 Ruger in the gun vise) won’t create glare when being coated. (Less glare off the G17s – plastic. Which doesn’t need much bluing touch-up, lol.).
Eventually, it began to look like this:
On the left is a 16-inch scroll saw which is fine for really tiny work like PCBs and thin Baltic birch (or styro). And there is (which all ham radio types will envy depending on how severe the disease is) is a coil winding machine!
Zoom in on the left side for my other eBay “tool slut specials”?
On the left is a (semi-rare) Dremel 4-inch table saw. And on the right is the Dremel mini wood lathe.
Point here is that the workflow can be (roughly) left to right with the left being where a “left return” on a desk would is. (Easier for a righty to answer the phone (with the right hand) when the machines are left; you follow, I hope?)
Spins on the Small Project Bench
The main uses of this bench (at least as planned and built so far) are to do small craft projects. Make picture frames. Do styro carving, gun cleaning, model building, air brushing, and who knows what else? Sitting still work, not standing stuff.
I got a wild hair because part of this build that tickled the “build a model” itch. I think every young male goes through the process: Build a model car, model airplane, model ship, and it all roughs-out – if you let it – a kind of “sneak preview” of what directions their life might go. Then we outgrow our dreams. When we retire there’s a chance to rediscover them.
Anyway, a famous 1970’s Portland ship model builder (Carl Hanson) was a friend of the family when growing up (I may have mentioned this). When we visited he and his wife in Portland (long before the commies took over) he was turning out a couple of detail perfect square riggers per year.
They were each about 30-inches, or so, in length (not counting the bowsprit). And he was prone to “salty talk” about the calibre of model kit designers. Inch high figures and the “old man” (the Master) was smoking a pipe. These were days when Master meant “boss” of a ship. Before modern political linguistic expropriation.
“This line is in the wrong place! It goes on the starboard side, not port!” I remember Carl saying as I watch for a while. Asked how he knew such trivia; there were hundreds of lines going everywhere on one of the old steel lumber-hauling square riggers. Looking like spider webbing at age 10.
People lose sight of the fact these ships still plied the Portland and Seattle runs to Asia right up through the 1920s. Early 1030’s the last of ’em went out. Low cost and gee, small carbon footprint if it wasn’t for the clear-cutting all the way up the coast.
You can still see pictures of tall-masted ships at Seattle’s Museum of History And Industry, if they have them up. *(One of Pappy’s retirement pastimes was being a docent at MOHAI – he knew the city inside and out as a Depression onset grad of Queen Anne high school there would.)
Anyway – to make a long story longer – this no doubt influenced me to live on a sailboat which I did for over 10-years and it now explains why two things happened this week.
First, it occurred to me that even though “on the hard” now, I still have traces of salt water in my veins and I got to thinking building a complex ship model might cure me of that.
Secondly, it explains why I bought a book this week: Frank Mastini’s “Ship Modeling Simplified: Tips and Techniques for Model Construction from Kits.”
Third thing? Halyards for up and down, lines and sheets are more on the level.
Anyway, point of this section is to say a small projects bench can run off anywhere your heart leads. Take Nostracodeus programmer Grady. He likes to build stringed instruments. Very good at it, too. If he were to purpose-build a luthier’s workbench it would lead in that stringy direction. Mar-free clamps and so forth.
Others – who like guns and shooting, for example, – like G2 -could spin over to a reloading bench (with a second or third side order of whatever). A Ducks Unlimited supporter might carve decoys. Or maybe a hunter would build antler chandeliers…see how this rolls?
Or,, maybe I will just sit with a white board marker….
Shop Projects = Anti-Aging
With all the focus in my life presently on Workstations and Workflows, it occurs to me to recall how some of the work of my friend Cesare Marchetti (who was instrumental in my thinking about Aggregate indexes evolving) comes to play in aging studies.
Specifically, he did a lot of work on what because known as S-Curve analysis. He is also the father of Marchetti’s constant. Which (being a physics buff, which we all are, right?) proposed that in any historical age, the amount of time spent going to and from work has been about 20-50 minutes one way for the past 100-plus years. (More in the discussion of Marchetti’s constant – Wikipedia). London commute in the 1890s or L.A. tomorrow morning on the 405, 20-40 minute commutes are common. Each way. Even with an early start.
Anyway, when we were corresponding (and I was still doing papers for the odd conference on this or that) Marchetti had this stochastic growth thingamajig called the S-curve. Which said what?
If you had a lot of neat breakthrough stuff going on when you were young (before 25, or so) then you have a good chance of doing another S-curve of personal growth in your 60s and 70s. You can get a sense of how this works by reading “Determination of the Uncertainties in S-Curve Logistic Fits” by Debecker and Modis. Or not, it is Sunday, after all.
The oversimplified idea is that the reason learning a new language (age 60 and above) is easier, is that humans naturally seem to have this second logistic curve kicking in as we get to the end of this ride. With a single logistic curve, you miss second childhood and where’s the fun in that?
May be that’s why things fit so neatly in Ure’s view of the world as a “training ground” for Universe as Co-Creators in Training. We go through one S-curve in figuring out this life. Then, if lucky, we launch on another logistic growth curve and go off on another creative realization curve. It’s all quite grand how it works….
So much for brain food.
Been trying to think of where to put all the boxes of 3D printing filament I keep on hand for this project, or that. There are usually 10-20 such boxes. And they take up space.
This week came up with the “right answer” – a back of the toilet organizer shelf!
Got a 3-tier shelf (like this one which will be here in time for possible installation this weekend). Sure, it was $70 bucks with shipping and some “Don’t fall over brackets, y’hear?”
Wide enough to get the Ender-3 or CR-10 under (and still have room to install an LED downlight) it looks to be deep enough if I secure it to the back of the “3D printer farm” table with the aforementioned brackets.
There is more fun stuff going on around here than I can shake a stick at. Both Garden Room and the way-high raised bed are doing fine with fresh veggies coming out including radishes now and some Romaine. Squash will be along any minute – the wee ones are about 2-inches long now. Memorial Day here we come!
What Next? You tell me…
I would like some feedback on future ShopTalk articles. Got a ton of ideas and you get to pick ’em, Let me know if any of these projects sound like good fun:
- Restoration: Ure’s $50 radial arm saw rescue.
- Off-Road Welding: How to make a retail welding cart useful.
- Hose Repairs: Sometimes mowers happen.
- Advanced power yard maintenance.
- Higher performance Off Center Fed Antennas.
- OR: Make something up and send it in!
Off to DO. But first?
One for the Road!
I don’t know where I saw these first, but there is a great little product – nice and cheap and (look surprised here)…comes out of Asia. Called String Gloves. They are cheap – think they pencil out to 85 cents a pair…like these.
Anywise, the point is these gloves are great for mowing the yard and washing up the mower after in hot weather. Plus they are vastly cooler than leather work gloves at this time of year. Not tightly woven – exact opposite, in fact.
Here’s a fresh pair after one go-round mowing a couple of acres around trhe house:
Keeps the sun (and a lot of the dirt) off your hands. Being white, they don’t absorb as much heat as darker colored gloves in the summer. The weave is really loose and it wicks away sweat like mad.
Might look a little silly, perhaps, wearing “white gloves” while zooming around on the mower, but they also double as wash-mitts when done. Which is when the tractor gets a bath following a race around the yard.
You’ve been out in the woods too long when the tractors get washed more often than the car…
Alrighty…off to work on things and such. Got to get some tuning done on one of the HF antennas. About time for the Special Event ham radio station to be on the air up at Indianapolis if memory serves. I think I missed the first window this year…
(And if memory doesn’t, Google does… 2022 W9IMS Special Event Station Details! | The SWLing Post.) OK, down the electric bill then…
Write when you get rich,