Organizing a Serious Workshop

Many people have “special interest’ workspaces.  But what if you have lots of interests?  Why, in no time at all, you will find all of your space – home, garage, all of it – eaten-up by a plethora of tools.

Late summer is a good time of year to spend some quality “shop time” on organizing, Here are some ideas that might increase your productivity as well as your enjoyment of project-making and being a “maker.”.

But first, we roll through the headlines and charts since shops not only take time, and some organizing, but also a fair bit of money, done right.  (May noad slowly due to large number of graphics…)

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12 thoughts on “Organizing a Serious Workshop”

  1. I keep the primary wrenches and screwdrivers in tool rolls stuffed into one of those smaller canvas military knock-off tool bags. Not enough room ? I said primary hand tools. The tool rolls are handy, and my rate of tool loss has been fairly low using them. The tool rolls make a nice place to set stuff you don’t want to wander off.
    My father had a small metal or plastic tool box for each function. He had one for the chains saws, one for piping and plumbing, one for small engines, and one for general tools. I still have the boxes, and still use them from time to time. The purpose of the small metal toolboxes was to keep the specialized tools together, and reduce the lift weight on an old man’s back. He never spent a lot of money on tools. Most of his wrenches were WWII era surplus, but he always seemed to have something that worked nearby.
    I have taken to organizing sets of oversized tools in laundry baskets. I have one for fencing and another for yard tools. I have also added a box with lock related items to the collection.
    Other tools, fasteners and bits reside on small six inch deep wall shelves in multiple locations. My storage shed needs to be emptied and repacked. I really should build a separate shed for fuel and chemical storage. Another shed dedicated for gasoline power tools would be great. If I build all those sheds and reorganize, I’ll never be able to find anything again.

    • ” If I build all those sheds and reorganize, I’ll never be able to find anything again.”

      Yes, but you’ll be so busy building sheds, you’ll never notice! ;-)

      I have specialized boxes for “automotive electronics” and for plumbing. The AE box goes wherever I go… ‘Haven’t had to use it on the road for myself, yet, but I did “rescue” a family from Michigan, stuck in Indiana with non-working camper lights, a couple years back. BTW 12v soldering irons will get the job done, but they suck…

      • A 12VDC solder iron. Now that’s something I could probably use, someday, somewhere.
        I’ve also been eyeing my non-electric tools for omissions. Anything that is used to cut, dig, pound or saw I probably have already, with no motivation to use when I can use power tools instead. I did notice that the fiberglass handle on my log splitting maul was badly cracked. Hmmm…, maybe the replacement should have a wood handle. Fiberglass or plastic handles aren’t always easy or even possible to change out.
        The biggest item I discovered to date was that I no longer had a functioning air floor pump. I have a small electric compressor and a portable aluminum volume tank. I had a small pump attached to my bicycle frame, but no floor model. I read the on-line reviews, and corrected that situation promptly. I also laid in a small stock of tube patches and a couple of levers.
        Attention to detail will get you farther than throwing money at everything. I just realized that that may be an inherited viewpoint.

      • I strongly favor wood handles, for just that reason. A person with a pocketknife and an attitude, and a few spare minutes, can make a mallet, axe, or mattock handle. That’s also why I taught my kids the longbow…

  2. OT, but interesting: So, you want to be “anonymous…”

    Estimating the success of re-identifications in incomplete datasets using generative models

    Interesting online tool, written by the authors:

    Zip code seems to be the biggie. If “anonymous” metadata can link you to a zip code, DOB (other than year of birth) becomes nearly irrelevant, and I could not get the output under “positive ID 42% likely,” on any date after 1971, using 60611 (a densely-populated area of midtown Chicago and one of a dozen or so zips I use for dummy forms.) Add either home ownership or marital status and likelihood of identification goes to nearly 100%.

    The tool is a good illustration of just how staggeringly bad the Experian hack was, and the NSA’s Utah server farm is going to be…

  3. George, does the workshop include alternative energy systems? You can contact your buddy Stu over at The Age of Desolation site for more info.

    “Fortunately, I am blessed at this late age with the technical skills to build alternative energy systems. Luckily, I also find myself in the company of people with similar skills and interests, and I believe that there are no coincidences in this world. Build a room temperature superconducting circuit, and you will not have to worry about gasoline or batteries. As I have written many times, life will revert back to the 19th for a few years, and then most of humanity will fall back to the Dark Ages for a few generations.”

    “I would like to keep the lights on in my own life when the world goes dark and the Internet is no more. I have a library of books I still have to get through.”

  4. “Collusion with Russia” was the reason for the existence of the probe. The “hot seat” will come when they ask Mr. Mueller whether he investigated the Clinton campaign for “Russian collusion.” He will have to lie, admit the investigation was a political hatchet-job against Trump, or plead the Fifth…

    Only 110 decibels? Hell there’s kids here in Redneckville who’re so deaf they can’t hear anything below 110dbA (assumed) since the bass beat of whatever they listen to can be heard @ above my normal listening level, from the traffic light (nearly two miles, and a dense forest away…)

  5. My husband has this week off and has spent most of it in an overhaul of our garage/shop space. The stars must be in alignment.

  6. Oue problem really is: How do we get representatives elected into our Congress “that deserve” to be there?

    NOT under our present system of elections, JMHO!

    P.S. There is nothing more to discuss ;-(, and why should I still care? Perhaps, it’s my nature?!

  7. “…the ultimate Tool Slut Empire! ”
    OMG that says it all! Lucky you live Texas with lots of SPACE! Not so on an Island, unfortunately. Still… I’m jealous. “Tool Envy”?

  8. Interesting timing! I have three workshops and three garages and it’s not nearly enough. Yesterday I sadly removed all the shelving and all its contents from a long wall in my primary garage just to install a row of outlets and a proper 220V circuit to my large compressor. The result is that it looked like a hoarder garage. It’s not fun to work in this mess, but I’ll have a chance to finish the wiring, clean up sheetrock and paint the entire thing before putting back the shelving and other stuff. Sometimes it’s necessary to create total havoc in order to have a proper workspace. I’m looking forward to getting this project done asap, especially with the summer heat!

    BTW, if you have a workspace, paint everything you can white. It makes a very big difference in the available light – especially if there are no windows.

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