We’ve now been living in Birmingham for four weeks, and the endless mountain of boxes has slowly been whittled away to only a handful. Which means that I’ve finally had time to not only set up the new workshop, but also to spend a couple of days in there, making wood shavings and progressing the parlour guitar build. What I’ve not had any opportunity to do until now is to blog, but as normal life is slowly re-established, that will all change and I hope to catch up on my blogging shortly. In the meantime, here is a tour of the new workshop.
Before moving in, and while my tools and workbench were still in Bristol, I took the opportunity to do some work on the new workshop to make it a more pleasant environment to be in. The shop itself is a brick and breeze block garage attached to our house, measuring 11 x 17ft, so a good size. There is no ceiling in the workshop, which means that I have the benefit of the roof beams and a large apex roof above me, which gives a very spacious and airy feel.
My first task was to seal the concrete floor, and the wall which I would be facing while at the bench, with a 1:4 mix of PVA glue and water. This is far cheaper than floor sealer, and does exactly the same job of preventing paint from soaking into the porous bricks and into the concrete. After two coats on the wall and floor, I painted the floor with a tile red concrete paint, while the wall got two coats of white emulsion. This job was really to brighten up the workshop, and particularly the wall which will end up in the background of pictures for the blog and for magazine articles. Once the floor paint had dried I put down two rolls of 3mm thick textured rubber matting, which will be more comfortable to stand on than bare concrete, and will hopefully protect the cutting edges of any kimikaze chisels which decide to take a leap off the end of the workbench.
At the far end of the shop I put up a series of shelf brackets, the bottom of which has a shelf for my iPod speakers, glues, oils and sundry items. The rest of the shelf brackets are by way of a timber store, and hold my current stock of furniture stock, mainly oak, pine, and assorted hardwood pieces. All lutherie timber is kept in the house until needed, but the workshop is a fine place to keep more robust timber.
I also built a 4ft wide sharpening station, using two sheets of MDF and some work table supports from Machine Mart. This proved to be a cost effective way of having a rigid secondary table for sharpening and assembly tasks. My go bar station, band saw, and drill press all fit up at the end of the workshop, which means that the main work area is kept free from clutter and I have plenty of space round all four sides of the bench. My Anarchist’s Tool Chest is also readily accessible from its position just to my right as I work, and within an easy arm’s reach of the bench.
This is pretty much the workshop I have been longing for over the past 8 years, and I am looking forward to working here. It is not quite finished yet – there is a paucity of power sockets (only one double socket) and the lighting is not great, but an electrician is coming round soon to fit a dedicated fuse board and then I should have plenty of light and power. This is shaping up to be a very pleasant, and productive space!