Winter Is Coming: workshop improvements

We have owned our house for 12 months now, and I’ve been working out of the new workshop for the past 10 of those. Which is good amount of time in which to get a feel for a work space, and to make any necessary adjustments. Although far from fancy, my current workshop is perfect for my needs; being handtool led I don’t need acres of space, and the 17′ x 11′ footprint is plenty big enough.

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I wrote about the first round of workshop improvements back in March last year, and since then I have undertaken a second phase of work to facilitate better working, and to ensure it is a pleasant (and safe) environment to work in.

Firstly weatherseals were fitted to the bottom and top of the up-and-over door. This has had a significant improvement in keeping the elements (and endless leaves off our 3 storey tall lime tree) out of the shop, as well as keeping heat in – all of which have been very welcome this winter.

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The bottom weather seal has kept the workshop dry and free of leaves. The concrete floor paint I used last year, and the rubber matting, have both held up well.

A new small shed in the garden has provided ample storage space for the usual mess of gardening equipment (and the BBQ) that would otherwise pile up in the workshop, and means that the only non-woodwork equipment now in the workshop is my bike.

As I commented last March, the one area where the workshop was really lacking was in terms of lighting and power sockets, with only a single lightbulb and a solitary double socket representing the full extent of getting electrons into the shop. Now raking light is rather wonderful, but on wet and dark evenings I used to find myself reduced to practically no light, which is rather less wonderful (or safe). So the biggest upgrade to the workshop was the introduction of a spur off the main fuseboard in the house, leading to a separate fuseboard in the shop itself. This now powers two 4′ florescent strip lights, a small heater, and 6 double wall sockets, giving me all the light, power and warmth I could ever need.

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Wall hanging the two large jigs has released a lot of floor space.

My final upgrade was to install some wall fixings so that the thin panel gluing jig and solera could both hang from the wall (freeing up a great deal of floor space), and a simple board above my tool chest on which my shop apron, dustpan and brush, and deadblow mallet, could hang within easy reach of my bench.

These adjustments have definitely added to the experience of working in the shop, and the next round of workshop alterations will be mainly to refine what is already a very pleasant and practical space. I intend to build a wall-mounted clamp rack, and a Roy Underhill style nail cabinet. The big task will be to clear out the troublesome junk corner behind the bandsaw, where the go-bar station and my scrap bin currently reside. My plan for this corner is to build a 4′ knockdown Nicholson bench, which will also be invaluable for EWS 2017 (I’m hoping to exhibit there again, and 4′ is the maximum length I can fit in my trusty Kia). The drillpress and go bar station will sit on the KDN bench, and that bench will also double up as an assembly bench when needed. I am also toying with the idea of installing a dust extraction system (possibly a Microclene extractor) above the rafters.

A workshop, very much like a tool chest, is never really complete, but my current space is evolving quite nicely.

3 thoughts on “Winter Is Coming: workshop improvements

  1. Sounds like it’s starting to feel like home. In building my new workbench I keep telling my wife all of the things I would change about my current work space, and finally the other day she asked me “why don’t you just go ahead and change them?

    It’s good to work with what you have, but it’s great to make it a space that you love!

  2. Looking good Kieran, just a thought – a splosh of white emulsion on the walls can make a massive difference to the level and quality of light in a small workshop. Catch up soon. All the best, MP

    • Thanks Matthew! I’ve painted the wall I face when I’m at my bench (and which forms the backdrop of my blog photos) white, but didn’t see much point in painting the wall immediately behind me. Maybe that’s a job for the summer. Must definitely catch up soon, preferably over a beer!

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