Updated: Apr 21, 2020
The goal is simple - to end up with a shop that works well for the needs of myself and the Razorback Racing Team. Getting to that goal will be a long and involved process. However, I get a lot of satisfaction working with my hands, creating, fixing and making things better. I started out with the following wish list and criteria for the shop:
#1 REASONABLY SIZED – I’d like something that is large enough to host more than one project at a time. Sometimes I’m waiting on parts, building a bike, fabricating/fixing or sometimes my attention just wanders and I want to work on something new. Also, it’s nice to have something large enough to park a pickup truck or cargo trailer in if I want to work on them. On the other hand, if it’s too large I’m not as likely to keep it neat and tidy, it’s more expensive to heat and maintain, taxes are higher, etc.
#2 CLIMATE CONTROLLED – This one is self-explanatory. I have no interest in working in a place that isn’t reasonably comfortable.
#3 STORAGE SPACE – It needs to have some. I already have more projects than lifetime and I’m quite sure I will acquire a few more along the way. However, I am not a junk collector either, but you know how it is – you just need stuff and it's inconvenient if you don’t have it. Which is a great segue to: #4 CONVENIENCE – The more of this the better. It’s less frustrating and far more efficient to work if things are convenient and close at hand. It’s so nice to have the toolbox right beside you, a decent-sized workbench, the air hose at arm's length – stuff like that. I’ve worked many years without these things in place and now is the time.
#5 ORGANIZATION – The more of this the better. I recognize the second law of thermodynamics, but I don’t want it to enact itself inside my shop. I'm happiest with entropy at a minimum. I'm no perfectionist and sometimes even quite messy, but it’s nice to be able to stop, clean everything up and put stuff away. That means cabinets, drawers, shelves, racks, hangers - whatever it takes to keep things neat and tidy.
#6 - OVERHEAD CRANE – Fabricating and welding are high on my list of things I enjoy doing. I’ve always had a bridge crane of some sort in place and have come to rely on it. There is no end of uses for it so one will be installed early in the project.
#7 – BIKE HOISTS – Hopefully I end up with 2. The wish list is realistic, but it will take time and money. I’m going to share it all in the hope that it may give others ideas for their own workspaces. I will include the approximate costs of things as we progress. It’s not cheap, but neither is racing and I seem determined to spend everything I make and die clutching my last dollar. We changed living locations in 2019 so this was the opportunity for me to build or find a decent shop. Fortunately, we found a house, shop and a couple of acres that suited us both (Heather and I) and pictured below is the building I started out with.
However, there’s much to be done to make it suitable for what I want it to be because here is what the interior looked like:
The former owner had many talents and generally put a lot of effort into building both the house and shop, but some things obviously were not his priority. Much of the fixtures and materials both inside and out were obviously salvaged from other projects or buildings he had demolished. I’m all for 'recycle and re-use,' but I also like things to be ‘right’ where possible. So I will go at the projects one at a time and post the results here. Hopefully, you will find this informative and interesting.
Project #1 will be to take out all the trash and install a garage door on the north wall facing the driveway.