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Thread: Moving Shop

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada

    Moving Shop

    I thought perhaps it would be good therapy to share some of my past couple of months experience and thoughts regarding moving my workshop as frankly its been a enormous eye opener and considering i expect to be doing it again in no time given how time flies its actually rather depressing.

    First thing that struck me is that despite all the knowledge and lessons learned that i have from my business life, I failed to employ much of that knowledge in my woodworking hobby or general shop hobby. Years ago every man and his dog learned about flexible manufacturing environment, and being able to reconfigure and move things around to adapt to changing needs, yet i did not engage in this universally.

    There is an enormous benefit to be had from making all your work centers mobile. However the operative word needs to be ALL.

    What do i mean by this. Get all machinery including things like DP mobile.

    Second dont even consider wasting your money on what looks to be like good castors if the item is heavy and you expect to move it around. There is nothing truer that the statement the bitter taste of poor quality lingers long after the cheap price.

    In my opinion rubber of any kind fitter to any wheel hub that i have experienced in 3 inch size castors , just does not work after long term positioning with weight on it. The difference moving tool cabinets mounted on poly type castors with proper bearings versus the cheapo look alike rubber versions where ever they made is day and night when you move something that is heavy and been in situ for say 2 to 3 years. I confess to making a mistake not just once but twice. Despite using the right ones on some things. This is my example of the right thing to use.,51976&ap=1

    Also i know some dont agree but putting swivel on all four points sure makes it way easier to maneuver and get the item rolling.

    If one is only moving something slightly within the shop, yeah the three point approach can work nice but its pure murder if you moving from one shop to another. Case in point my jointer, came with a mobile base incorporated and makes use of the three point style and now I feel its a marketing ploy. Two fixed casters one end and a footlift third wheel. All so you dont think of buying a mobile base and see it as a value add. Great if you moving on a nice flat runway but if not its a nightmare of trouble made all the more difficult by the weight its carrying. Not sure what the true solution there is given center of gravity and the weight.

    If you making draws, dont cheap out. Upfront see them as a tool. Just like a machine. Be prepared to put sufficient cost into the project to have them last a lifetime and be able to move successfully with them or reposition them.

    WHY? Well tools in draws are like totes already packed. Slide out the draw, roll the carcass on a trailer or whatever and stack draws and put back on other side and boom you up and running.

    Second part of this is dont make draws that are capable of taking more than one tool given thickness of the thickest tool to reside in the draw. Again its a function in my case of saying yes there will be more sets of PROPER slides ROB and yes there will be more plywood. But oh they will be a pleasure to work with and will store all your tools way more efficiently than what you now face (totes of mess) sometimes i need a beating and this move was it.

    Buy material on a per project basis not for "just in case" this is my biggest lesson and regret. Man i have thrown away loads of material. It was more than a downer for me. I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth and top of my utter dislike list is WASTE. I find it utterly depressing to visit our "community recycling center" and see how resources are being consumed and wasted and be part of adding to the pile. It literally makes me sick and depressed. To know people elsewhere not even far from where i stay could use it yet i am tossing good material oh and dont think Habitat will take this stuff...around here it needs to be frankly a close out from a borg to be taken.

    Same rule as for draws goes for hardware and small item storage. I dont know what the answer is here. Frankly best thing i have come up with so far is not very efficient in the space department but that could be how i have the items stored.

    Here are issues i have

    Started out with those small plastic draws. Seemed perfect but then you need another cabinet and the ones you got initially are no longer being made. OK so you buy a different type. Now you find the quality of the draws is not the same nor can you see into them like you used to. Then you find they hold tool little when the say "Screws" are 1/4 of a box to go and you can only fit a box in the draw. That creates split storage (something now that you need to manage).

    Had a go at glass mason jars but breakage is a risk there so moved on to recycled peanut butter jars. With label properly removed and jar cleaned in dawn they clear enough to see through. Seal well but they hold way more than most small items and that ends up having one end up consolidating items which defeats the point of separate storage. They very bulky so take a up a lot of space if you only putting a small amount of something in it.
    But i am thinking they the best thing really for a different reason and that is seeing what is inside at a glance.

    Yup as memory is starting to act up, the time spent finding something you know you have made even worse after a chaotic move, well its defeating because after you do find it in the end you find you have lost the motivation and need to come back another day and start again.

    Glenn Bradley a big shout out to you because man you have kept me from going over the edge literally. Your prior posts on organizing just keep hitting home and if this hobby is to be more pleasure than dread and disappointment then your posts are like manna from heaven. They keep me going in the darkest times knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    Jigs are something else to consider. Here i have no answer , no ideas and no solutions on what to do. Some jigs went to the dump. Again upsetting but seeing construction posts where contractors setup a jobsite and make up a jig and discard it all at the end made it easier to handle. I dont see the point in hanging on to small jigs just in case you need to make one again some day and that someday never comes. Different for things like table saw jigs or say dado guide but while keeping those makes sense how and where to store these is a mission. Still they the least of the issue i find and the only take away i have in this department is to do a better job of making a decent jig in the first place. I moved some that are going to the scrap heap soon.

    Moving into a shop without power heat and storage. This was something had i truly been real about i could have avoided. To do so would have needed me being more prepared than i was. Next time i will put my shop in storage if this is not prepared.

    Now i have chaos and no power or heat and no layout and getting it sorted is to say the least off putting when i weigh up the short duration of our stay here. got to wait for spirit to pick up to go back at it. What we do for kids.

    There really is merit in starting out woodworking as a hobby with only hand tools until one retires and settles in one place. Of that i am convinced. And part of me is still convinced that for a suburban hobbiest that is not looking at making themselves loads of furniture or furniture for the family and just wants the pleasure of working with wood and making something, then hand tools, good storage well thought out , workbench and buying lumber milled and prepped (while more expensive) is cheaper and more satisfying in the long run.

    The "romance" and attraction ( in all respects ) of milling your own rough wood can turn into a real issue and obstacle when it comes to aspects like storage , power and space.

    I never forget the very bed i sleep on today, made of imported oregon pine (yeah laugh from NA to SA and now its back) , i made in my twenties, after buying it all cut and milled to size but the bed got done.

    Now i have loads of raw lumber, a jointer that i still have an issue with and still no power and they all taking up loads of space. Where is the fun in that ????

    Lastly try do the same as you would for your woodworking shop and hobby for the rest of your "garage items" such as gardening items, car repair/service items etc. Because they too have to move.

    The next move will be my last or I will be giving up woodworking entirely. Dont think i can muster the spirit to do it again. Of all the issues finding things you were looking for and could not find at the time or coming across things you bought for a project that never got completed is a real downer. Its made me have to take weeks to do my move because of disappointing myself. Only person responsible is me.

    So live and learn from my mistakes folks and think about how you would move if you had to or give some thought to how others after you gone are going to deal with your prize possessions and plan for that day now.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Look at all the fun your having. No matter how we strive for organization it always comes up lacking. Just fight battle and it will all work out just dandy (or not). Enjoy the new year.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Read all of your post Rob, with only one bathroom break.

    Lots of good points in it. I only disagreed with making everything mobile. I personally don't like moving machinery around. My solution is get rid of most that machinery. I am moving to having a big bandsaw, a thickness planer and drill press. That's it for large machinery! That allows me a lot of space to work in.

    Totally agree about the wood situation. I will only buy what I need for now on. I just need to work through what I have as it is constantly in my way.
    “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” - John Ruskin
    “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” - Oscar Wilde

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Oak Harbor Washington on Whidbey Island
    Having been in the military & had them move me once & bang up the coffee table dad made for me they never moved me again. Do it your self moves after that.

    One lesson I learned is number your boxes & color code them as to which room they go to with a marker pen ( blue is the kitchen, red is the living-room) & write on a list the box number & color code as well as what is in the box. This works well for long duration storage because there are times you want that particular item & there it is written on the list.
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Keep swinging . . . .
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    Welll..... congratulations on finishing the move anyway

    The longest journey begins with a single step, you'll get there.

    Move everything you can over to one side and then start putting the other side together. You may have to shuffle the crap over to the just cleaned side once you get the first pass at that done to get the baseline in for the side with the original pile but hopefully you'll have enough space in the "staging" area that you can stack the residue in there once you get the first pass done.

    The power retrofit may be an issue with that plan depending on what you need to do to fix that...

    I can whole heartedly agree with the shallow drawers. They are vastly better than deep bins of despair (despairing to ever find anything in them that is). Shelving is similar, don't make it so deep that you're tempted to stack things to deep in them. I also use smaller bins and tubs on shelves to keep items "organized" (largely unsuccessful but that's my fault not a problem with the strategy).

    I've been kind of liking the pallet jack for moving heavy things.. "but it takes so much room" you say.. yess... and no. It tucks right under the end of the lumber stack or the ts just dandy for storage.. it DOES require having sufficient room to move it around in and suffers from the "single pivot point" problem.

    My plan for the next shop is to have it enough larger that I can just re-assemble the current shop in the middle or on one side and have plenty of room to re-arrange it all back out from there

    I have to admit the Oregon pine being exported to SA is sort of funny now that we import all sorts of fancy wood from over there for use here. Goes around I suppose.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    East Freeetown, Massachusetts

    I read all of that.

    MAN - I have thought about what it would be like to move, and I dread even the thought of it.

    JIGS & Fixtures. I don't have many, when I need something I will make a quick simple thing and not save it. I too have ample manufacturing and have designed more jigs and fixtures that I can shake a stick at. It was always the most simple ones that seemed to be the best ones.

    Lumber - that is a sore spot - I have it coming out of my ears. I have been a hoarder there.

    Yeah - I can sympathize.

    BUT - As I am 4-5 years away from retirement and no plan at all to move - anywhere - I feel as safe as anyone CAN feel - knowing that there are NO guarantees.

    My plan - if there can ever be a plan is to sell everything - when the time comes that it all needs to be sold. I have a list of everything with values in the case that I cannot do it.

    I don't have the organization that I think I should have, but I am better than "some".

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Yorktown, Virginia
    Good points all, Rob. Spot on about castors deteriorating. My beat up, but supposedly mobile with good quality 4" casters bench was dead in the water recently when I tried to move it after ten years. The tire material, composition unknown, but red colored actually fell off in pieces when I tried to move the bench....all four wheels. I'm thinking of getting metal wheels this time.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Thomasville, GA
    To each his own as to how to set up a shop and keep it organized and have the ability to re-configure as desired. When working in a two-car garage, I had added all the tools necessary to take rough lumber and complete a piece of furniture. I could also roll key items into one side so my wife could park her car in the garage at night. Then, we decided to find a place to move for retirement.

    After reviewing options to stay in Florida, we decided to look for property in South Georgia and ended up where we are now. Without going into detail in this writing, I'll just say that we found the right place for us. After having our offer accepted, I spent a major part of my time over the next two months drawing up layouts for a new shop. I had a 16'x24' building to start with, so I worked on how much to expand it by laying out all tools to fit, then adding space here and there. I lost track of how many iterations of layouts I went through, LOML assisting all the way and encouraging me to add more space! One of my considerations for tool layout was dust collection - yet another factor! Even after we closed on the property, I still worked through my shop layout again and again. Within four months of closing, I was hiring a contractor to pour a slab. A neighbor helped me with major parts of the build and three months later my shop was dried in.

    My point of going through this brief summary is there is no substitute for planning. Planning. Planning. Planning. When you think you've got all bases covered, keep planning!
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member
    Member of Mensa
    Live every day like it's your last, but don't forget to stop and smell the roses.

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