Over the past month or so I have been putting some serious thought into moving my shop. Or at least the hand tool component of my shop. Since most of the work I do is hand work I have some options that others may not have. On Christmas day I officially made the decision to move my shop inside the house. This is only possible because I have the room in the back of my house to actually pull this off. But, if your kids have moved away and you have an empty room in the house it might be an option for you too.
Not that you need to know this next part, but I feel it helps to know the full picture and why I made this decision. I have an old house that had an addition put on in the back during the 70's. It made the house kind of big and really long. We are on a narrow lot and my house is just over 100 feet long. My family and I generally live in the front half of the house. The back of the house consists of a garage, two bedrooms and the laundry room. One room has always been the guest/workout room, one has been storage and the garage my shop. With this new move the garage will be storage and the machine shop, we will move the guest/workout room and I will now have an indoor shop for the majority of my tools and work.
The first positive is that the back two rooms of the house will get renovated and will look tons better. The other positive is that I will now have a window, great A/C and heat, and I am going to get off the concrete and onto wooden floors. Though it will just be plywood, it is still wood. I have plantar fasciitis and concrete floors kills my right foot.
The hardest part of the decisions for me was, "Am I going to have enough room for my tools and to actually work?" Well, the answer is yes. I measured off the area that I generally use in my garage shop, which to my surprise was really a small area just a few feet or so around my bench, about 9.5 x 13. For those out there that generally work with hand tools you would probably discover the same thing. You don't need that much room to do great work. Now the real awesome part is that when I measured the new potential room for the shop it was larger. The new room is 14 x 10 and that doesn't include the large built in closet system that I will be using for storage and for a sharpening station. I should also mention that the 9.5 x 13 area in my garage shop includes my wall locker, sharpening bench, tool chest and workbench area. Most of that area is not open floor space. The new shop will only have my tool chest and workbench in a slightly larger area, meaning tons more floor space in the new shop. The additional good news is that the entire back of the house has 9.5 foot ceilings, so when I hang lights they will still be nice and high and out of the way.
The only thing to do is renovate the room and move in all my tools.
So, what are the first things you notice about the new shop space. Yeah, well, its yellow, and the ceiling is yellow, and the carpet is nasty. Well that is all coming out. The positives are the large closet that will get painted, the pocket door is cool (because it won't get in the way), and I don't need to do any electrical besides replace the light fixture with a plug receptacle for the lights.
After ripping out the carpet and padding and taking off the floor molding and tac strips, we discovered tile. I could have left the tile but for many reasons I decided to rip it out also. So, in comes the help, what, she said she wanted to help out.
Day 2 and 3
Once the demo was done it was time for some paint. Nothing ground breaking here for anyone that has done home renovation. Just some flat white ceiling paint, the walls got a sandy colored called Serendipity and I replaced all the sockets, switches, wall plates, and installed the 4 lights in the ceiling. I know that the walls look really white in the pictures but they are slightly darker in person.
The lighting is about the same as what I had in the old shop for the same square footage. I used four 4 foot double t-8 bulb lights that will run off a wall switch. For me this is the prefect amount of light. I can always work just off the north facing window during the day, I would add another window but my electrical box is on the other side of that out facing wall. darnit.
The benefit to doing the renovation the way that I am is that if I decide to move the shop again, or sale my house, the room can be put back to "normal" conditions with very little time and effort or money.
The next couple of days
Over the next couple of days I will be putting in a plywood floor (yes I am putting in a vapor barrier), hanging everything on the walls, moving my workbench and rearranging the closet system. On second thought, this might take me a little longer than a couple days. Along the way I will be posting more updates on the move. But, I did want to tell you about another reason why I am moving my shop.
I am looking forward to working in a shop without any power tools. Yeah, that's right, not one power tool besides my screw gun will ever be used inside this shop. Why? Because I like having my daughter in the shop. With the new shop she can come and go as she pleases. Never having to worry about power tool dangers, noise, massive dust production, or constantly having to make sure she doesn't hurt herself around the shop. She will have a safe place to come and share time with me inside the shop. Which is the most important thing that happens in my shop.