Hi again, everyone. It’s been a bit longer between posts than I wanted it to be, but as I mentioned in my last post we’re moving. Actually, we moved, past tense, and it was much more chaotic than we originally expected. Then again, what move isn’t? Anyway, we’re moved into our home in the woods. Well, we have all the essentials at least. We still have a lot of stuff in storage, which until last weekend included the vast majority of my woodworking tools. HUGE shout-out to Margaret for climbing and shimmying her way to the far back corner of the storage unit to rescue my boxes of hand tools!!!
I mentioned before that the house we bought is on over 6 acres tucked in the woods of Brown County, Indiana. I hadn’t, though, said much more about it. The house itself was about an even trade as far as square footage, though it’s arranged quite differently than where we were. Before we moved in, we figured that the bigger of the two storage barns would work out fine for a shop, and we could add on to it or build a bigger one if I outgrew that. The “shop” barn was locked up when we came to look at the house, so we couldn’t look inside. After closing, that’s the first place we went…even before unpacking anything. The first thing we saw when we opened the door were stairs. I have a two story shop! I didn’t even know that two-story storage barns existed until then. I’d started planning the layout a bit before we’d moved, but all that was out the window now, because the stairs took up space that I’d been planning to fill with tools. We’d loaded my lathe, two Craftsman toolboxes, my drill press, and the rough lumber from my Roubo into the last truck/trailer/moving truck/van/car load from the old house (yes, we did have all of those at the same time). As we unloaded them, the toolboxes went on one wall in the middle, the lathe went inside the door on the same side, and the lumber went on the opposite wall. Then the shop got shut up and left for a week or so while we settled into the house.
So amidst all the unpacking and going back to work, I had to figure out how best to use my newly discovered two story shop. My first thought for the second story was to use that as my lumber storage and rough sawing space. The stairs in the barn go across the back wall, with tight corners at both ends, so moving a long, heavy board up and down the stairs would be difficult and potentially dangerous. My idea was to add on a hay loft door and hay hoist like you see on most livestock barns. I’d planned to hoist all my rough lumber up there from the bed of my truck, let it acclimate up there, then saw it to length and either hoist it back down or carry it down the steps. It probably would have been cool for a while, but in hindsight I could see myself getting tired of having to do all that extra work for stock prep. Especially if I was unloading from a trip to the lumberyard by myself.
One day as we were settling in, I needed a tool for something. I hadn’t put together a box of “house tools” yet, so I had to go get them out of the shop. Whatever tool it was happened to be in one of my rolling boxes, so I unlocked it, opened the drawer, and let go like I always do. As soon as I let go, the drawer slammed shut. Huh? As it turns out, the floor of the shed was sagging under the weight of my toolboxes. Sounds fun, right?
So, now what I thought was going to be an awesome shop isn’t quite so awesome. It looks a lot smaller when I’m standing in it than it did on paper. Plus it’s started to have the same issue that my garage shop did – my space is being encroached by other things – bikes, household storage, etc. We don’t have a garage, so that stuff had to go somewhere. Now I’m facing some hard questions: Is that barn big enough for my shop? If so, how can it be made sturdier? If not, how much shop do I need? How much will it cost to upgrade the barn? How much would it cost to build a completely new shop?
I’ll wait until next time to address those questions. If I keep going now, you’ll still be reading this when I post my next entry, and my hands will have typed themselves right off of my arms. Next time I’ll talk about my method for planning out my shop layout, the options I researched, and why I pretty well settled on what I did.
What does that all mean, you ask? That all means you’ll have to check back next time to figure out what I’m talking about! Until then!