Today was both invigorating and melancholy.
The wife's hospital bills are mounting up, and while I don't yet know what
the final damage is going to be, it's a sure bet it isn't going to be
cheap. We're at $25,000 so far, just for the hospital itself. Not the
surgeon, the anaesthesiologist, the radiologist, the ultrasonologist, the
ER attending physician, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, and
anyone else who will see fit to mail us a bill before this ordeal is over.
I'm guessing it's going to hit $50,000 before it's all over. Ouch.
I'm not sure what my piece of this action is, but it ain't gonna be cheap.
Thus I must needs come to terms with the fact that my termite-infested,
half-rotten, undersized corner of heaven is going to be my home for years
to come. I can't afford to build a new shop for 5-10 years. It thus
behooves me to make the most of what I've got, to gut it, re-evaluate it,
and see what else I can do to make it a more suitable working space.
And so I come to my point at last. My workspace is reasonably well refined
from the doors to the area on the far side of the line between the far side
of my drill press and the back of my table saw. The space behind the saw
has been a, well, a fuster cluck for years. I had a tool cabinet lined
with pegboard which I brought with me from our last place. It was situated
in such a way that it left about an 18" square area in one corner that was
utterly useless for any purpose. I couldn't even store things there
effectively, because I couldn't get to them without a lot of effort. To
the right of this cabinet is an area that has been occupied by various
irksome bits of machinery. A horizontal bandsaw that needed plenty of
feeding room, a router table, a table saw. Most recently this space has
become the outfeed for my new contractor's saw, which is really too damn
big for my shop, but is a true joy to use anyway. It was occupied by a
shop vac, a collection of hoses, some odd little piles of random scraps,
and some thus and such.
So anyway, the fateful day finally arrived today. The tool cabinet, one of
my first projects, and my most successful and functional large project,
simply had to go. The door wall is all door. The roof slopes down to meet
walls about 4' high at the sides, so the only place it could go was along
the back. It was situated very badly in relation to everything else. I
had two huge multi-drawer bits and bobs organizers attached to the outside
of the doors, and these added another 6" or so to a cabinet that was
already about 13" deep. 19" of depth about 4' long, mostly to hold a bunch
of air and odd bits of things that I hardly ever use.
When we moved out here, I nailed that thing up but good. I used sixteen
buttloads of spiral nails across the top and the bottom. In the process of
attempting to extract it in order to move it somewhere else, somewhere
outside the shop, I completely obliterated it. Every board is shredded to
the point where I could only get usable odd bits of lumber out of the
wreckage through the use of a bandsaw, or a monumental planing effort.
Seeing as how the whole thing was just jummywood anyway, I elected not to
bother. So a source of pride and joy that has served me well for the last
decade has been reduced to a pile of splinters stacked up to be the Beltane
bonfire in a few months.
It brought a little tear to my eye when I finally got the back away from the
wall. D. Michael McIntyre 6-20-95
Rest in pieces old friend, rest in pieces.
I'm going to put pegboard and shelves on that wall, and get much more
storage out of far less depth. I'm moving the DP away from the workbench,
moving it to the back wall, where I will be able to put wider stock on it
without hitting anything. I'm moving the lathe where the DP used to go,
and I'm building an outfeed table/machine table behind the TS, which can be
used to host either the Norm table or the crawl saw.
I'm also seriously contemplating building a new workbench, even though it
pains me to think this after I just spent the last four shop days
reorganizing the old one, and hanging tools on the pegboard behind it. I
have 2' at the door end that used to be a metalworking station. I don't do
metal much anymore, and I could live without the anvil and pipe vise, I
think. Put the vise on a board to mount in my face vise. Use the anvil on
the floor when I need it. I can't use the space for anything because all
that stuff is in the way anyway, so I wouldn't miss the width. I could
build drawers underneath to store some of my more unwieldy bits and bobs,
like my saddle square, my pencil sharpeners, dovetail markers, and sundry
other things that don't lend themselves to hanging. I could also build
cubbies or drawers to hold all my portable machinery, so I could utilize
the whole vertical space underneath. It may be more cost effective to
doctor the bench I already have again, but I'm tempted to build a new one.
I'm still thinking and planning. First I have to figure out what to do with
all the stuff I have now made homeless. I want to try to work through this
mess without moving everything five times.
So anyway, it's a sad day because I completely obliterated an old friend,
but it's also a happy day because I have solved a problem that has been
annoying me for months, and I feel like I have a world of potential for
innovative ways to squeeze just a tiny bit more utility out of my tiny
little space. I'm trying to work toward giving the monster saw a little
more feeding room, so I can actually work on furniture-sized projects. I
almost had a kickback doing that 30" tall printer stand because I
inadvertently wedged the feeding end of the board against my lathe, and I
went into the blade cock-eyed. I need to spread things out more, or else
get a smaller saw. The small saw just ain't happening though.
Once I get it all sorted out, and cleaned out, and spiffed out, and tricked
out, I'm going to go through with Mom's new digital camera and put together
a compleat shoppe toure to show everyone my pathetic, termite-infested
corner of heaven. I guess I'll keep using it as long as it's still
standing. The bright side is that while it has definitely been damaged by
bugs and moisture, I can fix the damage a lot easier than I can build a new
building from scratch. Only one end of it is sitting directly on dirt, and
that's the only end that's well and truly rotten.
Hell, at this rate, I might actually get through all the
cleaning/sorting/arranging, then get back to my on-going sharpening/tuning,
and then finally I will be ready to actually build a real project out there
for the first time in what will then be almost two years. Right in time
for it to be gardening season, I expect. Sigh. Oh well, the up side there
is that I am a lazy gardener, and I have planted a lot of self-sustaining
perennial stuff. I only have one little annual bed, and all my regular
stuff eventually grows taller than the weeds, so I don't really have to
maintain much for long.
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < email@example.com>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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