Monday, March 5, 2012
organizing the shop
When it was clear that i was going to be staying for a little bit longer (the agreement might have been a few months, as opposed to the previously stated month, don't remember). It seemed worthwhile to do some rearranging in the shop. I checked in with the staff to see how they felt about it- anything that brought more order was a good thing so i got the go ahead.
The shop space was built originally by a former aprovecho staff member to do testing on rocket stoves. Its a giant metal shed. No insulation, terrible whistling lighting, and full of stuff. I loved it. It was a space with so much potential, mostly being used as storage, i could see so much more happening there. The first thing that occurred to me was to consolidate materials. The workspaces i was using were dispersed throughout the building, as were the stored materials. So i relocated all of the stuff i was using to the very front of the shop, storage to the back.
Several of the power tools, things like the bench grinder and drill press were loose on the tables and difficult, not to mention dangerous, to use. So i bolted them to the sturdiest table. It made a really drastic difference in their use.
All the tools all over the place? I laid them out, organized them, and then put up a peg board to hang them. The peg board is kind of a funny story, so there was no budget for any of this, it was just me using my own time and whatever was around to make it happen. There weren't any actual pegs for the board so i ended up bending a bunch of random nails into the rough shape of a manufactured metal peg. It took way too long, but it worked.
I also went ahead and organized all of the small bike parts into various buckets by type. Utilizing a small table for their storage.
All of the bikes were in a big pile. Bikes in piles have a unique way of becoming frustratingly entangled. Pedals caught in spokes. Cables wrapped around handle bars. It made a lot of sense to separate them, furthermore, to store them vertically. Without clear access to any of the walls, it occurred to me to build a hanging structure which the bikes could dangle from. Luckily there was a tall ladder, a drill, and plenty of rebar to play with.
My first attempt didn't go very well. I kind of thought this might happen.
So the next try i cut out the middle length of rebar and replaced it with a 2x4 on end. One thing i learned from a couple years of house building is that any board stood on end has a great deal of strength and rigidity (that's why joists and rafters are always on end, look in your attic sometime). Anyhoo, the board worked great. To hang the bikes i bent a series of rebar S's and then twisted them in the middle so the bikes would hang straight. This went so well that eventually i built a second hanging beam for all of the wheels.
When all this was done, gave it a sweep (props to Eleva) and stood back to take a look. I don't know if anyone else gets excited about this kind of stuff, but damn it feels good to take a whole lot of messiness and straighten it out.