Getting itchy

What is it about shop makeovers that make you want to do them with amazing regularity? Yeah, I donít know either, but that urge is back.

It seems like once every year, I get an itch to improve or redo a section of my shop. The itch appears, begins percolating, and then evolves into one of those if-I-ever-get-the-time projects on a wish list.

The last time I did a shop makeover I enclosed open shelves under a long countertop, reorganized a sloppy and haphazard hardware storage area, installed a gas heater and painted the floor. None of these were whims, but things Iíd wanted for my shop since day one.

But now the itch is back and I want to attack one whole wall. This wall has some overhead cabinets and wall-mounted air cleaner. Also situated along this wall is my band saw, a mobile cabinet with a miter saw, another mobile cabinet with a disk/belt sander and drill press, another mobile cabinet with my planer, and finally a mobile lathe station, all lined up. First I want to eliminate the infrequently used miter saw and store it beneath my assembly table. Iíll keep the band saw and planer on wheels, but I want to eliminate the mobile cabinets the miter saw, sander, drill press cabinet and lathe are on, then reuse or dismantle them. I then want to build a long countertop for those tools, below which will be cabinets and something I currently donít have in my shop: storage drawers. When done, my band saw will park on one end, the planer on the other. This system will create tons of new storage, eliminate more clutter, better arrange tools I use most frequently and, frankly, itíll look great.

Quite an itch, huh? But itís not really a new itch, just one thatís resurfaced after being put off. That makeover last year was a lot of work, and took several weeks off-and-on to complete. By the time I finished, the itch was satisfied, plus it had come time to get back to serious work Ė and to enjoying the improvements and changes. There were other things I could have done if I had unlimited time and didnít have to get work done, but the improvements just completed were satisfying so you put off those other things. You donít stop thinking about them, though, and after a year or so the urge becomes unbearable. That sanding/lathe wall is a perfect example. Iíve wanted to do that for a long time; itís no recent desire.

And itís no new itch, but one whose time has come to satisfy.

Till next time,

A.J.

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