Self Storage for 2013?

This year is very nearly over, as we close in on the celebrations of Christmas time. I’d like to be able to reflect back on my woodworking for the past twelve-months but, I know already that I seem to have achieved less than in previous years. With news that my mum’s looking to sell her house in the new year and also, how I’m wanting to rent my own living space again, it feels as though it’s all closing in towards an end. Renting a small workshop is parts of the UK can cost almost as a one-bedroom flat. As we’re both looking to go in to renting, it’s unlikely that a landlord would allow either of us to keep a workshop at home, even if we do end up living somewhere that has a garage.

My current workshop, on a good day!

So, I feel I’m left with a choice…

Ultimately, I’m going to have to move out of this workshop. That’s already been decided.

Do I consider temporary self-storage for some of my larger machines and lesser-used power tools?

I’ve worked hard to build up the collection of kit that I now own and, although I could still benefit from clearing out some junk, the setup I have now feels very close to being one that I have always aimed for. It would be a shame to have to sell all of it and give up for good. I do intend to keep most of my hand tools and power tools for general usage; perhaps selling off the duplicates I seem to have accumulated over the years.

Does anyone in the UK have any recommendations for self-storage companies? First one on Google’s list are the Big Yellow Self Storage. I need to work out what kind of room-space I would require and then contact them for a quote, thinking in the long-term, I reckon. Short of a Lottery win (when I don’t even gamble), I can’t see myself owning another work-space or even a house for many years yet.

Power Tool Tower

As I’ve already mentioned, I know that I have duplicates of power tools that I certainly don’t need to keep (two power planers and many cordless drills, to start off). I can start gathering those together in preparation to sell. I also reckon I could live without my 6in random orbit sander and keep my 5in ROS and use the 4in belt sander to compliment that.

When it comes to machinery, selling my 16in bandsaw is the first thought on my mind. As great as a central workhorse as it has been, it’s also a right PITA to move. I have similar thoughts about my planer/thicknesser, because of its weight. I intend to keep my surface planer (jointer), I’d never sell my bobbin sander, I like my pillar drill and my mortiser, I believe, was a once-in-a-lifetime bargain. Perhaps my mitre saw could go, along with the station I built for it. I don’t use my disc sander much but I’m tempted to keep the under-used lathe – if I don’t get back in to woodworking as I’ve known it, I could always try my hand at turning.

6in Planer and Mitre Saw Station

There’s a lot of timber to be sorted through as well. I could quite happily give away the smaller scraps but, anything dear (English walnut) or sizeable (2in ash I’ve been saving for a guitar body) and that could stay with me in self-storage.

I do believe that gradually sorting through all of this could be good for my state of mind. Each day I’m now in the workshop and, as the weeks and months have passed, I’ve felt it burdening on my shoulders. As much as I’ve enjoyed the break away and getting in to other activities, I feel guilt having all that kit, right there, just going to waste. There’s a lot to be said for the ‘de-cluttering’ of one’s subconscious.

My time limit is indefinite but, I aim to start small with the dawn of the new year. It’s better to tackle something like this one stage at a time and here and here’s an example of how that could work:

Power Tools –> Hand Tools –> Timber –> Machinery

This post does pose the question as to the future direction of this blog. First, I’d like to reassure you that I have no intention of abandoning or deleting everything that I have created here in the last three-years. I intend to discuss this further in my next post, as I see this blog becoming more ‘personal’ (other activities), without getting too personal.

There are a few videos I’d like to do on machine setup shortly. Even if I’m unable to practically make anything at the moment, I can savour the lasting memories of my first workshop while I still have access to it. Having spoken to Nick Gibbs recently for the first time in too many months, I do have some material that could make its way in to the pages of British Woodworking magazine in the not-too-distant future.

Startrite 401e – 16in Bandsaw

Thank you for reading this. It has taken a while for me to feel comfortable to come here and write this but, I hope this is the beginning of a new wave of progress for me. If you have any thoughts or even experiences of self-storage then, I would love to hear from you.

I’ve neglected to mention the obvious here because I don’t feel it really needs to be said… But, if I did sell all of my larger kit then, I would only have to rebuild it all again when or if I do become reacquainted with my next workshop.

11 thoughts on “Self Storage for 2013?

  1. Hi Olly,

    Glad to see another post from you – it’s been a while.

    I know what you mean about clutter and the subconscious – our house needs a lot of work (mostly superficial, but also mostly waiting on us replacing the double-glazing). It really affects the moods of both my wife and I living like this, so we’ve resolved to get moving on the improvements in the New Year.

    I suppose the choice of whether to sell or keep the larger things really depends on a few things:

    1/ Cost to store them (a function of the time they’ll be stored)

    2/ Likely cost to replace them in whatever timescale you’re likely to have another workshop

    3/ Likelihood of there being the same/better kit available at that time for a similar price (selling a rare good example of a discontinued machine may not be a good plan but perhaps selling the AW106PT may not be such a bad idea if you think you may pick up an AW106PT2 with cast iron tables “on the other side” for the same price though?)

    On the subject of self storage, I’ve little experience of the subject but I wonder whether you may find a less corporate storage company in a more rural area with lower overheads than the big chains in the towns/cities?

    Happy Christmas and good luck


    1. Hi John and thanks for your reply.

      I’ve had s couple of quick quotes online from the big firms and I’d be looking at around £40 per month for a year.

      There’s still a lot to consider and I’ll see what else I can find. When I started though, £50 was the monthly limit I set in my head.

      Have a good Christmas. 🙂

      1. Hi Olly.
        Good and bad news there I suppose. Who knows what the future might bring…
        As a slight jape, that you may none the less wish to consider: we have (some) room at the Flowering Elbow workshop…
        Things would get used, but they would be looked after/maintained – something to consider for self storage. I helped some friends move house recently, a lot of their stuff was in self storage, and after 6 months there much of it was musty and damp/moldified when we picked it up.
        The FE workshop is 2 hours from Bristol by car, but if you wanted to checkout the shop n jazz, you could make a weekend of it.
        Peace, B.

      2. Hi Bongo, good to hear from you.

        Thank you for the offer and warnings of self storage. ‘Donating’ them, or some, might be worth considering if I can’t sort anything locally.

        Thank you for the offer, have a great Christmas! 🙂

  2. Sorry to hear about your problem. I’ve got a shipping container until I’ve built a new workshop (but I understand that you need space for that as well!) Its a tricky one.
    I hate renting anything really as it’s dead money but there’s no way I could part with my tools and as your life moves on it will be hard to find and justify the money to buy new kit (believe me on this one). I’m always glad I bought what I did before I had a house and a mortgage and a kid as it means I’ve got a good level of kit and I only need to update it and replace it as it breaks.
    No one you know would let you put up a shed in their garden and store your tools in there for a while?

    1. Hi Kev and thank you.

      I agree with you on financial side of things.

      I know someone who might have barn space but that’s unlikely to be dry or as cheap as you might think! I need to keep looking.

      Have a great Christmas! 🙂

      1. Sounds silly but perhaps build a shed inside the barn? Build it big enough and you could have a workshop in there 🙂

        I grew up helping out on friends and neighbours farms and know how damp and drafty barns can be.

        Barns also don’t tend to be very secure and there seems to be quite a lot of theft from farms at the moment, so perhaps a few ground anchors and D-locks to avoid your stuff getting stolen too …


      2. Re John’s reply, I like the idea of a shed within a barn. In fact I was going to suggest looking for farm type buildings – so many of them are being developed to let these days – but you may have found an owner is not too ambitious in that respect. There would be considerable advantages in having a secure inner area for the valuable stuff with plenty(?) of covered space around it both to work in and to store less valuable items. You’ll need power for lighting (all the time, probably) and for the machines of course. As a two shed man myself ‘improving’ the sheds does sometimes get in the way of actually making anything but you won’t need convincing of the benefits of having a nice shell that you can fit out to please yourself.

        With every good wish, Bob (John’s Dad)

  3. Hi Olly,

    This is a tough one. I don’t think I’ve ever been without a workshop for any significant length of time but I have used all sorts of spaces to keep my machines running. I think the most bizarre was an old deserted cheese factory for the best part of a year — space was no object but it was an eerie cold place to work, especially during a Welsh winter. I’ve also gone for periods of time where I’ve lived at opposite ends of the country to my tools! I’ve downsized, upsized and downsized again. I guess all I’m saying is that change is usually not that far ahead and it’s a continual thing. So while it feels difficult now you could find yourself in a totally different situation not far down the road…

    I don’t know if I can offer any useful advise because your workspace and tools are such personal things. But if I were in your position I would work out what is easily replaceable. I’d probably sell some of the larger items that retain a good second hand value then put the money aside to re-buy when a new workshop comes along. This could get you around the ongoing cost of self storage while giving you the resource to put your kit back in place as soon as you need it. I think the only machine in my workshop that I’d regard as not easily replaced is the Startrite 352s. I bought it new when I was 17 when Startrite still made their machines in the UK. So it has some sentimental value, but all other machinery in my ‘shop could be replaced quite easily. Hand tools and bench are a different matter. I’d probably dress the bench up as a dining room table and keep the hand tools under it!

    1. Hi Ben and thanks for your thoughts.

      I’ll keep my eyes peeled for any spaces but I feel storage would be the cheaper option.

      Your idea of utilising the bench isn’t a bad one, as I did make it so that it can be flat-packed easily. If it came to, it could even live behind the settee! Otherwise, I might have to sell.

      Have a good Christmas! 🙂

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