A Tale of Safe Storage

I hadn’t planned on maintaining such an absence from this blog until now but for the past few days, I’ve been unable to log-in and it looks as though it’s a problem that has hit other WordPress users. But I’m here now; my fingers ready to share so many things and I feel it would be most convenient to share details of this weekend as it comes to a close.

One final shot of my complete workshop in March 2014.

Straying back in to the world of woodworking and workshops for a moment; this weekend was when I decided it was time to put the majority of my tools and equipment in to self storage!

This was the state of affairs on the night before Saturday, which would become Moving Day. If you can spy an active project on my bench then, I promise to write about that very soon. 😉

I was able to call on the assistance of both my father and a borrowed van. We were loading up before 9am, which isn’t easy on a weekend!

A shot of the second load.
I once suggested selling these items – it just seemed easier!

Now, after retrieving quotes from around Bristol and Weston-super-Mare (averaging £50 pcm), I ended up going for a private self-storage option through a mutual acquaintance. I won’t be sharing names, figures or too many details but I’m pleased to be able to say that it’s costing me less than what I would’ve payed to a specialist company.

Sitting patiently, in waiting for my next workshop….

During the second delivery, we had to contend with my almighty benchtop mortiser; made almost entirely of cast iron (and no plastic parts)…

My cast-iron mortiser.

Despite its size, this ‘nearly broke’ the suspension on my Ford Escort back in 2009, on a tw0-hour drive home from Dorchester. Before any lifting took place, I removed the headstock and motor, which is quite easy to do (two large nuts with a 25mm spanner and it slides up and off). From there, I assumed the main body would be easy for two of us to manage but it seemed an excessive struggle, travelling just over 6m from the rear wall of my workshop and to the back of the van.

We got it up and in via the tail lift and then, as we were getting ready to lower it in to a resting place for the journey, something fell off and hit the base of the van; HARD. It narrowly missed our toes and fortunately did no damage to the van! Had it landed on the driveway from a greater height, there could well have been damage somewhere! It was the X-Y table that fell. I hadn’t considered removing it, even though I must’ve done so to man-handle the tool in to my workshop on my own initially… Neither had I considered how it might so easily fall from its place.

A lesson to anyone moving tools and/or heavy machinery – ALWAYS wear safety boots with steel toes!! I didn’t and I very nearly payed a hefty price for it, yesterday.

There was only one casualty of the day and that was a wheel from the base of my router table, which is barely 18 months old. As soon as it left the van and we rolled it confidently along the rocky driveway at this premises, well, it didn’t last very long. Had I bolted these castors through and in to the pace (instead of simply screwing the mounting blocks on), it could’ve faired on until reaching the smooth concrete surface of the interior.

I see a lot of people screwing their castors in place. We all seem to fit them solely to suit the needs of our own confines but, if you’re likely to move at some point, I would recommend you consider thinking a little bit further ahead. If this was a 150kg machine, it could’ve been a severe struggle.

My workbench offered a lot of storage potential and room for more remains!

So, this is how my workshop was looking after the final trip on Saturday afternoon:

My planer/thicknesser was collected by a buyer this morning. I’m searching for someone to purchase my large 16in bandsaw and that’s my main concern right now, as time really is running out and I don’t want to have to move that anywhere – the pain of struggling it in under the garage door and upright again remains fresh in my mind (back and arms) from all of 5 years ago!

I’ll have someone coming to collect my extractor and vacuum very soon. I decided early on that they’re both items I could replace quite easily and without breaking the bank. In another workshop; I might even go for a larger HPLV extractor, as opposed to a humble vacuum. I also like the idea of a larger HVLP extractor for planer shavings.

One complete bag of sawdust plus a morning of sweeping up.

Because in my next workshop (when and where-ever that will be), I am going to prioritise the installation of an efficient dust extraction system early on, along with insulation and draught-proofing. Those have always been overlooked in my first workshop – like a lot of people, I got carried away buying tools and filling every corner.

Dust has always been a nuisance and my configuration for extraction and collection has always proved to be a hindrance. Likewise; I have never been able to enjoy my space and tools during the colder months and in the last couple of years, I’ve turned to neglect my work where I would prefer to be spending more of those sunny days out in the great outdoors or with the company of others.

As I mentioned; the planer’s already gone. My Workmate is looking for a buyer but beyond that, the rest will either be heading to the tip (wood offcuts and rubbish) while other bits (firewood, sheet scraps and offcuts I haven’t used) will be finding new homes through Freecycle and free-top-collect adverts.

From left to right: ash, oak, English cherry, brown oak and walnut.

Elsewhere, I’ve been stacking up reasonable offcuts, ready to price and sell. I reckon I’ll list these on a popular UK forum and then refer to it from a future post on this blog. I also have some large lumps of beech and other bits than need re-homing:

For anything and everything I’m ever selling, please see this FOR SALE album.

As long as the bandsaw finds itself a new home very soon, I can deal with the rest from here. Worst case scenario – I either end up having to squeeze extra bits in to my existing storage space (there is room) or, I bring some of it home with me and sort it from there.

Yesterday was quite emotional in the beginning and I really felt like I was neglecting a great passion of mine… But, as the day went on, I realised that I was providing my tools with a safe spot for hibernation. When the time is right, I’ll be using them again. It wasn’t too hard getting them in to place – I’m sure the complications would’ve been greater, had I decided to sell the lot; having to entertain and negotiate with an abundance of buyers…

For several months now, I’ve been working to declutter my own collection of tools and timber and it’s having a positive effect. But in creating all this space for the next occupant, I’ve had a chance clean everything out properly – and that’s where I again realised the necessity for good dust collection next time.

If there’s one downside, it’s that I haven’t been able to film any of this as I’m going to require a replacement camera (even Nikon say it’s beyond economical repair!). But that’s not much of an issue when I still have more than half-a-dozen-worth of videos to edit and upload!!

From here, my future as a woodworker is a little uncertain. For the immediate future, the task I’m set now to complete the transfer is quite easily manageable.

Thanks for reading.

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