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Our new workshop

One of the joys of having so little stuff is you have less to maintain and more to imagine. When you have a completely furnished workshop you spend part of every visit cleaning it back up again. Sometimes you just go down there and tune up the equipment, tweaking the knives, polishing the milled surfaces.

one of many great workshops at UNLV Physics Lab

And you have the workshop ready to transform ideas into things — a workshop in which to create, modify, and destroy materials. But, once it’s furnished and arranged you are kinda locked into the investment you’ve already sunk. You’re limited in what you can imagine doing to the shop.

Jim borrowed a neighbor’s workshop space yesterday afternoon. It’s very modest, just a small u-shaped area attached to his house. He has a few pieces of equipment, enough to do small woodworking. This served Jim’s purposes perfectly yesterday, just laying out, drilling, and deburring a dozen holes in a 1/8″ piece of aluminum for our fireplace.

Anywhere else Jim would have done this with his 35 year old Black & Decker drill. But he had a choice here. The drill press made it far easier and quicker to do neat work on the anodized aluminum piece. And this got him to thinking about how nice it is to have a place to do stuff like drilling, cutting, shaping, grinding . . .

Now Jim’s dreaming up a workshop of his own. Jim started working, after college, as a carpenter then a maintenance mechanic. One job had him in charge and sole use of a 40′ X 40′ woodworking shop, fully equipped. He knows his way around workshops, and can recall and imagine just how he might arrange one for himself. This is pretty harmless — Jim’s too cheap to spend more than he needs to, and he doesn’t have a place for the stuff right now.

While we’re mobile he doesn’t have any place to put another tool anyway. So he announced to me today he is shopping for a drill press. “Yeah, right, you gonna mount it on the truck’s bumper?”, I said. “Nah, this is for the shop I’ll have when we stop full-timing someday”, he answered. And with Popular Mechanic’s help he’s already figured out the specs for his drill press of the future.

We aren’t accepting an early exit from full-timing, we’re both still enjoying this tremendously. He has plenty of time to dream up the appropriate shop and equipment. But I might be concerned if he finishes the shop plan and starts shopping for a place to put it.

Okay, so a drill press and what else? This could go far, this imagining a workshop. We’re both listmakers, and we enjoy getting ideas onto paper, saving them to pore over later. And of course, the shop probably will become bigger than the house. I wonder if he’ll finish it and start listing projects to do in it, then virtually completing them?

Dream on, baby, have a blast! I get to use the shop too.

Jim and Debbie
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