Friday, August 20, 2010
This odd little building sitting to the left of our house was intended to be a garage, I believe. Unfortunately our minivan doesn't fit through the doors and once inside, it hits the rafters. For the past two years it has been a catch-all storage shed.
This summer, I took it over. Hubby basically gave it to me, a whole building! All mine! I've dreamed of having a woodworking shop for years, ever since I took a woodshop class in school. Now this summer I was going to see my dream come true.
We took the storage stuff out and piled it on the driveway. I'm pretty sure the neighbors thought we were having another yard sale.
But the stuff got covered with a tarp. Unfortunately the stuff is still there. I'm not sure quite what to do with it. I assume we'll eventually find places in the basement for everything.
The garage building had a dirt floor (not level) and unfinished walls. The other main problem was that it was not wired for power. It basically had four walls and a roof with three ancient windows stuck randomly here and there. The side doorway had no door.
Step one three weeks ago was building a floor. I hired a carpenter from our church to do it, since I knew I would never have time to do it myself. Hubby has been entirely hands-off on this project, since the shop is my baby.
After the floor was in I needed to plan wiring. Sketches of wiring diagrams and building plans began to cover my kitchen table. The kids watched me add numbers of inches and feet, calculating the amount of wire I'd need.
I talked Hubby into calling the City for permission to dig. One week many workmen came and spray-painted the gravel in front of our gate, assuring us that we would not unearth a water line, sewer pipe, TV cable or telephone wires.
Hubby spent all afternoon in the sun digging me a lovely trench where Mr. Carpenter-Guy installed conduit, drilling a hole in the foundation of the house to insert one end.
Next Mr. Carpenter-Guy built and installed a wonderful sturdy workbench along one end of the shop. The front angles inward so I don't hit my knees. He even made a back so tools don't slide off the shelf into the no-man's-land beyond the wall studs.
In a comical carnival trip to the hardware store with all three noisy kids, I bought Romex wire, boxes, outlets and switches.
Although I've never done this type of wiring, I figured it couldn't be a lot harder than repairing lamps or installing fixtures. I started googling directions on the internet, calling my Dad every two hours to ask questions and calling my friend K who has worked on wiring her house this summer.
Like putting a puzzle together, I nailed in boxes, ran wires, nailed staples and installed outlets.
I even put two outlets on the front of my workbench, the thought being that plugging in hand tools there would keep the cords out of my work space.
Today, Dad came up for the day to help me finish the wiring. We ran a separate circuit for the lights, of which I installed five, although the shop is only about 12 feet on each side. I figured woodworking with vision as crummy as mine could use as much light as possible.
With that thought in mind I put in a directional swing-arm lamp above the work bench to shed light directly on my projects.
My Dad, happy to clean out storage items from his garage gave me a table saw and a drill press as well as some hand tools. Along with my planer, drill, jigsaw and sander, I have a good start on a well-outfitted wood shop.
With the workbench already covered in junk, the floor covered with sawdust and my new piece of pegboard hung up ready for tools, I'm beginning to feel right at home. I need to get the vise and two circuit breakers I have on order and I'll be up and running, ready to build all sorts of wooden toys for my children, or delicate musical instruments, or furniture or someday new kitchen cupboards.