Construction is not over until the dumpster leaves

Construction on our new house and workshop has finally come to a halt. Our contractors have departed and we can occasionally enjoy a few minutes of deck time.

This is one of our favorite spots in the house. We have a 180 degree view of several different mountain ranges and are being visited by a growing number of curious birds and animals. A morning coffee is a grand reward for all of the work we put in, and we savor every minute we get to spend out here.

Life is quite different and calmer than when I was bringing down the last moving van load in late January.

In the ensuing months our contractors completed our back deck and laid down a hardwood floor in the house with a tiled entranceway which serves as a civilized sort of mudroom. This opened the way for us to set up furniture, hang drapes, and generally get things shipshape.

The house is really comfortable and we have settled down to a regular routine of locating the last few boxes which haven’t been unpacked and getting things put away where they can be useful.

The workshop looks like a real building now that the siding has been put on and it has heat, hot water and a fully operational bathroom with a shower.

Gretchen and I waited until the contractors left and called in our excavation contractor to pick up the last of the construction debris with a Bobcat. There was so much left that he topped off the dumpster.

The dumpster people came and the driveway is now clear. Our attention is now focused on getting the workshop ready for business. That is the last hurdle to overcome and will probably be a post in itself.

My solution so far has been to erect an array of metal shelves along the back wall of the workshop, with each shelf dedicated to a specific kind of storage: fasteners, small tools, paints, jigs and fixtures, sub-assemblies, etc.

Unfortunately, there are too many bins of "stuff" that don’t fit into my neat set of categories, so I have to modify my storage technique on the fly. Fortunately, Gretchen is an incredible organizer and she is able to guide me through this otherwise traumatic period of settling in.

We expect to be up and fully operational by Monday, but that will probably involve donating a lot of spare equipment and boxes of household items to our favorite local charity. That is the only way we will create enough space for me to produce custom woodworking designs efficiently.

In the past, I fell into the trap of working in too little space and it doubled and even tripled the man hours required to complete construction of complex pieces. I spent more time moving things out of my way than I did working. I was able to get the work done, but it took too much time to set things up for  each new operation. Since I was working on fixed-price contracts, I was putting in a lot of time that I was not getting paid for.

Getting a larger workshop was one of the driving forces behind the move to Floyd. Now that we are here, we are putting everything we have into getting ready for production. Work is already coming in from new clients so there is no time to waste.

You have to be careful what you wish for. I wanted design work and I am getting it. That is probably going to cut into my deck time…unless I figure out a way to bring a drawing board and a computer out on the deck.

Anyway, that is a problem for next week. This weekend I will be cleaning and organizing the Augean Stables and turning them into a functioning workshop.

If anyone has a sure-fire method of squeezing more space out of a workshop, I would sure like to hear your suggestions. I need all the ideas I can round up.

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