Author Topic: Small Shops and Tiny Toolboxes  (Read 1244 times)

Offline sparky961

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Small Shops and Tiny Toolboxes
« on: September 02, 2017, 06:55:38 PM »
A lot of the discussion here and in other hobby pursuits tend to focus on progressively getting more space, bigger and better machines, and more and more tooling.

I'm interested in exploring the opposite.  If you were to make your shop smaller and smaller, and have the fewest amount of tools to do something useful, what would you keep?  What would you replace with something else?  How much space would you really need (as opposed to "want").  For many of us, myself included, this is probably a difficult way to think about it, but when you look back in history to the time when objects were simpler and easier to repair, the home handyman's arsenal was much smaller than it is today.  The most skilled of them still did some pretty amazing work.

I'm not so much interested in the question "why would you want to do this?", rather "if you wanted to" or "if you were forced to" downsize and simplify significantly, what would things look like when you were done?
« Last Edit: September 02, 2017, 08:58:14 PM by sparky961 »

Offline krv3000

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Re: Small Shops and Tiny Toolboxes
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2017, 07:26:15 PM »
hi well if I had a bigger workshop I wood just fill it up with crap lol as I only do small engines and the repair of D.T.I's their ant no point in me getting out big but if I had to make things fit in to a smaller workshop one of the first things to go wood be the wife I can all ways sleep on the sofer and youse the master bedroom  as storage 

Offline PK

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Re: Small Shops and Tiny Toolboxes
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2017, 08:34:41 PM »
I think I'd focus on storage, at least at first.
If everything you need has a place then you don't need anything that doesn't have a place.... So throw it away.

Offline PekkaNF

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Re: Small Shops and Tiny Toolboxes
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2017, 02:09:46 AM »
I have a one car garrage as a work shop + one bedroom inside for measuring stuff and for electronics and stuff that you can do inside.

I would not like downsize the stuff on the bedroom, although I could get ridd of some stuff bying better stuff and getting rid off some hobies (like fly fishing, woodworking, gardening) and recycling three book selfes filled wiith hobby books. I think not.

I pondered once buying some small, but better quality machines that would nicely fit into exsisting garage....but old industrial clunkers are that much cheaper that it actually (right now) here would be cheaper to build a big enough (for now) work shop ath othe end of the lot.

Or I could dowsize the projects I do...

Raw materia is hard to downsize.

I do have some excess stuff I should recycle and some machines/parts that I need to choose to sell/scrap/refurbish.

As said before storage space and storage system is important.

Pekka

Offline Joules

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Re: Small Shops and Tiny Toolboxes
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2017, 06:08:51 AM »
I started out in an attic bedroom with a Taig lathe and mill, plus a Minicraft drill and drill stand (UK Dremel of its time)    If I had to start again it would be 3D printer, Pocket NC and a Taig or Cowels lathe for turned work.  That, tooling and materials would all fit in a wardrobe these days....    :lol:  The wardrobe would soon be buldging as I could never get rid of my Magpie obsession.    Ooooh, shiny  :drool:
Just get doing and make swarf, you can decide what its going to be later.   :thumbup:

Offline Eugene

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Re: Small Shops and Tiny Toolboxes
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2017, 06:41:19 AM »
Sparky posted 
Quote
if you were forced to downsize and simplify significantly, what would things look like when you were done?

I'll let you know. :(

We downsized a year ago and I'm only now getting the workshop sorted out. There isn't any "hobby" space in the house at all, other than an office desk. The garden had no outbuildings when we moved in, so since then I've built a wooden tool store (out of sight from the bad lads) for garden and small hand tools, but not yer actual machinery. We chose the place because it was in very pleasant countryside, so any workshop has to be in keeping; I didn't want a traditional garage sized shed and didn't have room enough for one anyway.

So heres the compromise... a stretched gazebo, that if and when we come to sell would make a home office, sewing room, studio or whatever, and add to the appeal rather than detract from it. Fully insulated and double glazed, now it needs a coat of paint inside and out. Twee? OK, a bit.









Overall it's 4 x 2 metres and will have to take two Myford M Type lathes, a hand powered shaper, bench drill press, tool grinder, saw table, and two workbenches plus all the usual bits, bobs and clutter.. somethings gotta give! 

Some storage will be in the old roll top cabinets I made for the last shop back in Wales, they turned out to be very useful; I might make some more.

Like I said, I'll let you know.

Eug
« Last Edit: September 03, 2017, 11:35:42 AM by Eugene »

Offline Mike E.

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Re: Small Shops and Tiny Toolboxes
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2017, 10:05:45 AM »
................ "if you wanted to" or "if you were forced to" downsize and simplify significantly, what would things look like when you were done?

By choice my Wife & I downsized after recently retiring.  Everything in the ranch home and shop was wittled down to fit in a 20 foot sea train container and shipped. I only kept the best wood and metalworking tools I believe would be used often, quality old school tools that would be very hard and expensive to replace.

The future, now "hobby" workshop, will be U-shaped, wrapped around the inside perimeter of a new one car garage when completed, with the middle available for large projects when required. On the wall opposite the roll up door will be a wood working bench with cabinets, drawers, and shelves. The metal working equipment including lathe, mill, drill press, die filer, surface grinder and metal bench etc. will be positioned along the other walls with related storage cabinets, toolboxes, and a desk somewhere in between.

It was a really uplifting experience to get rid of a lifetime's collection of "stuff". I came to the conclusion that.... you never really own things in life, they tend to own you. You just have use of things while you are here, and accumulation becomes an increasing bourdon as one gets older.
Mike

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Offline sparky961

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Re: Small Shops and Tiny Toolboxes
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2017, 11:21:37 AM »
Great replies so far.  Please, keep them coming.

Offline gerritv

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Re: Small Shops and Tiny Toolboxes
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2017, 12:44:23 PM »
Downsizing can be good for the soul, it removes a lot of baggage that in the end you often really don't need (anymore).

I would keep a small lathe, a drill press and a small mill, perhaps a CNC router with small foot print. Some means of cutting wood by machine is also important to me.
The challenge in a small space is to utilize all the space, esp vertically. If you keep some wood working tools then making storage thingies becomes possible. Remove a built in closet and you get more space back as well. Ikea has a AsIs section, great place to find tall kitchen cabinets, just fit shelves on drawer slides for maximum volume and ease of access.

E.g. my offcut storage is narrow and tall. If needed I could re-arrange the pullout shelves to get more density.

Books I have mostly as pdf files. I print the pages I need for a project or tool build. Those go into a binder as they are often covered in annotations by completion.

Transferring your bolts/nuts etc into small baggies with notes on the top significantly increases the density of that storage. Using storage bins such as https://www.uline.ca/BL_302/White-Corrugated-Bins lets you group them by category without becoming a mess.

Most of the above I implemented while living for 8 very very long years in a condo. Now back in a house with space but I still try to keep things compact and under control.


Offline Bee

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Re: Small Shops and Tiny Toolboxes
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2017, 02:51:27 PM »
Even if keeping a big shed and tools for ones declining years a small shed close to the house and facilities is a good idea, maybe only 7x5ft. Proximity to kitchen (for coffee) and loo for disposing of coffee. It could have a bench designed for sitting at, with a good window for day dreaming out of, and above all very good insulation and heating so it is no discomfort to actually use.

Tools - maybe a vice is nice but not essential as dogs and wedges suffice and the Japanese did without hence their saws. I think a small drill press would be the one key tool because with age controlling a hand drill safely and accurately would become more difficult. Everything else can be done, albeit slowly, with hand tools.

Offline AdeV

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Re: Small Shops and Tiny Toolboxes
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2017, 04:57:43 PM »
Proximity to kitchen (for coffee) and loo for disposing of coffee.

Definitely those two...

It could have a bench designed for sitting at, with a good window for day dreaming out of, and above all very good insulation and heating so it is no discomfort to actually use.

Hmm... I'm sure some of our older members could verify this... but I find if I have a good daydreaming work bench in a nice warm office/workshop, then no matter how good or otherwise the view is, I find myself dozing off... no matter how much caffeine I throw at the problem!
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Offline Jo

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Re: Small Shops and Tiny Toolboxes
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2017, 12:07:08 PM »
A lot of the discussion here and in other hobby pursuits tend to focus on progressively getting more space, bigger and better machines, and more and more tooling.

I'm interested in exploring the opposite.  If you were to make your shop smaller and smaller, and have the fewest amount of tools to do something useful, what would you keep? 

I already have my small (house) workshop: It consists of Little C and Sexy  :coffee:

Jo
So many engines to build and yet so little time.

Offline John Hill

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Re: Small Shops and Tiny Toolboxes
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2017, 03:40:28 PM »
When I was doing a bit of blue water sailing (32' sloop) we had a very basic workshop on board.  There was a plank under my bunk which could be lifted up and flipped over to use the vise that was bolted underneath.

 Tools were basic and only one of anything.  Hammer, wood chisel, cold chisel, spanners that fitted the little diesel, copper soldering bolt, solder, flux cored solder, spirits of salts(carefully stowed), drills, hacksaw, tenon saw, breast drill, screw drivers, spanners and no doubt quite a few things I forget.  These all fitted in a plastic bin with a lid and a generously oiled rag which went in on top and kept the rust at bay.
From the den of The Artful Bodger

Offline one_rod

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Re: Small Shops and Tiny Toolboxes
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2017, 04:48:49 PM »
These are basically trailers for a TV show, but give a brief view of Grace Horne's tiny, but perfectly functional, workshop. Which is built in a converted public toilet in Sheffield.

The second vid. shows a little more detail about the shop itself. If anything the videos make the place look bigger than it actually is. I've been inside, and with two people and Grace's dog the place is very cosy. Still, she manages to be a full time, professional knifemaker in there. Proof that you don't need that much room to do good work.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHkNZu6C1hA" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHkNZu6C1hA</a>

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEQ_hrZ9kFs" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEQ_hrZ9kFs</a>

"A season ticket for the one way ride..."

Offline Mike E.

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Re: Small Shops and Tiny Toolboxes
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2017, 12:15:05 PM »
.............................. when you look back in history to the time when objects were simpler and easier to repair, the home handyman's arsenal was much smaller than it is today.  The most skilled of them still did some pretty amazing work.

Here are a couple of photos from an early 1940's book I have.  It gives you an idea of what a small home workshop would have looked like. The tools described in the book were manually operated hand tools, and only a lathe was mentioned as far as machinery; and apparently only for those with a fat wallet.
Mike

California & Wales  - Home, & Home Away

Offline sparky961

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Re: Small Shops and Tiny Toolboxes
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2017, 04:38:33 PM »
I already have my small (house) workshop: It consists of Little C and Sexy  :coffee:

Jo

What kind of machines are those?  They look like they might be well built, and very compact.

Offline PekkaNF

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Re: Small Shops and Tiny Toolboxes
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2017, 02:23:18 AM »
I already have my small (house) workshop: It consists of Little C and Sexy  :coffee:

Jo

What kind of machines are those?  They look like they might be well built, and very compact.

Lathe looks like Cowells (spelling?), but I am pretty sure the milling machine is Sixis 101!

Pekka