Storing Tools

Being the start of December, it was time to get the Christmas decorations out, and given I was fully expecting the shed a long time ago, I had packed the decorations at the back.  So it was a full unload of the storage shed, and a first look at some of the boxes and items in them that I haven’t seen since they were packed in January/February.

Not everything has survived as well as one would hope, so there are some lessons here that may be of benefit for others.  So far, only one tool looks particularly bad, and it may be recoverable (but will always bear the scars, even if it is).

1. Pack as if it is for an indeterminable length of time, rather than an expected few weeks, or months.  Things have a habit of blowing out well beyond expectations, and if the tools are packed properly, any delay will not cause an issue.

2. Packing includes serious consideration that the tool will be exposed to moisture.  A light spray with WD40 (for metal tools) then wrap individually.  I started wrapping individual tools in bubble wrap when I started packing but stopped after a while when I decided I was being too pedantic.  Now I wish I had persisted after all (and see point 1).

3. Using cardboard boxes is asking for trouble.  I started with a bunch of removalists boxes, and although they stack neatly, they definitely do not last anywhere near as long as you’d want.  It depends on where you are using to store the boxes, but given workshop boxes are unlikely to be given the same inside-the-house priority as household supplies (and will often be emptied a lot later than the rest of the household boxes) they find themselves absorbing more moisture, weakening.  Even if they are in an ideal environment, in time the boxes start to compact.  If they are a bit heavy, this process happens a lot faster and the contents bear the brunt.

4. Boxes will get moved, and moved again.  Having a system that allows the boxes to be moved, stacked and restacked easily will be a real asset.

5. Label the boxes, and record the contents.  Consider keeping a photographic record as well – if it gets to a worst case scenario, it will greatly help in the insurance claim.

6. Sturdy plastic boxes with lid are much more useful.  Each stack of boxes should ideally have a wheeled base so the stack can be moved without having to load and unload the stack just to move it.

7. Whether you are storing boxes in a storage unit, a garage or a shed (especially a shed), get the boxes off the ground.  I bought a smallish shed instead of (and for about the same price as two months of a storage unit), but thought it would be fine with a heavy-duty groundsheet.  It wasn’t.  I should have purchased the shed base kit. Another alternative is to use pallets (plastic or wooden) as the shed base.  If you can get the pallets in and out of the shed or storage unit without unloading them, all the better.

8. When you do (finally) get to unpack the boxes, crates or whatever, make sure you are unpacking the tools into their final home.  Otherwise you planned pack and store will quickly turn into a shambles.

9. Sort the tools as you are unpacking them.  Any tool needing TLC, put them aside for treatment, rather than assuming you’ll get a round tuit.

10. Be prepared for some damage, and loss.  Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

Moving heavy machines

Have started thinking about how I will actually move into the shed when it is ready (guess that means I am accepting this is finally, actually going to happen!)

Despite a number of tools having their own wheeled bases, these are only suitable for moves around the shed itself, and in the case of some machines, they don’t have that option anyway.  While moving from the previous house, the idea of pallets, and a pallet jack was up there.  I didn’t end up going that way, and paid for a removalist company to do it all for me, so any decision was deferred.

This time, I’ve decided that a pallet jack will be a particularly suitable option, and not that expensive all things considered.  The one I got from Damoli Forklift Services looks particularly robust, has dual polyurethane wheels at the end of each arm, and a large dual polyurethane wheel at the front, and has a standard 2500kg load rating (which is more than enough for the heaviest machine I have to move, by a factor of about 10!). Only rang them about it yesterday, and it was on my doorstop when I got home from work today.  Happy about that!

Photo 26-11-2013 18 46 20

It will also prove very useful when the new tablesaw arrives (a certain SawStop) which will also be palletised.

And when it comes time to move the large loads of timber from the back of the garage where it is currently stored, to its new home, the pallet jack will be given a good work out!  Think I will be utilising both the pallet jack and the winch for that move!  Now there’s a thought – wonder what would happen if I mounted the winch to the pallet jack?

I gave it a very quick try tonight, lifting the drum sander (which is now mounted on its own stand).  The jack slipped under, then with a couple of spacer blocks, picked up the sander without any problem at all.  It is only 55kg or so with stand, so only a fraction of what the jack can handle, but moving it otherwise is a pretty heavy affair for one person. Will do the same thing for the approximately 125kg Nova DVR XP lathe – again it will be a piece of cake for the jack, but a back-wrecking nightmare for me otherwise.

Added bonus – the fat polyurethane wheels run pretty well over rough ground.  Will still need to put down a track of boards or timber for it to run on – the weight when loaded would bury the jack into the backyard otherwise!

Can’t wait for moving day!

Pack Progress

So the pack is progressing, even in the shed now.  It isn’t just a matter of throwing everything into boxes (although that would be much easier!) and sorting it out at the other end (that wouldn’t be fun), because like any move, some boxes just don’t get opened again for a long time, until there is something inside that is specifically needed.

Each box is being sorted by category, based on the tool they are for: drill press, Festool, Vac Clamp, spindle sander, clamps etc.  Everything for that tool then ends up in the same box.  Some can be packed and sealed straight away, some are for items scattered all over the shed (deliberately, or otherwise), so they get left open so additional items can be added as they are found.

I’ve gone from having 8 boxes complete, then 16, to having around 40 boxes now packed.  Finally looks like some progress is happening out there!

Along with boxes, I’ve been considering whether there is a benefit to palletising some of the items.  Of course that’d mean hiring a pallet truck, and critically, dealing with a restriction on the path that has a maximum width of 980mm.  Pallets in Australia are generally wider than that, so I’d have to use the Euro pallets, and pallet truck.  Unfortunately, the hire place I rang didn’t even know there were 2 types of pallet truck.

The other problem is the total weight – not for the pallet truck (which typically can lift 2500kg), but to not exceed the load capacity of the truck’s lifting capacity.   The other part of the debate, is whether it is worth the hassle of hiring a pallet truck etc.  Most of my machines are already on mobile bases.  The only two that are not, are the DVR lathe (135kg) and the bandsaw (121kg).  Thinking it is probably good that I managed to get the thicknesser onto a mobile base when I first bought it home (260kg), which would be the heaviest machine I have, followed by the tablesaw (220kg).

Machine weights etc may all seem a bit irrelevant, but as I am getting into the logistics of the move, this is all becoming important.  I have a pallet full of tassie oak, which on it’s own weights about 1080kg!  Might have to split that one between 2 or 3 separate pallets so that it is manageable.

Now I just want to move, get over and past this current stage.  It is a negative phase – the devolving of a working workshop into boxes.  Going from a functional to non-functional condition.

I was thinking while packing (there is a lot of time to think, funnily enough), that you can not move a man’s shed (or a girl’s, for those who have similar pursuits).  A shed ends when it is packed.  It cannot be relocated.  A new shed is then created at the new location, even if it is using the same components as the previous location.

This isn’t the first ‘relocation’ of the shed, although it is the first new address 🙂

The shed started in a 3m x 3m shed, that fitted a tablesaw, router table (both Triton), and a lathe.  It then expanded by becoming a 6m x 3m, with the 3m x 3m remaining as storage.  Next, that shed collapsed to the middle, and the walls ‘pushed’ out to form the current 8m x 4m structure (and still with the 3m x 3m storage).  So this is, in a way, relocation number 4, and by FAR, the largest!

Very difficult to estimate, but I’d guess a conservative figure of 3.5 tonnes of tools, machines and timber.

My Future Shed?

Found this on the web – looks like a joke….but does it actually have some merit?  Cost is good.  Ability to fill the walls with insulation is good.  Clad it with reclaimed factory wall steel.  I’m not sure if it is such a shocking idea as it first looks!

Future Shed Extension?

Also found this sculpture – rather cool idea I thought

Get a Grip

And finally, what we all knew (and pretend to ignore)

Choosing Colours

All found on various Cheezburger sites

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