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.

To Store or Not, That is the Question

Back when we moved house, we had a storage unit for a few months – it helped a lot during the packing to be able to then take boxes that were packed early and store them out of the way.  After moving, I didn’t continue with the unit, as it does cost, and of course I wasn’t expecting real delays in proceedings.

It meant the shed got packed into the garage, into a non functional state as I’m sure regulars are very familiar with!

It got to a crunch point recently where I had to do something, as it was really having a detrimental effect.  Other than making serious moves on the shed, the other thing I needed to do was get back to some semblance of a functional state (at least able to use the drill press, tablesaw and router table – I already had access to a bandsaw and lathe).

The only way to achieve that is to empty some of the garage out.  There is no where to put it though, so again I considered the storage unit option.  Even to the point that I booked a unit ($152/month) and filled the stationwagon for the first trip.

But something was still nagging in the back of my mind.

So before I went to the unit to unload, I took a run down past Masters – to get a padlock for the unit.  But instead of heading to the padlock section, I found myself perusing the isles of sheds, once again.

But there was a difference.  All the sheds I was looking at were on special until the end of the month – over $100 off.  For the price I would spend on 2 months of the storage unit (which is the minimum I anticipated I would need it), I could get a comparable shed (slightly smaller, but still well in the ball park).  Spoke with my better half, who I am sure was very bemused by the prospect of yet another shed, but she agreed with the logic and gave the green light.

So back to the storage unit, who were very obliging and let me bail on the unit, and back to Masters again, and after a bit of indecisiveness, chose a 2.1×2.1 shed.

Was planning on cream (to match the future workshop), but as they didn’t have any, had to opt for green.  But just before loading, the store assistant asked if I had considered the new colour – slate grey.  I hadn’t, but it then dawned on me that although I can’t get cream, the other main colour of the workshop was going to be very similar to slate grey – so sold!  At the checkout however, it turned out the new colour was not part of the sale (was at the full $500), but as it had been offered, they honoured it anyway, and made it $360.  A real win!

So now I have a nearly fully assembled shed (still have the door to go), a car full of gear I have to unload again, and this weekend I am hoping to get to the tablesaw up and running again (and have more of a play with the CNC Shark of course!)  I don’t have 15A power available, so the Promac generator will definitely be required (having twin 15A outputs).

As to the shed – I’ll line the base with a groundsheet, and load it up to the gunnels.  After all this, I could sell it for $60 and still be even, but instead – I know it will not go to waste! (More storage!!)  Still tossing up the idea of the floor kit, just for the ease of it, but at $200 it is a lot for something that can be

It is a cheap shed, no doubt about it.  If it wasn’t cheap, it wouldn’t have been a viable proposition in the first place.

The instructions were much better written than I’d seen before, but still some significant problems never the less.  The shed has some design faults – you’d think after years they would have refined them to the nth degree and have it down pat.  But I guess it isn’t Ikea – they have no idea how to implement quality control on design.  Some real problems, but it could be fudged enough to get it together.  Even after adding the roof, the structure is still unstable.  Needs more bracing in the corners than was provided.

The instructions as I said look a lot better than they used to, but I followed them to a T, and they missed a number of steps.  They really need to take a shed, give it to someone who has either not assembled one before, or who is actually capable of following instructions rather than jumping ahead and actually pick up the errors and missing steps.  Anyway, what do I expect.

I have been looking at some photos of the American Barns being built, and I am so looking forward to getting to assemble a quality unit!  And one that has a structure and doesn’t rely on the cladding for structural integrity.

Storage Wars

It is proving a very busy end to a very busy year.  Turns out, preparing to move involves a lot of work (not unexpectedly).  Sorry if I’ve been a bit quiet here – been packing.

We’ve been moving things as they are packed into a storage unit (and thus the title of the post for those unfamiliar with the A&E channel on Foxtel).  Like a shed, just neater (and more costly per square metre in the long term).

In the meantime, I have also been planning the layout of the new house – scale drawings, and it is really looking like my original concept of using the double garage as a shed for a while until I sort the shed out, is not going to be the most practical option.  Based on that, I will need to solve the shed (or lack thereof) issue as quickly as possible.  It will definitely be interesting to then layout a new shed, and I’d love to get right into it, but at this stage I don’t even know what shape, or area the shed will have.  That may sound strange – sheds are normally rectangular, rectangular or….rectangular (yes, some are square, but that is a subset of rectangular).  The area on the new block where the shed will go is triangular, so either the shed will mimic the block shape, or will be made up of a combination of increasing sizes of rectangular sheds joined together.  Definitely will be talking to some suppliers to see what may be possible.

I finally found a few minutes to open the boxes of Nova accessories that arrived just before Xmas – a grinder that attaches to (and is powered by) the Nova Comet II lathe, and a Titan chuck.  The grinder attachment is pretty cool, whereas the Titan is simply awesome.  It makes the PowerJaws look, well, like the 50mm jaws that come with other chucks!

We’ll be having a look at that shortly, as well as a dado blade from Amana Tool / Toolstoday.com

Busy start of 2013 coming, but I will be endeavouring (as in not promising!) to get back to the ideal of a post/day.  Need some more videos as well!

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