Your new, ‘ideal’ shop should not fit your needs like a glove.
By Gary Legwold
Your shop is a tool, the biggest tool
you have to get a job done. So it makes sense to find the best tool for optimum efficiency and to keep that tool sharp.
In your quest for the ideal shop, refer to these four rules:
1. Go big. “Add a little more room than what you need,” Erickson says.
2. Think mitten. Remember Kozel’s rule: “Loose fit equals long life.”
3. Do a mock up of your ideal workspace. Use tape, cardboard and real equipment to create a layout of the space that interests you. “It’s a simple, inexpensive way to see what your shop would look and feel like,” Kozel says. “A concept in architecture is you work the problem from within the problem, that only geniuses can come to a problem and have it solved mentally before they start.”
4. Regularly re-evaluate. Take stock during slow times. Visit other shops for ideas during marine-fabrication conventions. As you evaluate, ask the basic, “beginner’s-eye” questions. Are you entirely satisfied with your lighting, both general and task, and the number of power outlets you have? Is there a way to create natural lighting in order to help see your work better and to improve shop atmosphere? Do you have floor mats? Does the work flow efficiently, or are there layout logjams? Where does storage fit into your plan, or is it an annoying afterthought?
One more thing: Once you have created your ideal shop, enjoy it while you can. Because it’s a sign of a healthy, evolving business that your shop will need changing—sooner than you think.