Planning Any Shop Improvements?

It’s ironic (and embarrassing) how I push things down my “to do” list, especially when it comes to shop improvements. Case in point: three years ago I bought a window air conditioner to get through those steamy summer days. I don’t mind sweat equity when working hard on a project, but I really don’t like to drip sweat on cast-iron tools or into a wet finish. That, and my boss was coming into town for a big photoshoot. I wanted the shop to be nice and cool. My version of a red carpet, I suppose.

Anyway, I installed the air conditioner in a south-facing window because it was the best option. We got through our photoshoot in cool comfort. Then, a week or so later the rains started. Water leaked in around that AC. Not good. I tried one solution after the next to no avail. So, once fall came, I took the unit out, frustrated by my inability to stop the leaking, and I haven’t put it back in since. It’s been sitting on a shelf gathering dust.

I’ve been kicking myself the last couple summers, sweating away with an almost new air conditioner doing me no good. Dumb. I’m not lazy, and that’s the truth. I just couldn’t land on the best solution about what to do.

Finally, a couple weekends ago, the eureka moment came. There’s a wall to my shop that separates it from a portion of the building that serves as a parking space for a tractor and other stuff. It’s protected from the elements but still has a dirt floor. Hey, I could install that AC right through the wall! No more rain problems, and the machine will probably run cooler because it’s never exposed to the sun’s heat. As my daughter would say, “Duh, Dad!” Why hadn’t I thought of it sooner?

So, over Memorial Day weekend I set aside the woodworking and tore into that wall. It’s fun to do some wall framing and electrical work now and again. This kind of remodeling provides some quick gratification…it’s not delicate work, the finishing is minimal and you get a big result fast.

Wouldn’t you know it, those couple days were in the 80s and humid. No sooner was the AC in place, then the temperatures dropped into the 70s. Oh well. When July turns up the heat, I’ll be ready for it.

How about you? Are there any shop improvements that you’ve been putting off too? This summer might be the perfect time to blow the dust off of that ignored project and make your workspace more pleasant to work in. I’d like to hear what you’ve got planned for your shop this summer! Leave a comment and tell us about it. If there’s a hurdle that’s standing in your way, maybe our blog followers can offer some advice.

Catch you in the shop,

Chris Marshall, Field Editor

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