Whether we are professionals or amateurs, many of us work in tight quarters—basements, garages, sheds, and rented spaces the size of a storage unit. While a small shop is never going to be the most efficient space, it can offer several benefits that we shouldn’t take for granted. If we are working at home, the rent is non-existent, and the commute is a breeze. Lower overhead can give us flexibility in our hours, and there is less need to take on projects that we don’t really want to do.
Conversely, in a small shop, one is always moving stuff around just to get o what you want to work on. It’s not efficient, but it is cost-effective. With that in mind, let’s look at how we can make our little shops easier to work in, more pleasant to be in, and more readily equipped to do the things we need them to do. There are three major factors that we need to keep in mind to make all this happen: mobility, versatility, and density.
LET’S ROLL First things first: let’s reinvent the wheel, or at least revisit it. More specifically, the locking swivel caster. These are the single biggest improvements that you can add to a small shop. Put everything on a dolly and don’t scrimp on the quality of the wheels. They need to hold the weight, roll smoothly, and lock in place when you get where you want to be. For some tools, buying a commercial dolly is the best way to get what you need, especially for heavy machinery such as a table saw with an extension t