Shop talk

Apr 27, 2020


I had a minor medical procedure a few weeks ago that put me out of commission for a few days. Recuperation took more than a week of not being able to use my right hand. Somehow when you can’t do something, that’s the very thing that you want to do! I have several projects languishing in the garage. Since I wasn’t physically able to do much, it seemed like the perfect time to at least think about them.

If you can’t work in your own shop, the next best thing is to watch someone else who can, so I turned on the TV. Cable television is full of shows where a team of talented mechanics tackle the restoration of a classic car in only a few days. In spite of a looming, unrealistic deadline, they are always able to complete a beautiful resurrection just in time. The shops where the work is done on these programs are amazing! Every tool is organized, and the spaces are almost spotless. The term “man cave” is popular right now, but the idea isn’t a new concept — we just called it our “shop,” “garage,” or “workroom.” Regardless of the name, I’m not sure how much work gets done in these places, and most seem to be spaces where buddies can hang together and watch sports or partake in other “manly” activities.

As I considered the cable shows with their unrealistic shops and the new “man cave” term, my thoughts began to turn to this column. I asked myself: “What is the difference between a man cave and a bonafide working shop?” and “Can the two be the same?”

I’ve visited lots of farm shops during my travels, and I’ve seen both cluttered and clean ones. Some are precisely organized, and others are in perpetual disarray. Some are Spartan spaces, purely functional with no bling, while others are sparkling showcases for collections or hobbies like antique tractors or classic cars. Regardless, I always found each of them interesting. And this led me to another question: “Can a hobby room and a real working shop share the same space?”

I’m thinking your answers to these questions would make a great future Cooperator story, so we need your input. Send us a photo or two of your own shop. Whether it’s a gleaming showcase or a cluttered mess — a hobby space, a workshop, or a little of both. If it works for you, we would like to see it. Also, we’d like for you to share any workshop hacks or tips you have for tool storage or adaptations for making shop tasks easier. Farmers tend to be resourceful and talented individuals, and I would bet there are some great ideas out there.

Entries should be received by May 11. We will have a committee judge the submissions, and the best ones will be featured in an upcoming story. Our favorite will also receive a $50 Co-op gift certificate.
 
 

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