Saturday, October 8, 2011

Face Lift!

At the beginning of this year, I got a hold of a nice tall work bench to use as the centerpiece in my gun maintenance and reloading corner.  It is a section in my basement where an oil tank used to live.  Since getting rid of my old oil burning furnace and tank, the area in this section of the basement opened up quite a bit.  After careful consideration and a few "conversations" with my wife (more like "may I pretty please?"), I got the area cleaned up and ready to turn into a work station that I could use year-round.  This is a good thing because my garage gets terribly cold in the winter, and unbearably hot in the summer.  The basement remains about 65" year round.

The only problem was that I initially set it up all wrong.  I had this old wooden entertainment center down in the basement, and wanted to re-purpose it for storing my gun-related stuff.  Plus, a couple of the spaces are perfectly sized for storing plastic bins with which to keep fired brass for my future reloading venture.  I put the entertainment center in the corner with the work bench 90 degrees to it.  At first, it was okay, but it soon became apparent that I was going to hate the arrangement.  To keep the entire shelf available, I had to locate it approximately 20" away from the corner, creating a big wasted hole, and it drove me nuts.  Plus, I soon hated having all my junk just nagging at me from my left.  Plus, there is a large air duct that I was constantly hitting my head on; at first, I didn't think it would be an issue.  Lesson learned.  Things need to change drastically.

I was not happy with having to constantly turn around to get to my tools, located behind me and to my left.  The entertainment center, now converted gun crap storage, bothered me, the pipe sucked, and the whole thing just felt claustrophobic.  Now, I'm not really one to worry about such things.  I work in confined spaces all the time.  The only difference is I get paid to crawl into spaces that are clearly not intended for humans to be in - at all.  The reloading corner was supposed to be a place to relax and get away from it all.  Hunkered in the bunker, I was supposed to be able to beat the heat during summer because the basement remains cool all year long and get away from my wife's insatiable appetite for excessive heater use during the winter because it stays cooler than upstairs in the winter.  Alas, I needed a better option.  My solution came to me last Saturday when I decided to change things up a bit.

For starters, I got the entertainment center out of the way.  Now, it lives further to the left of my work bench, which was relocated to the wall that the entertainment was living at.  I also moved the tool chest to the corner to utilize that otherwise wasted space, and create a better flow for tool access.  While I was at it, I added more daylight style lighting via 6500K heat shop lights and painted the wall behind the work bench white so the lights could work better.  Now, feeling overwhelmed with so much white, I added a little color and flair with my Spencer's Gifts "Do not feed the zombies" artwork mounted in a Wal Mart poster frame. 

As you can see in the picture to your left, I still have some more work to do.  For starters, I need to complete the paint job on the wall and perhaps pull everything away to add a final coat.  The blue Sterilite containers will be replaced with a shelf that comes up to about the level of the window above them so I can keep the work space clear of things I'm not using (like the rifle cleaning rest you see hogging up a bunch of real estate).  The floor will remain the same, but will have anti-fatigue mats where I stand, and perhaps a tall enough stool so I don't have to stand all the time while working.  That Ikea chair isn't high enough to allow me to work at the bench.  Plus, a radio of some kind might help out too.  I need to run some wires with junction boxes and a couple of light switches to tie it all in together as well.  The nice thing about that is that the extra circuit used with allow me to rewire the lighting in the entire basement, as it is only one large room.  A few more pieces of art hanging on the white walls won't hurt either (and believe me, I've got a lot of cool stuff to hang up). 

Overall, I like this arrangement much better.  The entire space opened up and I'm utilizing another otherwise useless space behind my furnace, which you can't see in the pictures.  I intend to get a metal cabinet which to store powder and stuff safely.  Since the furnace is a new model, and totally contained, it is safe.  I also have to get a carbon monoxide detector to mount in this space since it is now totally usable.  I've been spending a great deal of time down here now that I feel like I have a much bigger space.  My wife likes it too because it is streamlined and not so busy.

Anyhow, as I've said, I still have some work to do, but this is a lot of good progress in a short time.

-James

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