Dominos Strategy

Playing the long game with our yard, is like playing with dominos as a kid. I’m not talking about playing the actual game, but rather stacking them all up and then knocking them over and watching the pattern it makes. Our plans for our yard has been the stacking and knocking over of dominos. Certain things have to happen in a somewhat specific order for everything to work out. Clear junipers, dig terraces, build walls, plant gardens, cement paths, build gazebo, etc, etc, etc. We are almost at the end, where everything has fallen and we have been left dazzled by the awesome pattern that we created. But we have a few more steps to go, and so far, we have been shuffling some of those steps to further back in the game and pattern.

One of those dominos, or projects is replacing our tiny tin shed with a larger permanent shed that will house not only some better storage for our camping gear, gardening gear, yard tools and bikes, but also a little chicken coop. Due to some other large projects that became more of a priority, we have put off the shed for the last few years. First, it was because our deck desperately needed to be re-covered. Then this year, we have put it off because we built the other two fences to close in our yard and provide more privacy. Both projects were in our plans, but the shuffle had to happen due to circumstances out of our control. I now want to make that shed a priority….mostly for selfish reasons!

This time of year, I have to condense my area in the shop for building as the fishing boat goes in for the summer. Luckily the boat doesn’t take up the whole space, and I still have a somewhat decent area for building, but as I get more tools and expand my skills, I am going to need more room. All the stuff that we plan to put into the shed eventually, also ends up in the shop, further decreasing my available space. Selfish, I know. All of it is stuff I plan to use, but I really love building, and spending time in my shop and during the winter months I am spoiled with the whole space. So come spring, it is always hard to start wrapping my head around how I am going to make the space useable when I have less of it to use.

See, we have patterns within patterns. A large domino will be building the shed and re-homing a bunch of our stuff to that space and get it out of the shop. But within the shop, I have another domino plan. Once the shed is built, I plan to make some major changes to the shop to better utilize the space. I have already started doing some of these things such as the wood rack I built a few years ago, but it is going to get really good once I have a shed. All the racks that we currently use for storage, will be moved to the shed, freeing up about 20′ of space along the one wall. I have plans to build some shelving there with roll-out drawers and areas to store some of my tools. I am completely stealing the idea from my dad, who just finished building some of these racks for his own shop this last winter. It is excellent, and I am extremely jealous of the space utilization, so I am eager to re-create it in my own shop. There are drawers for screws, nails, hand tools, etc. Then there are large pull-outs for some of his larger items. He also has open shelves that some of his tools sit in when they are not in use. They can be slid out and put onto his work bench when required.

Along with the shelves, I also plan on re-vamping our entire bench along the back wall. It is a hodgepodge of benches. There were 2 in place when we moved in, and I added a middle piece, but it is always used like that, 3 separate spaces. I need to come up with a better plan, where it is instead 1 large space. I plan to still have 2 sections to it, but in a way that when put together becomes a long bench. The reason for 2 sections, is that I want at least 1 portion of the bench to be able to roll out from the wall and be placed in the middle of the shop as needed. Flexibility in the shop setup will be key for me. To go along with that will be a section that I can put some of my larger tools, similar to how my dads works. He has a section that is cut out, where he can slide those tools that are stored on the open shelves into. Those “shelves” are actually a piece that fits into his workbench that the tool is secured to, making it easy to change out the tools. Now, not all tools are the same height with the base of the workbench, but he has an ingenious way to get around that. He has a motorcycle jack that he has adjusted so that he can raise and lower those tools to the height that works best with the top of his workbench. Perfect!

So, the boat is going in this weekend. Or at least it probably is. I have promised Kurt that I would work on getting the shop cleaned up and ready for it. In preparation, I have put a few more dominos into effect. My mitre saw has been living on a piece of plywood that sits on top of one of our camping tables. It is definitely not ideal, or for that matter safe. The table, though solid, is not meant for a saw. So, I recently built a proper stand that is on casters. I am using the deck of my table saw as the “standard height” that everything else will be built to. I can now use the deck of my table saw to place longer lengths of wood on as I cut them with my mitre saw. Perfect! No more little sawhorses that aren’t quite the right height. I also had space to build a shelf onto that stand, so I now have a good place to store some of my sanders, which used to clutter my workbench, allowing for more working space! I am just waiting on another order of casters, then I am going to build a stand for my planer as well. It currently lives on a little adjustable sawhorse/workbench sort of thing. Not ideal. Plus, it is very heavy, so I would prefer something that is on casters for easier moving. Again, it will be built so that the deck of the table saw can be used as needed. Eventually the workbench that I build, will also be the same height as the deck, at 34.5″. Ideally, I would have liked it a little higher, but my table saw is on a work stand and can’t be adjusted, so I am rolling with it.

Things have really progressed for us in the last year and a half, and now that we have such a huge momentum going, I am eager to keep pushing. At the same time, I don’t want our entire summer focussed on the yard and upgrades to our shop, so I have to gear down a little. Keep moving forward but not try and get it all done too fast so that we can still enjoy our summer. Kurt is good at making sure I am keeping a healthy balance of progress and fun.

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