So by way of a confession of sorts…
I consider myself a moderately skilled assembler and occasional builder of RC airplanes. I know a couple guys who are true craftsmen. Guys who build scale aircraft that the Smithsonian would be proud to display… I’m NOT that guy. However, I strive to build a safe to fly, low maintenance flying machine and for the most part the results seem to have few “avoidable” issues. I enjoy working on my aircraft in the shop (usually) and when we moved a few months back, one of the primary considerations was shop space available OR a lower price space to build an appropriate shop if none was part of the package. This eliminated a bunch of homes that just didn’t have anything appropriate. The final purchase was a bit of a compromise (what isn’t) but I am now working in approximately 350sq feet of 2nd floor/converted attic space inside the house.
I had to forego most of the power tools and carrying larger craft up and down the stairs can be a challenge but not having to go outside to reach the shop is pleasant and walking the stairs is good exercise, right! In the center of this space is my 12′ conference table re-purposed for RC work.
At this point, most folks proudly post their picture of the shop with beautifully laid out peg boards, immaculate clean tools, perfect lighting and a completely clean benchtop… well, honestly mine usually looks like this:
You can see the tail of the 50cc powered P-51 (it needs some engine mount tightening and is a recent donor of a receiver to the Extreme Flight 74″ Laser project which is currently underway). Most of the rest is part of the Laser project or some random stuff I needed or used in the last week or two on other projects that have come and gone.
See, I am of the opinion that a clean workbench is one in need of a project… or five and any open space is good place to start another one!
Realistically I came up to the shop the other night and saw this and snapped the pic… It really is pretty representative of day to day life in my shop. I immediately started to picking up and putting away some of the tools etc… My usual breaking point is typically when I come to the shop and realize that I have some of my more recent projects literally piled on top of earlier projects. At that point I know I need to clean up a bit and will put away a majority of the tools, do a little cleaning where needed and get at least some open tabletop space cleared so I can start a new project! I don’t really try to have all the space cleaned up at any one time. It’s more of a rotation system.
I rarely work on only one project from start to finish without interrupting that project to work on several others. When one gets close to completion I usually get enthused and buckle down and finish it up depending on my enthusiasm level for it by that point. Besides, several of my flying buddies are frequent visitors to the shop, typically with their latest RC airplane that needs some TLC and those “quick fixes” will of necessity preempt whatever longer term project I have going.
So there you have it. This is my reality. Ain’t it great!?