Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Lights for the Shop!

OK, I have been busy and not tending to my blogging.  Sorry ‘bout that.  I’ll try to do better.

One of the reasons for the time period between posting is that I have started to do a few things to update and streamline my shop in anticipation of reducing the time I'm spending "workin’ for a livin’ ".  I plan to drop back to only 3 or 4 days a week during the next calendar year to leave more time for workin’ in the shop.

The first improvement was to update the lighting that I installed about 14 years ago.    Apparently, on those rare occasions when the previous owner ventured downstairs to actually do something he must not have need much in the way of lighting because the entire 24’x30’ basement was lit (not counting the light at the bottom of the stairs) with just two, count ‘em, two light bulbs: A 60-watt over the laundry tubs and a second one over the workbench.  This would be “techno genius” had installed -- well, let’s call it “a remote lighting control system” -- so that he could turn on either of the two lights “remotely” from the bottom of the stairs.  He had carefully fished extended pull cords for both lights through a number of strategically positioned screw eyes so that they were accessible from the bottom of the stairs.  My! what a clever Gent! (?).

As you can imagine I didn’t retain his…er…uh…”system” for long after we moved in.  I splurged on four double 4’ fluorescent fixtures and added two new circuits to control them.  That was a big improvement but as time went by, the sawdust accumulated and the bulbs aged -- to say nothing of my eyes – I started to think that I needed to update the lighting again.

A couple of weeks ago I invested in four new fixtures each with FOUR bulbs.  And this time they were “Cool White not the overly dim “Warm White”.  Wow! What a difference!  It is so much easier to see now.  Short of installing a skylight, this is as close to daylight as my shop will ever see.

I did discover a bad ballast in the second  fixture...after installing...of course.  So I had to take that one down again and schlep it back to Home Depot for a replacement.  You can bet that I checked out the remaining fixtures on the floor using a “suicide cord” before going to the trouble of lifting them into place and wiring them in.  They all work now.  Nice!

Unfortunately, though, the improved lighting also makes much easier to see how dirty, rundown and out of date everything has gotten.  So I will be spending time over the next few months trying to update the work surfaces and storage so I can take full advantage of my nifty new lighting.  I have some ideas (some original, others, not so much) for improved tool and supply storage that I hope to highlight here over the next few weeks and months.

I also have a couple of spoons (read: “Christmas presents”) to post.  I’ll do that as soon as they are delivered…you can’t give away any secrets at this time of year.

So until I have more that I can post, have a wonderful Holiday Season and…Keep makin’ chips!

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