Not so long ago, I sent an SOS, looking for a garage/workshop where I could finally work on my vehicles...
I got a handful of answers back (many thanks to all of you, you know who you are!), but nothing really matched : either small and expensive, or way too far from my place...
So, well... I lowered my expectations, trying to cope with what I have, till the day I'll probably leave the Riviera to go somewhere you don't have to sell your organs to buy a square meter of garage (I do love my region, but boy-oh-boy, it has just turned ridiculous on that aspect).
Additionally, I must say that watching Fabbe restoring his Oval-window in a shoe-box sized garage (full respect, Boss!), helped my putting things in perspective...
In conclusion, I've decided to renovate my current garage, in which I've been working for 15 years now... New paint, optimisation, cleaning, selling/giving/throwing away uneeded stuff, new tools, invasion of a part of my father's garage to store parts... I'll show you as well what I came up with last winter, to work at home comfy.
Anyway, the situation is far from ideal, but it gives me back some motivation, I really couldn't keep going that way.
So, here you are : a brand new section "workshop" begins on ShamWerks : Welcome to the Garage!
Sorry! This article has not yet been translated in english! Please come back later!
Pour démarrer le dossier "atelier", voila quelques photos du petit dernier...
Je cherchais depuis longtemps un tour à métaux, mais d'une part ce sont des machines très recherchées (les prix s'envolent), et d'autre part si l'offre est généreuse dans le nord du pays (passé industriel oblige), c'est loin d'être le cas ici, dans le Sud-Est. Et comme on parle de machines qui pèsent lourd, la distance est un paramètre important.
Après des mois de surveillance des petites annonces, je finis par trouver mon bonheur sur eBay : un tour Crouzet-Valence VM125, du milieu des années 50!
Et vous voulez savoir le meilleur? Le vendeur se trouvait à 10 minutes de chez moi, et il me l'a gentiment livré (merci encore Fabien) avec sa remorque tractée par sa Jeep 1944 (!)... Le tout pour 200€!
Hauteur de pointe 125mm (donc diamètre sur banc 250mm) : ça limite un peu son spectre d'utilisation, adieu tambours et volants moteurs. Entre pointes 400mm, pas assez pour un arbre d'hélice, mais largement suffisant pour mes besoins. Possibilité de fileter et charioter grâce à un entrainement par vis-mère (d'où le nom "VM") et une boite Norton ; avec même un système d'arrêt automatique, bien pratique pour les filetages qui doivent s’arrêter net. À voir à l'usage.
Un beau bébé qui approche quand même les 400kg sur la balance (merci les potes pour décharger), mais avec un encombrement limité à 120x50cm au sol : le petit tour dont je rêvais depuis des années!
Aaaaaaaaah, si je l'avais eu pour fabriquer mon sous marin...
Donc voilà la bête. Beaucoup de nettoyage à prévoir, pour le moment que des bonnes surprises sous les couches de graisse, il est en globalement très bon état (les rails du banc ont souffert de la corrosion, mais rien d'irrémédiable).
Je n'ai pas encore tenté de le faire tourner, il me faut un variateur 380V pour ça... A suivre bientôt!
I'm tinkering around this garage for more than 15 years now...
The bare concrete floor is greasy due to the oil and braking fluid spilled all those years ; since the concrete absorbs the fluids, it un-cleanable. The floor and block walls produce fine dust, the shelves on the walls are about to collapse, lighting is way insufficient, electrical installation is disaster waiting to happen...
Anyway, if I want to be able to work here in good conditions, it's high time I give it a complete overhaul.
As would Murtaugh say in Lethal weapon : "I'm too old for this shit".
Surface of the garage is a bit above average : 17m2 (183 sq. ft.)
Same level as the street, no ramp : good thing for the dropped KG and the Albatross' trailer.
Natural light source at the back of the garage : as the garage is located right below the parking, large windows at the back bring some sunlight down there, as well as some additional room to store stuff.
Electricity is available.
5 minutes walking from my place.
Basement level (underground), below a residential building : that's a limitation for noise, and spray paint/kärcher use are just a no-no ...
The bitumen of the building's parking is right above my garage's roof : in mid-summer, it turns into a natural oven!
Neighbors : a bunch of old people live in this building, and have organised a sort of militia in the basement, taking turns... As soon as I make some noise or dust, they're on my back. I hope someday I'll have a place without any neighbors...
No water inlet/outlet.
Walls made of 5cm (2 inches) blocks ; it's difficult to fix anything really sturdy (I'm thinking shelves).
OK, that's far from the perfect place, but hey... It's not like I have the choice.
The project : Solutions / optimisation of room :
As usual, Sketchup is my best friend here to organize/layout everything.
White paint on walls and roof : more light and less dust.
Lightgray paint on the floor : easy to clean, no more concrete dust. But painting on that oily surface will be tough...
One long shelf on each side, almost as long as the garage itself, with many angle brackets. The shelves being more than 185cm high, I can easily walk below.
A 5 shelves rack near the entrance. I'll buy it from Castorama (your "Home Depot") : see here. 90x40cm, height 180cm, heavy duty (supposed to handle 80kg per shelf - I doubt it though).
Home made workbench, wooden structure. Since the floor is far from being flat, I'll handle the variations. Four drawers below the countertop (actually, wooden crates 40x60x15cm from Castorama as well see here).
The air compressor will be hidden below the workbench. Not an ideal situation for tis ventilation, but I'll be able to take it out if it has to run permanently. Winding drum for the compressed air hose right above the compressor.
Brand new electric circuit matching safety standards, with proper circuits breakers, 2 electric outlets near the workbench, another one close to the door.
Four 1.20m fluorescent lights on the roof, plus three 150w halogen lights above the workbench.
That's it, that's the project right now... Gotta get my hands dirty now!
OK, first thing, if you've never tried before, painting concrete blocks is Hell on Earth. Specially after 50 years of dust encrusted in...
I've painted the walls using a paint which actually is a primer... But it's way white enough for a garage. Plus, it was on a special offer.
So, white acrylic paint Jullien "Multifond 2" it will be.
I sprayed the first coat using an HVLP gun, diluting by 50% (that's border-line for the cohesion of the paint, be it works). The spray-gun is quite handy for the first coat, it gets the paint in every hole/asperity of the blocks, it blows away the dust (still remains lots of it even I thoroughly brushed the wall before - wear a dust mask!) and removes the small loose grit from the surface (these gravels would f*ck up your paint roller in 2 sec. if your try it directly...).
The second coat is applied with a paint roller end blocks the concrete from sucking in more paint. Finally, a third coat to make it shiny white, with the roller loaded to the max with paint (almost like a plaster coating!).
Eventually, 2 and a half 10L paint container will be necessary to cover the surface of 45m² (484 sq ft : walls + ceiling), while each paint pot was supposed to cover 96m² (1033 sq ft)! Didn't I tell you concrete blocks suck paint? (...and suck at painting!)
It's long, very long to paint that bloody thing if you want a bright, pristine white result...
Act 2 : floor...
My floor was covered with greasy/oily dirt (see previous article), and I decided to clean it using a concrete grinder. The idea behind this is to remove the top 1mm from the concrete surface to get rid of any oil stuck in... I've rented the machine at "Loxam" (picture below).
To be perfectly honest, it was probably not the best solution. You can not imagine the amount of dust that beast will generate : after less than a minute of use, I couldn't see past my elbows! I couldn't even see my hands! Plus, that very fine dust goes everywhere, including the whole building basement and my neighbours garages... Hence heavy complains from them, it was Armageddon!
And, I discovered that the floor of my garage wasn't perfectly flat, and the grinder can not get into these shallow areas... At the end of the day, I managed to clean 90% of the whole surface. Fair enough, but I'm still unsure it was worth the hassle.
After that, treatment was :
Acid cleaning ("Shampooing sol ciment/béton V33"), using a floor-cloth.
Rinsing with floor-cloth too (twice).
One coat of special primer : "primaire d'adhérence spécial ciment/béton V33".
Finally, two coats of V33 floor paint : "peinture sol V33 trafic extrême gris clair U133/A".
And here is the result :
Act 3 : electricity...
I am not an electrician, but I believe I managed not too bad...
4 fluorescent lights on the ceiling, 3 halogens above the workbench, the whole circuit wired with rigid 2.5mm² wire in PVC conduits (with helluvalotta bends and "T"'s!), 3 outlets, 2 switches, and a real electric cabinet with circuit breakers to make it safe.
Phew! Voilà the current status : that's day and night compared to what it was before! Bright, clean, with plenty of storage space. Still looks a bit messy on the pictures, I didn't have the opportunity to organize everything!
Compared to the original Sketchup plan (see previous article), I've moved the tools panel to the side wall : it's more practical, access is easier this way than if it was above the workbench as originally planned.
Last major step in the process of renovating my garage : create a proper workbench.
The specifications were simple : sturdy enough so I can hammer on it, or put a couple of complete engines on it; higher than standard benches since I'm tall and the usual benches just kill my back; precisely adjusted to the space available in the garage (I ain't got much space, so I can't afford to lose any); and obviously... As cheap as possible.
So, this has to be DIY, tailor-made... Moreover, the floor isn't perfectly flat, so every single foot rest of my workbench has a different length...
I've started with the two left and right end stands (made of of 62x75mm lumber), in order to have a proper level reference ; both are carefully aligned using this tool (basically a long piece of plastic tubing), works perfectly, and very accurate even with the long distance .
Once both of these stands are fixed into the walls, I could, using a long aluminium rule (actually, it was two 2 meter rules clamped together) in order to measure the exact length of each stand. Well, have a look at the pictures, you'll understand what I mean.
Stands are assembled using dowels and wood glue. I glue everything up clamping the whole assembly against a spare chipboard : pressing the assembly is done using a ratchet strap, while clamps make sure everything remains square and in the same plan.
The drawers are just wood boxes I found at Castorama (our french version of Home Depot, see these boxes here). Once you've removed the small wooden strip on their bottom (used to line'em up when you stack'em up), they slide perfectly on the bottom board (melamine chipboard 19mm).
On top of it all, a 58mm thick (maximum I could find) melamine chipboard kitchen countertop, and here you go!
I'd prefer a proper counter top made of an assembly of lerge lumber pieces, planed all together... But I don't have the room, nor the time, to go into such a project. That'll wait till I have a real workshop!
I've modified the lights above the workbench, compared to the original plan : the halogen lights tended to dazzle more than actually light up the bench. Plus, they would have been in the way if I want to store lrge stuff above (and since I have a project for that...).
The 4 bottom metal cases I found in the trash bin (seriously, there were 50 of them, brand new!), and luckily they just fit below the drawers. Below the vice, you can see the VW engine support, fixed on the side of the wooden stand.
Phew, good thing it's done, I started to have enough with that renovation!
I know, my garage looks more like a lab now, it's quite far from what it looked like in the beginning (Click here the "workbench" before : ), but I like to work in a clean, well ordered environment. Yeah, probably some OCD as well, hmm. And now finally I'll be able to work on some real projects...