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I Forge Iron

Clean shop or not.

How clean is your shop?  

102 members have voted

  1. 1. How clean is your shop?

    • You can eat off the floor
    • Clean and Organized.
    • slightly dirty but still organized
    • sloppy
    • take half an hour to find my anvil

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I like to sweep up and place tools back when Im done,I think i got in the habit with the small shop,it just made starting the next time easier.Also its a good time to be looking for hot spots,another habit I got into with the small shed.

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Right now I'm moving my shop stuff into our garage, so it's not as organized as I'd like it to be. Also I'm installing more storage-related stuff (shelves, hooks, etc) than I had before. Right now it's not so much a mess as it is very tightly packed, I hope that having shelves will help me out in that department.

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Jr: I think we could probably paraphrase the Jeff Foxworthy lines that made him famous....

If you've ever -- [fill in the blank] -- you might be a blacksmith.

If you've ever lost your anvil and the stump it was on -- and tried to locate it by calling out its name -- you might be a blacksmith.

If you've ever burned your woodwhacker buddy's hunk of flawless Koa wood as fuel for forge-welding -- you might be a blacksmith.

If you've ever burned a 1/2" hole in your forearm and didn't notice till the smoke from your flaming shirt blinded you -- you might be a blacksmith.

And so on.

Oops. Dan, sorry for hijacking this perfectly good thread. My shop is in... er... flux... so to speak. I'll get back to work now...


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Well I can find both of my anvils,and the swage block, and the power hammer... So it is not a complete disaster, but... The welding table is covered with scrap. The graded scrap is pouring out into the room from underneath the welding table, and the graded tool steel buckets block the end of the power hammer tool rest. Various welding projects hang from the joists and clutter the floor. I know a few guys who have packed more tools and scrap into this size space, but not many:-) I have out grown this space even before I have it finished:-( Not surprising really:-) I picked up another postvice for 20$ needs work but is a fairly heavy one:-) I ry to keep it clean but extra things keep accumulating in there and it makes it hard to climb into the shop:-)

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On a GOOD day I can sometimes see the floor in my shop. :wink:

Now in addition to the usual pandemoneum, I have five pieces of lawn furniture I am refinishing for a neighbor.

Once I searched forever, moving everything in the shop for a piece of material, then made the kids go search- 20 minutes later I went back down and it was right in the center of the bench. :oops:

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It is scary but I can loose tools in a clean shop, once things get shall we say, just a little bit busier, the situation gets almost comical. I will be ready to pull a hot piece out of the fire and won't be able to find the tools I was intending on using. I have a young girl who is learning to blacksmith with me and I will start looking for the errant tongs, hammer, file... whatever, she will give a nervous laugh, and look around too. Of all the things I have lost I miss my memory the most:-)

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My shop is realitively clean .Its not too much of an effort to keep it that way. If I dont let it get in to bad of shape.
I do paint everything before I put it into service . It doesnt make it perform any better but it sure improves the appearance of the overall shop.
I put a pick-up truck load of rock dust on the floor and it only cost 10 dollars for all you care to put on your truck, again its function is no better than the original dirt floor but it greatly improved the overall apperance.
You can see a few photos of my shop at the .net site under gallerys.
My color scheme is flat black and battleship grey.
Grey porch and floor paint in oil base enamel holds up very well and will take a surprising amount of heat.
I do have a junk pile that will rival most others , I just try to not let in find its way into the shop.
I think it is worth the effort as I allways get compliments on how good the shop looks and its just one small way to set yourself apart from the rest.
Another advantage to a clean organized shop is the saftey aspect for not only you but customers and other visitors as well.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

I keep my shop as clean as possible. Used to work for a guy that ensured the floor was spotless every morning, coal and slack pails filled, and fires going. Fred Holder from the Blacksmith's Gazette happened by the shop once when we were out and later wrote that the shop probably never gets used.

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  • 6 months later...

I thought after last nights blueprint session I'd revive this and see who hasn't been to confession for awhile. :lol: The work area in my shop is approx. 20x22 and is kept fairly clean and organized. It seems at this stage I am making tools and adding new things each day though. I spend alot of time rearranging, trying to find what works best for a slow moving fat man. :wink: The rest of the building is every man for himself.


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My shop is considered dangerous by others, to me it fits just right. Its down right sloppy. There are WAY too many tools. A big woodstove, two power hammers, two main anvils on stumps, a swage block on another stump, three forges, hundred tongs, thousands of wrenches and other hand tools, a lathe, a mill, two drill press, powerhacksaw, metal bandsaw, wood bandsaw, a couple of presses, shoot there is too much to list.

And all that xxxx iron just everywhere. An entire hardware store of nuts and bolts in a hundred different sizes. Piles and piles of scrap. Extra parts for sculptures and other forged works. Don't make no sense to make 1 of something, if I'm gonna fire up the forge I might as well make 20 of them. Definitely gonna need them sometime, some gallery or shop or show will need them. And our productivity is increasing exponentially, even in the junky shop.

My metal shop teacher would be having a fit. Firstly 'cause of the mess, secondly 'cause he couldn't see how I could make that much stuff in that much mess. My father and grandfather also had different ideas about shop cleanliness, but they had other jobs too. Not me. My shop is the living.

Everything that I love is right there, tightly packed around me when I'm working. I put it there, whats it need to be organized for?

Can't sweep the gravel floor. I rake it twice a year. I hate standing on concrete all day anyway , just got two small concrete pads, one under the welding table in case I gotta back a tractor or crane or boom in to unload and reposition something. The other is under one of the power hammers. More of a foundation really. Can't sweep either of them anyhow, I hose the one down once in a while to get all the little beads of metal off, the other has the hammer and its assorted tools and stuff piled on it.

I make it safe for others to walk in during our twice annual studio tour. Hundreds of people walking around and all that. Don't make no sense to trip and kill the customers. I don't worry about close friends or other artists working here. They can take care of themselves.

But twice a year is the only cleaning it really gets.

And I do know where everything is. My brain is organized so the shop doesn't have to be.

Mod 01: edited for content

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  • 5 years later...

I'm sure other people would tell you my shop is pretty messy.

And it is, ..... but as long as I can find what I want, when I want it, ... then the shop is still functional, ... and the dirt is just a "cosmetic" thing. :P

I am pretty adamant about putting tools back in their assigned place, .... and have little patience for "treasure hunts" when I need a tool.
( Hear that, Dad ? )

( My Dad is 79, and still very active, ... but he "forgets" to return things to their assigned place.

If this seems like a typical result of aging, you need to know that he's been that way for as long as I can remember. :rolleyes: )



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My shop is currently a mud pit that used to be the end of the driveway...but that really isn't my fault, the extra dirt from the foundation work went there.

My 3 small workbenches in the garage are full of stuff...My blacksmithing tools are sorted into their own sizable toolbox, and most of my hand tools are accounted for (missing 4 sockets) but I know about the hand tools because I was gifted some organizer rails for sockets (nice Kobalt ones in red and blue, for 1/4 and 3/8 drive) Hopefully I can keep my hand tools organized better going forward.

I have been working at organizing, then I get something new (or otherwise) and it gets thrown on top and I need to start over... Next summer my wheeled work bench is going because it is more of a pain than it is worth. I will arrange for something else to hold and move my post vise. Maybe a second mounting is in order on a regular wooden post outside... I have nice shelves in the garage, but I can't get at half of them because of this workbench on wheels (ironic, huh)


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