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Organize workshop
Oct 08, 2004

Think of the tasks that you perform most often when organizing your workshop. Arrange your tools so that they are out of the way but easy to reach. A pegboard offers handy, easily arranged storage. For better protection of tools, a hanging cabinet with locking doors prevents unauthorized use. 

The heart of the shop is the workbench.  A free-standing bench is the best option because it is accessible from every side and provides stability. Allow sufficient room to move the bench around easily and to accommodate large projects bristling with clamps. If space is limited, a sturdy drop-leaf bench or a commercially made bench is enough for many projects. 

For general lighting, overhead fluorescent tubes are inexpensive and provide steady, even illumination. For task lighting, drop lights or shaded clamp-on lights are portable and help dissipate shadows. 

Because of the danger inherent in all tools, observe the rule, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Develop the habit of putting tools down where they will be out of the way when they’re not in immediate use. Store them safely when they are no longer needed. 

Stationary tools should be surrounded by enough space so that the work can be manoeuvred freely and nearby objects don’t obstruct them or fall on the tools.  Each tool should be plugged into an appropriate circuit.  Standard outlets can be replaced with outlets with built-in fuses to protect power tools from overload. 

Provide dust control for all power tools. Be sure your shop is properly cleaned and ventilated. A wet-dry vacuum can be used to collect dust and cool filings. 

When a shop is filled with sharp, heavy, loud, powerful, hot and flammable objects, proper safety precautions are essential. All tools are safer and more efficient when they are well maintained. 

Use power tools with caution.  Be sure that cords and outlets are properly grounded and that outlets have ground-fault circuit interrupters. Never use power tools in damp conditions or leaving them running unattended. 

Keep tools unplugged when not in use. Unplug them before making any adjustments or changing blades or bits.  Use push sticks to guide material past blades and other moving parts. Always have safety guards in place. Keep a fire extinguisher and a first-aid kit within reach and in plain sight.