The Joy of a Workshop

| 2/24/2009 2:09:40 PM

Alison Green 

It is a nasty sleety kind of winter day and I am sitting in my shop, tea in hand, just contemplating all things motorcycle. It has occurred to me just how fortunate I am to have a space called "shop" attached to the house. It hasn’t always been so. In the not-so-distant past there were at least 20 years of scrounging for winter motorcycle storage space, working on my bikes in driveways and leaving them outside from the beginning of the riding season until the last possible day in the fall. My bikes were always covered when not in use, but still outside. 

Ten years ago when we bought this house on 5 acres of rocky land, it had an attached single-car garage that was not much more than a shed. Dirt floor, uninsulated with two mingy windows, a thriving community of mice, and a tin one-piece garage door that didn’t close properly.  My husband decided that it would make an ideal workshop for his machine tools and it was miraculously transformed.  Cement floor, four lovely big casement windows, insulated and heated, with wide garden doors at the front.  My bikes were destined to live outside again the following winter except that I had a tantrum and space was allocated in ‘his’ shop for bikes during the cold months! Construction or purchase of a bike shed was considered. Then fortunes changed and we built a completely new structure to house both his day job and his shop tools and machines as well… and this wonderful bright space officially became home to my motorcycles. 

I have subsequently added a motorcycle work bench (ramp, no lift), and a laundry type sink with hot/cold water. Along the way I have accumulated a few pieces of low-tech shop furniture: shop vac, air compressor, bench top bead-blasting cabinet, small parts-washing bin with integral pump, and a real toolbox. A small bench-top grinding/buffing wheel completes the inventory. The drill press lives in the basement.  There is also considerable shelf space and two cupboards for keeping gear organized. My workbench is half of a salvaged drafting table and it is sturdy enough to make a good bomb shelter. At 3.5’x10’ with a decent vice on one end, it is a superb addition to the shop. I ask you, what more could a woman want? I am so lucky; both to have this wonderful place to indulge my hobby, and a partner who encourages me at every turn. He doesn’t claim to understand my passion for old motorcycles, but he encourages me, and that is what matters. Bottom line, we each have our own play-house (shop) area and that is a wonderful asset to marital harmony. Life is good. 

So now I can sit and enjoy the company of my bikes, - indoors in our own home. What a luxury this is. I’m certain that there is housework awaiting my attention, and it is almost time to get dinner started – but I will sit here for a while longer and just enjoy…    

Maybe a comfy chair would be a nice addition… and I need a better shop radio! -- Alison Green 

Todd Ethridge
3/12/2009 12:25:52 PM

I actually played hooky from work today to play with my bikes. While having a lunch break I discover Allison's writing. Excellent! I enjoyed reading your comments about workshops and touring. You made my day. Sadly, It still too cold to ride here in Detroit. Maybe I'll just check those tire pressures, again..... Thanks, Allison

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