The Workshop Report

Workshop - Overview
(The new workshop, during construction. So far, so good!)

My current project – learning to brass-bash while re-working a USRA light Mikado into CNR 2-8-2 3737 – is also the first real test of the new workshop that I assembled in my basement last year. And I’m really pleased with the results. I’m doing a lot of the “homework” for the 2-8-2 project in the shop and it’s working out well for me. Tools are easy to hand, and the workbench is roomy and stable. The counters behind the workbench are filled with tools and materials – but that’s the point: moving the clutter to the counters means the working surface itself stays clear.

I’m also enjoying my Flex-Shaft Tool – a piece of equipment I picked up a couple of years ago, but have not used much since then. I’ve used it several times on the 2-8-2 project and I like how it works. It’s powerful, quiet, comfortable in the hand, and the foot treadle makes it easy to adjust the speed without taking one’s hands off the work.

I have lucked out: my Sherline Mill came with a set of safety glasses that are quite broad – and they fit beautifully over my reading glasses. So I can see well for close-up work.

I have been working with a task light fitted with an LED bulb, and that works well, too – although at some point I should mount my Fillex lights on the light bars I built. That’s why the light bars are there, after all. I’ve just been too busy soldering brass and burning my fingers to haul the lights out of their storage case and set them up.

Finally, I need to find a suitable chair – something that’s height-adjustable and comfortable for long sessions at the bench. I have ideas on that…

14 thoughts on “The Workshop Report

  1. Workshop is looking great. Was wondering how much use you get out of your Kapex in terms of model railroading?


    • Hi Gregg:
      Well, it sure came in handy when I built the workshop…
      I purchased the Kapex* relatively recently – after I’d done benchwork for my layout. I’m certain that when I build my next layout it will get a lot of use.
      Meantime, I’m using it mostly for other projects. And I love the Kapex every time I use it. It cuts incredibly cleanly, with no tear-out, so there’s no post-cutting clean-up to do. It’s stupidly accurate and a lot quieter than my last chop saw. The digital motor means no nasty kick at start up, and the saw automatically adjusts to the material to maintain a constant speed at the teeth. Brilliant.
      That said, if someone is looking for lifetime tools to build layouts, I’d start with a Festool cordless drill – like the C 18. I have a C 15 and it’s been fantastic for layout building and all manner of projects around the house.
      (*For those who don’t know, the Kapex is the Festool compound mitre saw.)

  2. I was thinking last night that maybe you could give us a tour of the cabinets ( with pictures of course ) on how you used the drawers and doors for storage. Everyone has their own idea of setting things up…and I would like to see how you arranged everything.


    • Interesting idea, Michael. I’ll consider that once I have everything set up. Right now, tools and materials are simply stuffed into drawers. I need to make up organizers. I have ideas – just haven’t gotten around to it.

  3. Awesome work bench Trevor. I really like it. Using tops of dressers under my layout to work on and bigger projects are done at the kitchen table.

    • Hi Austin:
      I too do a lot of model-building at the kitchen table. Even with a great workshop just a few feet below me…

  4. Hello Trevor….
    I check in once in a while to your site to see how you are doing…IMO you are one of our premiere modellers;
    My CASO is progressing quite nicely….however retirement allows me the freedom to sit on my ass instead of getting busy on projects. My problem is one of getting motivated enough to begin doing things…as I no longer have to answer to a work schedule to pay the bills…but once I get up and start, I’m off to the races…you should come up for a visit sometime if you can find the time….you would be most welcome.
    Eric Roth…Hall’s Lake, Ontario.

    • Thanks Eric – and great to hear from you!
      I find the blog motivates me to get things done. Once I’ve started a project and shared it, I know there are others waiting to see some progress.
      In addition, getting new information about my prototype – often via the blog – is very inspirational.
      It doesn’t work for everyone, but it does work for me.

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