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Workshop time

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Peter Simpson 126/12/2020 09:12:52
206 forum posts
9 photos

Who long do you spend in your workshop ? In the winter it is a god send for me as I spend a proportion of most days working on my loco. During the summer months I can go days if not weeks doing other activities,

It always amazes me how long it takes to make parts for the loco. I have just completed an eccentric rod. I machined the rod from solid 1" x 3/4" black mild steel it look very good when completed but took the best part of 4 days to complete. No wonder it takes 10 years to get a loco under steam. Seasonal greeting to one and all.

Ady126/12/2020 09:31:39
5063 forum posts
734 photos

As we munch prawn cocktail and trifle for breakfast on boxing day morning most people are stuck with the TV and the net on day one of the big UK lockdown

By day 7 at new year many will be climbing the walls

We're pretty lucky to have something both interesting and useful to do which can occupy our time

I've done stuff this year which normally would have taken a couple of years to finish... maybe it would never have been completed... some of it was already lying about "waiting" for me for far too long

I think the whole covid thing is silly but the time it has given me to do stuff is invaluable

I've only really missed the pub quiz...

JA26/12/2020 09:47:42
1342 forum posts
80 photos

I try to work in the workshop between 2pm and 5.30pm almost every day during lockdown/tier3. Usually this would be just four or five times a week. I leave earlier if the cold drives me out or there is a natural break in the work. If it is too cold there is other work I can do in the house.

Part of this question is how long does it take to do something. Setting up always takes a long time and is usually the same whatever the size of the part. For a small item this can take up most of the time.


Mike Hurley26/12/2020 09:51:14
305 forum posts
87 photos

Totally agree with both of the above. Usually busy with 100+ jobs and outings etc in the summer, but this time of year I think my time in the workshop is the only thing keeping me sane. We've only got terrestrial steam TV so none of the fancy streaming stuff, but it is unusually dire this year. So I think its back into the (slightly chilly) workshop for a few hours of mental stimulation (might have a small* sherry first though - well it is Christmas and its not over warm in there)

regards to all.

* Obviously VERY small, as I wouldn't want to suggest alcohol and machinery mix!

Edited By Mike Hurley on 26/12/2020 09:54:14

Peter G. Shaw26/12/2020 10:19:18
1408 forum posts
44 photos

I'd like to spend more time in the workshop, but at this time of the year it is far too cold for me, even with the aid of a 3kW fan heater and a 1 kW convector heater, plus equipment heaters on the lathe and the milling machine. The trouble is that using, eg, the vice, is like using a gigantic heatsink in that the the hands just get colder and colder whilst the metal doesn't get warmer.

Workshop time is therefore restricted to emergency stuff only, otherwise it's a case of summoning up enough interest to subscribe to Ancestry and Find My Past and do some more genealogical research.

Roll on warmer times.

Peter G. Shaw

p.s I live in the North West of England, not the North pole as the above might suggest.

Mick Henshall26/12/2020 11:45:22
561 forum posts
34 photos

Most days 2-3 hours in the forenoon and often an hour or so in evening while Mrs H is watching game shows

Cold don't bother me just wrap up well,none of my workshops ( 5) are heated


Bill Phinn26/12/2020 12:09:12
732 forum posts
103 photos

Caring for two parents with advanced dementia in their own home, I'm lucky if I get an hour a day.

Brian Baker 126/12/2020 12:36:37
194 forum posts
36 photos

Greetings, I am lucky in that my workshop is connected into the bungalow central heating system, and access is via the conservatory, so I am always warm, nit walks to the bottom of the garden in the rain for me to visit my sanctuary.

That said, I tend to spend shorter periods at each session, finding that my concentration lapses after about an hour, so 1hr to coffee, another 1.5 to lunch, 1hr to afternoon tea, another to evening tea, and an hour after tea, and that works for me.

Since Covid, I have made good progress on my current project, looking forward to wrapping it up by Easter, so there is some good in this nasty virus.



Ian B.26/12/2020 12:45:11
169 forum posts
5 photos

Try to be in the workshop by 10 in the morning at least 4 days a week. Lunch is 1pm. Try to get 1 1/2hours pm.

Sadly getting slower with age and enjoy contemplating what has just been made for too long. Compounded a bit by two brushes this year with the old geyser with the hour glass and grass cutter.

Hence fatigue is top frustration factor. Never give up I will pass on wiping the oil from my hands and trying to free my trousers from being superglued to my legs.

larry phelan 126/12/2020 12:59:33
1169 forum posts
15 photos

Not so sure about that small sherry ??

Sometimes a job looks better after a sherry or two, large or small !

Even better, you might end up seeing two jobs, each one looking better than the other !

Becomes very confusing and at that stage, you are better off leaving it and go have a drink, large or small !

The year will be long enough and the way "Lockdown" is going, you will have plenty of time for the workshop.

Focus on the situation after Jan 1, now that should keep you busy for a while !laugh

Ramon Wilson26/12/2020 13:12:38
1283 forum posts
367 photos
Posted by Ady1 on 26/12/2020 09:31:39:

I think the whole covid thing is silly .....

Well it depends on your perspective of course Ady but I doubt many lying in Covid wards would share that sentiment.

Seriously - despite having been retired for some time this 'lockdown' situation has seen me give far more impetus in the workshop and actually manage to finish a three year (elapsed time) project due to not being distracted by the usual culprits - plastic modelling, model flying and sailing and to a lesser extent archery. All contact with people in those interests has ceased since March and by the looks of it likely to continue for some time in to the new year.

Despite a love of plastic modelling, to it's detriment, the resurrected interest in machining looks fit to continue for some time to come

May we all make the best of it and benefit from it how and where we can while we can

Regards - Tug

Nigel Graham 226/12/2020 13:29:29
2009 forum posts
27 photos

I don't try to impose time-tables on myself - That does not work. I do though manage at least a couple of hours in the workshop each day - including yesterday (Christmas Day).

What helps considerably is planning the work. If you read the serials, the common theme seems to be complete Part A individually; then Part B, Part C.... .

Sometimes you need make particular components right through, yet many have features similar to those in others. So why not think in 1st 2nd, 3rd.., operations, and by materials; to sort and queue the parts, reducing repeated machine settings that are often more time-consuming than the machining itself.

As an example: -

- My Stent and Worden T&C grinders both have turned parts with cross-drilled holes, and a few with holes on pitch-circles. I stopped each after the turning, storing it until all were ready for just one setting-up on the mill for the cross-drilling, and a second for the p.c.d. drilling - in both projects. These also swept up a couple of parts for my steam-wagon axle.

I have found it's not time cutting metal that makes time accelerate. What really sends the years past is interruptions, too many projects, other commitments; and spells of interest dulled by those three. For me it often means not going into the workshop until late afternoon, but once there I sometimes become absorbed sufficiently to make significant even if modest progress.

Steviegtr26/12/2020 13:44:49
2420 forum posts
336 photos

I have not had much time over the last few days to do anything other than pile stuff up & create a mess in my workshop. Did not feel 100% yesterday so we are having the Turkey dinner today. All hands on deck.


Chris Evans 626/12/2020 15:32:43
2050 forum posts

Nine months now since I had a stroke and only just feeling like doing what I used to do. (didn't stop totally but everything seemed like slow hard work) Looking forward to getting back to 4 or 5 hours a day on the old motorcycles and machining for them. Even during the covid times people where asking me to do jobs for them, had to refuse as not wishing to let them down and post stroke concentration was poor.

Thor 🇳🇴26/12/2020 16:52:13
1597 forum posts
45 photos

Hi Peter,

During summer I rarely use the workshop, but I try to get a few hours in the workshop each day during the winter season.


Peter G. Shaw26/12/2020 17:07:46
1408 forum posts
44 photos

Hello Thor,

I assume you have some form of heating in your workshop, and from what I have seen of my sister's house in Haugesund, you are probably for better insulated that I am. I have no insulation in mine.

My workshop is an unconverted garage, so in summer, I lift the front roller shutter door perhaps 300mm and open the back door, that way I can get a through draught. Occasionally I set the fan heater on fan only.

There is actually another aspect which I had forgotten about and it is Chris who has reminded me. I have found that the chemotherapy I'm on also makes me quickly become tired. Sometimes I can feel ok, yet other times I'm not. Still, musn't complain, at least I'm still alive.


Peter G. Shaw

Thor 🇳🇴26/12/2020 17:12:22
1597 forum posts
45 photos

Hi Peter,

You are right, during winter I use an electric heater with a thermostat, my workshop is in the basement of my (old) house so it is reasonably well insulated and the temperature stays comfortable except on very cold days.


mechman4826/12/2020 17:40:39
2947 forum posts
468 photos

I manage to get a couple of hrs a day through the week 2 - 3 days. In winter I have the oil rads on for an hour before going in; a nice & toasty 18*C. I find that most of the time is setting up to do a particular machining job than actually doing the machining,e.g. am making a pair of Kant clamps & setting up & machining/drilling/tapping the spacer posts soon used up 2-3 hrs in the man cave. Surprising how time flies when you're having fun thinking.


John MC27/12/2020 11:45:47
373 forum posts
44 photos

I have fitted hour counters when I installed my two lathes, not sure why, probably because I had a couple!

That was 15+ years ago. I take a note at the beginning of each year of the hours. When I worked the total yearly hours was, on average, ~90 hours each year. Since stopping working this has risen to, again average, ~200 hours a year.

Even at that rate of use its less than four hours a week the two machines are running. It doesn't sound much but if I was to assume my mills got the same use, they probably do, the drilling machines, CNC mill and various other machines along with the time not machining then far more than 4 hours a week!

I tried adding up the total hours, difficult but must be 25+ a week?

I find that, because the workshop is part of the house, well insulated and on the heating system, makes it easy just to nip into the workshop for a few minute or several hours at a time. And very easy to lose track of time.....


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