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012718stackhouse1540x800.jpg Kyle Stackhouse

Shop layout: If I had it to do all over again…

We are in the midst of shop clean up season, a reminder of the flaws in our design.

Typically, January is for hauling grain. We were able to get a head start in December. Lines have been relatively short for a couple of reasons: poor weather and lack of farmer selling. As a result, even after Corky took a week off to go snowmobiling, we are slightly ahead of schedule.

Since we’re not in the trucks, we have found ourselves in the midst of shop clean up season. We all know how much fun that is. Throughout the year, it seems we seldom have enough time (maybe I should say discipline) to put parts and supplies away after we are done with them. As a result, a couple times of year, we end up having to organize the shop. Sometimes we do better than others.

Over the years during these organization times, we have discovered one design flaw in the shop we built 8 to 10 years ago. In one corner of the shop, we made an office/meeting/lunch room beside the mechanical room. The original idea was to have a lounge/game room above it, but we ended up using it for parts storage.

In retrospect, I wish we would have flip flopped those two. The meeting area is seldom used, and though we installed a door to deliver pallets and large items to the upstairs via the forklift, regular access to parts is via stairs. I can’t help but think that pile of parts at the bottom of the stairs wouldn’t be so large if the storage was on the main floor.

Adding a lean-to?

We have kicked around the idea of adding a lean-to onto the shop, but there are many items that are higher priority. It would be nice to make it large enough not only to house the small parts, but also to be able to run the forklift through for pallets of larger items or crates of bulk items such as tillage shovels, etc. This we would eliminate some pallet racking from the work floor and leave us with more usable space. Unfortunately, this is not going to happen anytime in the foreseeable future. Besides, we just got done putting everything away!

What would we do to the shop if we had it to do over? Everyone who has built something asks that question. For us, it would be adding a pit.

We had a pit in the old shop, and never used it much. It was right in the center and you had to avoid the planks which covered it. The thought was to use that pit when needed. But since that building is now machinery storage the pit is not easily accessible.

It is also void of tools, which adds to the inconvenience. I can only think of one time we have used the old pit since we’ve been in the new shop, but there have been many times we’ve just sucked it up and got out the creeper.

Well, we better get finished up -- the first of February is usually when we get serious about doing shop work! It’s hard to believe it’s nearly that time.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.

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