My Dad's Shop

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GreenTwin

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After my dad retired, he constructed an 11'x11' shop behind his house, and bought a lathe and mill.
Dad ran a machine shop for many years, and so he had already accumulated a lot of tooling.

Dad ended up building about 38 engines, mostly steam, before his death in 2006.
I was not really into machining during his engine building years, but I did marvel at the efficiency of his little shop (efficiency being 40 lbs of machine tools and equipment shoehorned into a 5 lb shop).

I had to relocate all of it in 2006, and I used gallon baggies (hundreds of them), and many many storage boxes, to move it all.
Each baggie was labeled as to which wall or shelf the items were located on.
I started to put it all back in my shop exactly as it was in dad's shop, and considered hardwood walls, but then it became more of a shrine, and not a machine shop, so I put it in my way, and gave up on making it museum-like.

Dad's shop was always pretty clean, with very little swarf in sight, and so I assumed that machining was a clean affair.
Boy was I wrong about that.

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GreenTwin

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This was dad's escape from the world I guess.
Nice little machinist's man-cave (person-cave I guess is politically correct speak).

He had a nice commercial air compressor under the lathe (220V), and a 12" diameter, 36" long air tank under the table to the left of the lathe.

The Scientific American engine seen on the table was his last engine, and that is the state he left it in.
I was able to make a flywheel for it from bar-stock cast iron, but I need to cast a grey iron flywheel for it, which I think would look better than the one I made.

.
 
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ShopShoe

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Between your Dad and You, a shop was created where everything has a place and no places are wasted. I commend your attempt to memorialize your Dad's efforts, but I also have faced the task of keeping memories with updates to my ways.

What is interesting to me is looking backward and trying to understand the logic and life events that resulted in additions to the collection and its organization.

Enjoy what he gave you and enjoy working there.

--ShopShoe
 

Zeb

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That's awesome. Love the tools over wood paneling (instead of pegboard). I've been wanting to get my shop paneled like that.
 

GreenTwin

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Dad worked for the family hardwood lumber company for most of his life, and most of his stuff including his house had hardwood paneling.
So much hardwood paneling that to this day I can't stand to see hardwood paneling.
I have to have sheetrock with paint LOL.

I am not sure what happened to that clock.
I must have it somewhere, but I recall purchasing another one for my casting work, so who knows where it is.

I still have custom tooling that dad made, and I have no idea what it does.
I did figure out some of it though, such as the custom double j-hook bender, when I found one of the hooks.

.
 
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GreenTwin

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Dad was a dyed in the wool "do-it-yourselfer", and if he stated he was going to build something, regardless of how farfetched it sounded, you better expect that something would emerge from the shop at some point.

Here is dad's scratch-built 50 foot houseboat that he used on the Mississippi River.
It had a Detroit Diesel 671 in it, which while slightly leaky, was a most robust and reliable engine that never let him down.

He took this boat up the Mississippi River, across the Ohio River to the Tenessee river, over to the Tombigbee, down the Tombigbee to Pensacola, and then out into the Gulf of Mexico.
Not sure how many miles that is, but suffice it to say a lot.

This boat started with a stack of sheet metal, and a stack of hardwood lumber (paneling is pecky cypress).

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GreenTwin

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I spent a lot of time on this boat growing up.
It was our home away from home.

I learned to navigate the Mississippi River, and I navigated at night through the significant barge/towboat traffic, and dodging the rock dikes.
It was second nature then, but as I look back and think about it, I think "wow, that was tricky stuff".

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Some people are just exceptional at everything they do and your dad was obviously one of those people I am in awe of his achievements.
I have just built a similar shop in my back yard and installed my first lathe still a lot of work to do but i will be using your pics as a type of template to advance the project.
Thanks for your post
John
 

SmithDoor

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My new hobby shop was storage shed. I wife got new car and move my metal working tool out.

The storage building was kit from Home Depot in 2012. I have stage 4 colan cancer since 2009 building the shed. Now I am covering to a shop with cancer. It does slow my work down.

Dave

Some people are just exceptional at everything they do and your dad was obviously one of those people I am in awe of his achievements.
I have just built a similar shop in my back yard and installed my first lathe still a lot of work to do but i will be using your pics as a type of template to advance the project.
Thanks for your post
John
 

GreenTwin

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The storage building was kit from Home Depot in 2012. I have stage 4 colan cancer since 2009 building the shed. Now I am covering to a shop with cancer. It does slow my work down.
Best of luck to you Dave.
I never take a day for granted, and basically assume that every day may be my last day, so I try to live every day to the fullest.
We are still in testing with my wife, and don't know the full extent of her cancer yet, so we have to wait and see.
One day at a time as they say.
I admire those who trudge on in life regardless of cancer or anything else.
Hats off to the strong among us like yourself.
I have nothing but admiration for your fortitude.
.
 

GreenTwin

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John, Ted, Lennard-

Thanks for the kind words.
When I was growing up, I always assumed that everyone's dad did things just like my dad did, and so it all seemed normal.

After growing up and looking back, and especially after moving dad's shop and getting it set up again, and attempting to made a steam engine, I realized the extent of my dad's talents.
Dad's engines were free-lanced, and quickly built; definitely not museum pieces, but the quantity of his work as a whole is not something I often see.
Dad built a full sized Stanley Steamer replica auto, two full sized Roper replica steam bicycles, 30 something model steam engines, 3 hot air engines, etc. all in a 11'x11' shop, with an attached open carport sometimes used.

Dad's shop certainly adhered to the basic kitchen design triangle, which was just the right amount of space between the sink, stove and refrigerator.
In dad's case, I guess it was his lathe, mill, and finishing/assembly area.

Dad previously had a large shop at the family lumber company, perhaps 6,000 sq.ft., with lathes 20 feet long, some impressive equipment of all types, and an overhead rolling beam crane for the entire space.
When dad retired (the second time), he sold everything in his large shop, and bought new equipment for his home 11'x11' shop (I think he retained a lot of his tooling though).

When I moved his equipment, I ended up using 1/2 of a two car garage, which is about 12.5'x12.5'.
When I decided to get into foundry work, I put in a pattern making wood shop on the other half of the 2-car garage, much to my wife's dismay.

The things that were stored in the original 2-car garage had to go somewhere, so I ended up having to buy a portable building, which also serves as a foundry storage space.

But there is something to be said for a compact shop and the efficiency that comes with it.
A small space is easy to heat and cool, and not much area to have to clean up.
Everything is within easy reach.

I am lucky I have a wife who accommodates (tolerates) my hobbies.
I was at a steam show one time, and a man I was talking with observed my wife sitting across the room patiently waiting as I observed every detail on every steam engine in the room.
He said "You have a really good wife !", and I said "Yes I know; I am lucky".

I like the model building hobby, and like the foundry side of engine building even more.
Casting your own engine parts in gray iron is just the cat's meow in my opinion.
One is no longer limited to the available casting kits, but instead one can pretty much create any engine that can be imagined.
I do like the engines with low parts counts and a certain degree of simplicity, just from a practical/time standpoint.

.
 
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portlandron

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What a great tribute to your Dad!
I did not move my dads shop but have many of his tools and think of him every time I use one.
 

GreenTwin

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What a great tribute to your Dad!
I did not move my dads shop but have many of his tools and think of him every time I use one.
Thanks.
Dad and I were not as close as I would have liked.
Our age difference was significant, and he was definitely a do-it-yourselfer, which often meant that he liked to work when nobody was around to distract him.

We did have some great discussions in his drawing room where he made hand-drawn (on vellum) sketches/drawings for everything he built.
I never knew what he would sketch up and build next.

He did mention once that he considered adding a foundry, but did not have room at his home shop.
No doubt he would have cast some great model engines.

I always thought that machining must be relatively easy, since dad made so many engines so quickly, and with apparent ease.
It was a real wake-up call when I tried to make my first engine parts, and realized that there is far more to it than dad made it appear.

I have finally learned quite a bit about machining, and the main things that I overlooked when I began trying to machine in 2007 was using a very rigid machine/setup, and using a methodical and carefully planned approach to machining engine parts.

.
 

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