Once The Hog was in place we needed to start fitting out The Workshop.
Our workshop space is approximately 6m x 2.2m and initially just fitted with 5 x 240v double sockets, 2 small bar heaters, 2 strip lights, and a couple of noticeboards.
The Workshop Space
Our workshop space is approximately 6m x 2.2m. It is fitted with 5 x 240v double sockets, 2 small bar heaters, 2 strip lights, and a couple of noticeboards. We hope to connect the electrics up to our battery power system as part of The Electrics project.
The fit-out of our workshop was broken down into the following areas.
Health and Safety
Before we got started using the workshop there were a number of Health and Safety items we needed to address. To start with, we were kindly donated five fire extinguishers from RS Fire Protection for our workshop and kitchen spaces. The next steps included ensuring that people opening the shed for practical activities had the appropriate training, including first aid and specific tool training where appropriate.
We received some very generous donations of tools, ranging from basic hand tools to fairly large power tools. Our plan is to take any tools donated and introduce anything we can use into our workshop. Where we get duplicates or tools that we are unable to use ourselves, we will work with a charity called Work Aid, based in Chesham. Work Aid take old tools and reburbish them. They then redistribute them to charitable workshops around the UK and Africa. They will also "swap" any tools that we cannot use for tools that we need.
We proceeded to fit permanent workbenches along the back wall and righ-hand side of the workshop space. They would allow the fitting of bench vices and quickly be ready for activities using mainly hand tools. We would also be able to site our battery tool charging points and mount smaller bench tools, such as a pillar drill and bench grinder. These benches have started simple, allowing us to build better, sturdier options in the future.
Some of our initial workshop projects are to build some tool storage solutions, ranging from simple shelving and boxes, to more elaborate and flexible French-Cleat based wall mounted storage. We will need to have easy access to our power hand tools and basic hand-tools such as screwdrivers, chisels, etc.
Mobile Tool Stands
Longer term, we plan to mount larger machine tools, such as chop saws, on mobile tool stands that can be wheeled outside.
We plan to fit-out the workshop in phases. We have grand plans but also neeedd to get a basic workshop up and running to actually be able to implement those plans, using the workshop!
Phase 1 - Hand Tools
Our first phase was to set-up the workshop so that we can use hand-tools and basic hand-held battery power tools. Importantly, this meant we could progress with basic training, specifically first-aid trained members on site during shed opening times. This phase involved the following tasks;
We decided to fit workbenches along the back and right-hand side wall of the worktop. These initially comprised old kitchen units and worktops. Somewhere to mount vices and place tool storage options. We can also site smaller power tools such as the column drill and band-saw, although we did not plan to use these in group sessions during this phases.
Hand Tool Storage
We needed a way to simply store and access hand-tools, screwdrivers, hammers, chisels, etc. Longer term we would like to have flexible wall-mounted options, but to start with we will look to mount of the fitted workbenches. Simple boxes, baskets and pots sufficed initially.
Battery Tool Storage and Charging Station
Our only access to power tools during this phase was basic battery operated tools such as screwdrivers, drills and hand sanders. We could not be using more powerful battery tools such as jigsaws and circular saw at this stage, until we had a suitable health and safety process in place,.
Temporary Power Tool Storage
We have been donated some very nice power tools. Although we did not intended to use these in group sessions immediately, we did need an area to store them. Some basic shelving units along the left-hand side wall sufficed.
Phase 2 - Power Tools
Our second phase was to introduce power tools to the shed. Seeking advice from a Health & Safety expert we decided we needed a risk sssessment for our site and more specifically for the use of power tools. This involved producing a Risk Assessment for our site and more specifically for the use of power tools. Seeking advice from a Health & Safety expert we decided to proceed with a process of self certification with differing tool "levels" requring different levels of sign-off.
We were lucky to be introduced to a professional who is qualified to carry our risk assessments on sites like ours. He was kind enough to provide with a site level risk assessment and proposed that we produce our own risk assessment specific to power tool usage. The basic premise being that in order to use a power tool at the shed the user must have access to, and preferably have read, the instruction manual and depending on the nature of the tool be able to demonstrate a level of competance in using the tool. The user would then be required to self-certify that they are fit to use the tool. Our overall risk assessment document can be found here.
Tool Usage Sign-Off
We decided to split the use of tooling at the shed as follows:
Level 1 – Hand Tools
Level 1 tools are basic non-powered hand tools, with the exception of a basic battery power screwdriver. These tools may be used by any Shedder in the presence of a Shed Leader. No tool sign-off is needed.
Level 2 – Power Tools
Level 2 tools are basic power tools normally associated with DIY jobs and readily available to anyone at their local DIY store. They include battery and mains operated tools. These tools require sign-off by a Shed Leader.
Level 3 – Machine Tools
Level 3 tool are more powerful power tools and machine tools requiring more tool-specific knowledge and potential training. These tools require sign-off by a competent Shed Leader who themselves has a working knowledge of the tool.
Our full tool usage policy and risk assessment can be found here.
We would very much like to thank our supporters for this project:
RS Fire Protection for the kind donation of five fire extinguishers for our workshop and kichen spaces.