You may have a nice workshop at home (see Workbench and Garage Lighting if you don’t have one set up yet), but unfortunately some jobs require onsite construction. So if you can’t bring the project to your workshop, why not bring your workshop to your project? When building the chicken coop at my daughter’s daycare, we needed to make a lot of cuts on site, so we brought what we needed with us and set up shop. In this blog I will go into some tips that will hopefully be helpful for your next away from home project.
You may or may not have a pickup truck, but if you do have one, open the tailgate and use it as a workbench. For our project, we set up the chop saw on the tailgate and when we were done, we pushed it in the truck to go home.
Pair of Ponies
You can typically buy a pair of ponies for $20-$30 a pair and they are great to have. The nice thing about the plastic ponies is that they fold up flat and they have notches in them that are meant to hold two 2x4s making the perfect open work surface, or add a solid piece of sheet goods on the top with a few screws and you have a solid table.
In the shop you can put tools away as you use them, but when you are away it is much easier to misplace tools, especially small drill bits. Invest in a tool caddy (or tool belt or both) and place all small tools in it as you use them (you can also use a 5-gallon bucket as a caddy). This also makes clean up really easy at the end of the work day; simply load the large tools up then pick up your caddy on the way out.
If you are using cordless tools, make sure you have an extra battery with you, and if possible, bring the charger too. At home, we immediately place the dead battery on the charger whenever we grab the fully charged battery we always have a full charge. On the first day of chicken coop construction, we didn’t think about the extra battery which cut our day short. On the second day we grabbed the extra battery, but started to run out of juice towards the end of the day. On day three I threw the charger in the truck and followed our normal procedure of replacing the dead battery right away.
Keep a Note Book
Although you can probably do most things on site, some necessary tools are just too large to bring and no matter how hard you try to think of everything you need, you will most likely forget something. To minimize trips back to the shop or to the store, keep a note book or notepad with you at all times. Make cut lists, shopping lists, and “bring from home” lists. We needed to rip our trim material for the chicken coop on the table saw which was at home, so we calculated what we needed onsite then while at home for lunch we ripped the necessary material so it was ready to go.
I hope this blog gave you some useful tips if you ever have to set up shop away from the shop. Do you have any other tips for working on projects away from home? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.