Messages Archive

Scorched Earth and the tub method
Response To:
Re: Scorched Earth ()

John K Jordan
I confess I am a life-long card-carrying slob of the 1st degree. But I finally found something that really helps - working out of a tub.

Besides woodturning, carving, welding, and other shop use (I also incubate and raise guineas and peacocks in the shop, do electronic repair, etc), part of my shop is a maintenance center for farm equipment - diesel mowers, skid steer, excavator, tractor, trailers, various vehicles, and even wheel barrows and spreaders.

I keep all tools inside but do much of the maintenance just outside on one end of the shop or the other. This requires carrying a lot of tools outside and putting them back when done.

I used to carry things outside and lay them around the vehicle or on an adjacent concrete area. When finished, this took a lot effort to locate and collect things, often in the dark with a flashlight, and several trips to put everything back.

I collect what I think I need at first and may make 10 additional trips to get things I find I need while working, but now I take a plastic tub or two outside. Tools go back in the tub when working and when done. This way I can carry the tub back inside and set it down until later when I'm not so exhausted. It keeps everything together and small things don't get lost. It is an easy thing then to carry the tub(s) to the various tool storage shelves and cabinets and put them away. (Of course large tools like the 30" adjustable wrench, porta power, and floor jack won't fit in the tub and are carried separately.)

The tub method is great for working on projects inside the shop too when I have to fetch small tools and supplies from elsewhere in the shop. I set a tub (or smaller container) on the bench or floor nearby. When finished with some, at least for a while, they go in the container instead of staying spread out on the workbench. If I need them again for that project I don't have to search through the clutter on the bench. When done this makes returning everything to it's permanent location far easier since I can carry the tub to the various tool boxes, cabinets, and shelves. If I don't have time to replace them then, when I do have time everything is still in one place - in the tub.

The tub method has saved a lot of frantic searching for where I left that big metric impact socket or tube of antisieze compound or the battery tender or wire crimper.

Same thing with wood blanks for the lathe. When I pick candidate blanks for a lathe project I take a container with me to keep them together. I use smaller, shallow containers to keep up with sandpaper that and small tools like drill bits and depth gauges that I might use again on that project. Specialized tools like Rotary bits and carvng supplies are in their own dedicated containers that I carry to the bench. All this makes it far less painful and more efficient for a confirmed slob to return things when finished.

The tub method does create a different problem - I have lots of empty tubs and containers that I have to figure out how to organize. And it doesn't help a bit with sweeping the floor...


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