Submitted by Al. Parker on 9/19/1998. ( )

I would like to redesign my work shop it is about a 23x23sq.ft. space. I am looking for ideas and suggestion. I`d like to make it alot more useful than it is at this time. Any help in this area would be great.



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Shop Design Is A "Personal" Thing

This response submitted by John Bellucci on 9/19/1998. ( )

Hey Al,
This has got to be the most vague question anyone has asked so far - but I'll give it the ol' Stooge try!! You have to remember one thing about designing your own studio - shops are where they build furniture not where art is born (Oh Boy!)- it must be designed with your "comfort" in mind. Your height, your reach, your weight, and your mobility are, among other things, the kinds of considerations YOU have to decide on. When Cheryl and I moved to our new place - a log home sitting on 6 1/2 wooded acres - it came with a 30'x40' steel building, with electric, on the property. The first thing I did was hire an electrician to put in additional circuit-breakers, and lots of electrical outlets, both at above-normal levels, and overhead on the bottoms of the roof trusses. I had three circuits made "dedicated" for my freezers. This way if I'm using my air-compressor, I know it's on a different line than my freezers, and that won't, in turn, "blow" a breaker. This is something that happened lots at our other house. I'm still working on the buildings' conversion into a comfortably functioning studio. So far I've put up insulation in one wall, and closed it in with 3/4" finished plywood. The wood costs more than plain drywall, but I can hang anything anywhere without worry. I will eventually have one area for mold-making (death masks and small stuff); another area for wildlife restorations (a.k.a. taxidermy) - both large lifesize and gameheads; and another area for skinning. Salting is best handled outside of the studio right now. I may eventually put up a small "salting shed", a kind of three-sided lean-to. My pickling vats (mostly for skeletons), and degreasing vats are outdoors, and covered from the elements by the buildings overhang "porch" and plywood tops on the vats.
Like I said, floor plans are of your own design, but you can get some help from The Breakthrough Mammal Mounting Book. Again, it is a very personal thing - your needs and your preferences. I don't think any two studios are the same. I hope this helped some. John.


This response submitted by AL. on 9/22/1998. ( )

Well John: Thanks again, Vague? yes! and thats the way I wanted it to be. You see I am looking for info. and didn`t want to give any preconceived ideas of my own. You did help. I was given some things to think about that I am sure I wouldn`t have. I agree it is a personal thing, however: there is alot of practical and inventive ideas out there that someone may be willing to share with others as you offten do. So thats my direction and thought in being somewhat vague in my question. In my way of thinking it, no doors are closed to any suggtions, ideas or comments. Thank you again, take care. Al

I Got Your "Drift"

This response submitted by John Bellucci on 9/22/1998. ( )

Aaahhhh! A sneaky one --- eh? Glad I was able to give you a jump-start of ideas. Now that I know the direction you were taking, I've got some specific suggestions - if you want them. I have purchased a "Craftsman" multi-drawer rolling tool cart/case. You know, the thing auto mechanics have.

On top of it I keep my circular-saw, jigsaw, hand-held belt sander, and so on. In the drawers are stored my knives, mini fleshing beams, containers of pre-mixed hide paste, files, scalples and blades, syringes, and of course - glass eyes. The real EXPENSIVE eyes are stored in the locked center-drawer. The neat thing about it is the fact that it is "mobile". If I need it at one area of my studio or another, or if I need it while working outside, it can come with me, (by calling it with the simple command - "come" - just kidding:)

A great item in my arsenal of stuff is my Craftsman wet-dry 6.5 HP ShopVac. It's a beast, and loud as hell, so I use it with ear-plugs. But when you've got this much area to keep "clean", NOTHING stays out of it's belly! Also, if a small tool is accidently "swallowed", I can remove the top of the unit and retrieve it! The motor housing even doubles as a leaf-blower, making outdoor maintenance - ready? - a "breeze"!

Above my "main" work area, I have hung a heavy-duty air hose that runs from my air-compressor, making it readily avaiable for any chore - from hooking up with my airbrush, to operating my air-powered Mini-Flesher, to pulling it outdoors and pumping air into the tires of my riding-mower or one of our vehicles if need be.

Another thing I have is a "self-contained" retractable electric extension cord, hanging above my "main" or central work area. I'll be purchasing more eventually.

Various cabinets hang on the walls for specific storage duties. One is just for my airbrushes and paints, and related materials; another is for molding and casting materials and supplies, such as silicones, mixing vessels, polyurethanes, and the like.

Then there are the steel shelvings around the studio at various locations. Some of the items stored here are various silicone-rubber death mask molds, squirrel mannikin molds, etc. Others store bags of plaster, and other "dry' goods (potters clay, dextrine, paper pulp, etc.)

Like I said, I'm still working on its design and arrangement, and hopefully by next spring, it will not only be nearly finished, but hopefully I'll have air conditioning in it - then CABLE!! My studio building is only about twenty feet from our cable housing box. Oh yeah, by the way, along with a comfortable working environment, I have an entertaining working environment as well. To that end I have my choice of TV background "noise" (love CNN during the day), or my 3-disc CD player. With that I get to listen to all my favorite "World Music" - Ladysmith Black Mombazo, Myriam Makeeba, and other South African artists.

This is another part of what I mean when I say that studio design is very much a "personal" thing. I'm glad I was able to give you some food for thought. Hopefully you now have a little more to snack on. Keep "noshing", and best of luck to you. John.


This response submitted by Bill on 9/25/1998. ( )

The best thing I did in my newest studio was to build a fairly heavy/sturdy work table and to place it in the work area AWAY from the wall. This way larger subjects can hang over the edge instead of against the wall. Small suggestion but it works. You can work all the way around it. Also, get as big a secure window as you can. It's hard to do any job without SOME daydreaming. Having a burger joint nearby is good, too. Just ask my buddies.( you have to cry poverty to get them to buy, though).

Shop Designs

This response submitted by Jeff Apple on 10/4/1998. ( )

Here are 2 ideas for redesigning your shop. I use a bathtub elevated about 2 feet off the floor for my sink. I've been using this for about 5 years now and it has saved me an unbelievable amount of time and mess. I also have a large exhaust fan located in the center of my shop. A large duct carries the air to an outside window vent. By locating the fan in the center of the shop I'm able to use it when I paint, create dust, use solvents or fiberglass, etc. I easily change from one job to another without ever worrying about having adequate exhaust. It works for me.

for Jeff

This response submitted by Bill on 10/4/1998. ( )

Hey Jeff, be careful of that centered exhaust fan, you know me and you have seen how my hair stands straight up, whats left of it...exhaust fans are worse than genetics ! OK, OK you guys, I'm kidding, you're allowed to ! Anyway Jeff, just thought I'd say hello and I like the tips, I've used the bathtub at other shops, it's great for the bigger items when draining, etc.

For BIll

This response submitted by Jeff Apple on 10/4/1998. ( )

Hey Bill, I Sure got a good laugh from that one. I guess I should have mentioned that the fan is located on top of a workbench in the center of the shop, NOT ON THE CEILING. I rarely have a problem with my hair standing on end unless I fall asleep while painting fish or drying off a bird skin.

State Of The Art!!

This response submitted by John Bellucci on 10/5/1998. ( )

Alright Guys, Wow - it looks like if we all took all of the ideas put forward here in this spot, we'd all have a nearly "state-of-the-art" studio! I say "nearly", only because there's always something new coming into the market - be it a construction method, an industry technique, whatever. This is the kind of feedback that can help not only those out there asking the questions, but also adds to the arsenal of those providing the "answers". Let's keep it going and growing. Best wishes to all! John.

Billy Boy!!!!!

This response submitted by Bob Coughlin on 10/5/1998. ( )

Hi guys, First I want to say hey to Jeff Apple.Just a word of warning ,watch what you say in here because its awful easy to light a fire under somebody in this forum!!!!!But its a lot of fun.Anyways you guys all had great ideas,but I have one question for Yoxy.Was that comment about the burgers aimed at me? I hope not buddy, because your going to buy my lunch again this week. Talk to you soon. Bob C

burger Bob

This response submitted by bill on 10/5/1998. ( )

Bob would you believe the place closed? Seriously, it did. Looks like I'm off the hook! Jeff, how did you set up the vent's out side vent? You know, for keeping out bugs, wasp nests, wind,etc ?

for BIll

This response submitted by Jeff Apple on 10/5/1998. ( )

The vent simply consists of a heavy wooden-framed window hinged at the top. When the exhaust fan is running the air pressure opens the window. When the fan is off the weight of window holds it closed. In the winter I have a latch that I use to hold the window closed tightly when I'm not using the exhaust fan.

thanks Jeff

This response submitted by bill on 10/6/1998. ( )

Jeff, my vent is the louvered metal flaps and I can hear the wind lift them up and then feel the draft. Never did like that set-up. Suppose it's better than eating lacquer, though. See ya around, Bill.

Just getting started

This response submitted by Jordan on 3/20/99. ( )

I need help on setting up my 10x26 basement as a taxidermy work area. It I would like to know how to optimize this area.
Eventually I would like this to be a full time business. I need to know
the basics for storage, tools, paints, works in progress, ect.
What type of area do I need for skinning? Any tips on getting the
shop set up in general?