Along the Natchez Trace

Monday, July 20, 2015

Workshop... Woodshop.... and Bill

This refuge had a new maintenance shop built 2 or 3 years ago.  The old one was a leftover building from when this was an Air Force base and while it was adequate, things were going bad...  roof leaking, hard to heat, and on and on.  Also, it is located 2 miles from the headquarters office.  Winters are pretty severe up here and snow can get quite deep.  Two miles is a lot of plowing to do just to get to work in the mornings. 

So the regional office decided to have this new shop built close to the main entrance and across the road from the headquarters office.  It's a fairly large building...  it has 3 bays which house the service truck and the Gator and whatever small equipment is being used.  During the winter months Kirk does a lot of maintenance on the equipment making sure it's ready for summer use.

There is also a room that was set up to be a woodshop.  It's surprising how much carpentry of various kinds is going on.  Everything from making or repairing bird boxes to building boardwalks or small buildings.

I've written that Kirk is a one-man show up here.  He doesn't have time to do everything he needs to get done let alone any extra.  When Bill & I are up here during the summer Bill uses rainy days and some hours on the weekends to "putter" around.

Let me show you the results of some of his puttering...

Here's the Woodshop...
See that network of metal pipes coming out of the ceiling at the upper right?  Bill designed, put together and installed a vacuum system.  The vacuum stuff is in the room overhead, but with this system you can clean up your sawdust or other debris by opening one of the 3 ports over the workbench.  He wired it so that you can turn it on from a switch near the workbench.  In the left corner he built holders for the woodworking clamps.  The pegboard is pretty classy....  it is nicer than the usual pressed stuff you usually see.  

I really like this...
He had a metal shop build this holder for measuring tapes.
It is angled so you can clip your tapes on it and they'll be handy for quick use.
Notice the hole underneath the tape holder?  They used old doors as the surface for the workbenches.  As with most places, money is always tight, so any way they can save, they do.  Bill is an expert at utilizing, recycling and making do.

I took this photo Sunday morning...  by afternoon he'd already taken down the clamps and painted the corner holder.  Bill has some great ideas about organization and efficiency.  He'll have the whole place in great shape before we move on.

The back wall of the main garage houses the maintenance tools.  Some of these tool chests were brought up from the old shop..  a couple are new.  He usually has this place in order, but that flat metal piece sitting on the workbench closest to the front is the front of the electric box that Bill had opened to wire in the vacuum system.  I see today that it's back in it's correct place.

Looking from the maintenance shop through the door into the woodshop.
Bill's been mostly occupied with the woodshop so this area, while getting some attention, will take a few more rainy days and weekends to be organized the way he wants it.

It's raining again today...  I see a shopping list laid on the workbench....  items he needs from the local hardware store to continue on with this task.  It's great that the Refuge gives him pretty much a free hand in his work.  But, personally, I think it's great that they have Bill around to "putter around" and put some of his ideas to work.

That's All For Today!


  1. Doing an awesome job with the workshops.

  2. A very nice work shop. I miss mine being away in the trailer but I will return and heat things up in my basement workshop as soon as Fall arrives and Seattle hopefully starts to rain again.

  3. There is nothing better than a well-equipped, well-organized workshop!!

  4. I use old doors for cat runs here, or as tables. The hollow ones are harder to attach as runs but I've worked out a way to do that. The refuge is lucky to have both of you, both so handy and practical and creative.

  5. I think your Bill is a precious gem; he and Kirk sound like two of a kind. Separated at birth?

  6. Wow, he sure did a great job. Hope it stays that way.

  7. It's great that you found such a good fit for Bill's skills and for the needs of the refuge.