Moving My Workshop

Ay caramba !!!

I can’t believe I did it, but here I am at the new place, with room
for all my stuff. The old shop was about 450 sq.ft. with high
cielings, which was nice, but now we have about 850 including the
tacked-on storage room. I’ve been back once and I couldn’t imagine
how I had my whole shop packed into such a tiny space. I had gotten
so used to being ramped that I didn’t know how hard it was. Being
able to plan the new set up over a period of months, literally, while
I workd on fixing up the new house and shop, was really effective
approach, as the plan mutated many times.

Moving my workshop was the biggest thing holding me back from
moving, which had gotten to the point of the missus being depressed
about nearly 20 years of 'warehouse living '. Now that we live in a
real house, we realize how uncivilized things were. No need to go
into those details, except that we had been doing upkeep and
improvements ouselves, instead of our landlord. Well, the idea of
having to move struck fear into my heart for years, but once I
crossed the threshold and the necessity evolved into reality, I was
focused and obsessed, because there was SO SO SO much to do, and no
budget for hiring movers, except at the very end, for the heavy
equipment and appliances.

Twenty years of packratting small tools, metal, wood, and plastic
parts, gadjets and gizmos, building specialized workstations, and
carefully fitting all the pieces together, oh and seemingly miles of
wires, cords, electrical circuits, and on and on… left me with a
monumental task. Disassembling twenty years and rebuilding it 30
miles away was harder than I ever imagined, and by far the hardest
thing, mentally and physically that I’ve ever done . It did take the
full 3 months that we had, and about 5,000 miles of driving
truckloads of stuff down here. Getting the house (abandoned for two
years and in need of some serious tlc) liveable, the epic re-roofing
of the porch, walling in two of the three garage doors (three garage
spaces, woo hoo !!!), insulating the shop and porch, running outlets
to the right places, de-molding, painting, cleaning some creepy
mystery items off the floor… suffice to say that I will never
EVER do this again. I leave this house in a bag, or I go walkabout
in the Bosque and get eaten by beavers.

Time for this post has run out but I will write more later. In case
anyone out there is trying to find me, (my mailout notices of the
move are still waiting to me mailed out, and the phone-forwarding
has probably expired) new contact info is on the sheltech site

Dar Shelton

Part 7

Ok, I skipped a lot of the gory details that might have made an
amusing blog when it was happening, but I was too busy to sit down
and type. Juggling work with tearing down and moving one’s workspace
and with renovating and setting up a new space was/is a precarious
process. I kept the old shop minimally functional close to the end
and only completely shut down for a week or so while the presses and
such were moved, and until we got the new, packed-full, house sorted
out. I just don’t remember previous moves being anywhere near this
protracted and stressful, which I’m sure has much to do with the
volume of things collected in 20 years of work expansion and married

I said “20 years of warehouse living” but it wasn’t quite so stark.
Our old place was 25’ by 50’ with 14’ high cielings, and a partially
converted attic living area. The shop had heat, a.c. and a bathroom,
so it wasn’t like when I was single and crazy at other places. There
was 20 by 25 workshop and 30 by 25 living space, all packed to the
gills and not exactly modern. Now we have 2,000 s.f. living and 850
shop and it seems like a palace.

I was afraid of moving but like I already said, once the decision
morphed into action, I was gone. I had spent much of 2007 working on
the old shop, building an upstairs workstation for sawing dies and
cutting their hinges on the plasma cutter, and had collected
materials for more such projects. I had thought that it would be more
emotionally difficult to tear all that down so soon, but I found
myself in a genuinely obsessive frame of mind because I could grasp
the scope of the whole move, and my only hope was to start the
tedious task of packing nonessential things up early (July, and we
were done this February) - even before we had found the right place-
and not let myself slow down until… maybe 2010, heh heh.

I was in good physical shape and strength by the end, but an
overzealous afternoon of rock arranging put my back over the limit.

Combined with a new mattress, I actually got to where I could barely
walk for several weeks. Then we both got sick, then this thing on my
finger kept growing, even after it was removed. But I’m on the other
side of it now, and the perspective is one of relief, gratitude, joy,
and a dash of awe and appreciation that it did in fact happen, and
we are here now.

Now I’m still juggling work and fixit projects. The mosquitos are
like soup down here on the Rio Grande, and I’m working on a
screened-in area built around/on top of the chain link fence area
out back. The chihuahuas and cats had a high-walled oasis out back
in the city, so we want to give them another outside area, but free
from bugs as much as possible (for us too). I’m the only person down
here who walks their dogs, and I know many of them must think (oh,
if they only knew, heh heh) that I’m just a little strange. What an
odd sight for the average horse owner, driving along their familiar
country road, when around the bend appears a somewhat burly-looking
former(obviously) city slicker, walking two atrociously cute, fluffy
chihuahuas, making them “sit”, “stay” etc. I tell you, some of these
cowboys are not ready for me, lol.

I have slowed down some, and dug out the camera the other day, and so
I’ll be posting some pictures soon to a linkable site. It really is a
beautiful spot, we couldn’t have asked for a better arrangement, and
it was SO worth all the chaos, stress, and trauma.

Dar (today we dig a trench to replace the wiring from the house to the
well pump, yeehawwww )

Besides having a real house to live in, and a sweet spot of land
around it, a great thing is having enough shop space to put
everything. I used to have tools and equipment stored outside or
packed away for lack of room, and the shop was so cramped that you
literally had to move stuff out of the way to work at many spots,
then move the stuff back in order to navigate the other areas. I had
gotten used to this but it was such a relief to get set up in a way
that allowed me to walk around machines, and have proper table areas
for metal and dies to work on them. There was a pegboard wall that
the jewelers bench went up against, and a big work table that served
as hub while we were fixing up the space before moving in, and is now
a utility table. The concept of a table that can be used for
…whatever…is still a fresh one to my mind. I have room for BOTH
bandsaws and both polyarbors and wall space for shelves. I’m in hog

What we also love is what a deal it was, because most of what was in
our budget was mobile or manufactured homes down here, or junky,
small houses in bad neighborhoods in the city. This kind of house
and land up in Albuq. would cost 3 times as much, so we knew we
would have to move out to the country. Only a couple miles from the
center of the small town we’re in, so it hasn’t been hard to adjust
to not living across the street from a convenience store. One funny
thing is, we still have people who come and party just outside our
fence or wall, except now they’re a hundred yards away instead of two
feet. Party on Garth, we can barely see you.

Anyway, I just thought I’d chat a bit about surviving the move, and
let people know I’m still around doing the same work, and I will get
some pics going because it really is pretty here.


Hello Dar, You make this point in your life sound fascinating. By all
means, post pictures. Most of us have moved our shop at one time or
another, some of us survived the experience but probably not all.

Have fun!
Tom Arnold

Hello Dar,

Your epic story gives me hope!! I’ve added space and needed features
to my work space (formerly referred to as the dungeon). Now I need
to build a sawing station and devise storage for my “pounding” stuff.
Aren’t empty drawers mind-boggling - I feel gifted!

Can’t wait for the next installment,

Judy in Kansas, who wishes she was outside finishing the new terrace
and rock-work.

When I was a boy my father was a contract engineer. He called himself
a job shopper. We moved at least once a year, and sometimes more
often. After I joined the military I moved less often. about every 3
years on average I guess. Often I’d change homes in the same area.
I’d estimate I’ve had well over 200 homes that weren’t considered
transient. As you may be able to guess I’m good at moving. I’m great
at knowing how large a container I need to pack something.

I envy those of you who’ve had a shop for 10. 20. 30 years. I dream
of having that, but if I did I know the lure of wanting to go see
the elephant would strike again. I’ve thought about building a boat
that I can use to cruise the oceans and see more of the world, but
having a small shop aboard the boat. I’m not sure where I’d market my
jewelry. but it would be a great adventure.

Mike DeBurgh, GJG
Henderson, NV


Your post about living and working on a boat brought back some fond

From 1992 - 2001, I lived on a boat (for the first time, all by
myself) and worked as the Wholesale Sales Manager for an int’l
that sold spices, handmade jewelry, sculpture, painting and various
local Caribbean crafts, to tourists visiting the British Virgin
Islands. For 6 months out of the year, we had as many as 3 cruise
ships per day (2,000 passengers per ship) visit our store - 7 days a

I loved working with all the artists who traveled on their boats,
island to island, selling their hand-made artwork to stores like
They were a lively, adventurous, uniquely creative “cast of
characters,” and I miss partying with them.

If you (or anyone else in Orchid-land) is “seriously” planning a
move to the Caribbean, I would be happy to share names of stores to
contact that would probably love to sell your work.

In fact, I am working on my website (as we speak) that includes ways
you can work from “anywhere” if you are experienced in certain types
of occupations.

Stay tuned! More to come.