Home Improvement: part 1

Carolin Teufelberger
Zurich, on 06.11.2018
Responsible for translation: Eva Francis
Your own workshop: a DIYer’s dream that you can turn into reality. This series will cover everything from choosing the right room to ergonomic working. Right, let’s start with an empty room.

Opening the door, it smells like wood straight away. The smallest blast of air lifts sawdust off the floor and makes it dance in the dim light. My gaze moves around the room and takes in machines of all sizes and hanging tools. There aren’t many windows or much light, so it’s really easy to lose track of time.

This describes the perfect first look of a workshop for me. A fully-fitted, operational workshop. Before the smells, the dust and the noise comes the empty room.

I’ve dedicated the first part of the series to this very topic, so I consulted Pascal Biri. My DIY-loving colleague has realised his modest dream of creating his own workshop and agreed to lend me his space and, where needed, his knowledge.

Focus on the lower levels

You’re going to make mess and noise. From chipping come chips, and electric tools aren’t known for their low noise levels, so a workshop in your own home is best suited away from the living quarters, unless you’re a fan of hours of family arguments and regular cleaning. In short, base your workshop in the cellar or garage. You’ll cause the least disruption to your family and neighbours and be free to indulge in your hobby for hours on end.

Live wires

All power tools that make such lovely noise also have to be supplied with electricity. There’s nothing more annoying than tripping over an extension cable, and it doesn’t look good either. That’s why it’s better to check where the power outlets are first. Quality beats quantity. Two sockets in a strategically sensible place are better than 20 by the doors. Socket strips are quick and cheap to install.

A bit of extra electricity never hurt anyone.
A bit of extra electricity never hurt anyone.

Let there be light

It shouldn’t be as dimly lit as I picture it. Bright light is indispensable, especially for detailed work. Daylight is always more pleasant than artificial light. And windows have another benefit: you won’t inhale any fumes from varnishes. If there’s no ventilation at all, you’d be better off doing this kind of work outside.

A window overlooking the garden is recommended.
A window overlooking the garden is recommended.

Think big

How big the room has to be depends on your plans and options. Generally speaking, though, having a lot of space is always good, especially if you have stationary machines in your workshop. Also when it comes to freedom of movement while working, bigger spaces are often better and in turn promote safe working. Don’t be discouraged if you only have 12 m2 to play with. With a bit of imagination, any room can be turned into a viable workshop. Your options will be somewhat limited, but you’ll still be able to do amazing work. As you can see from the photos, our model workshop isn’t exactly the biggest either.

This applies to everything I’ll cover. I’m describing the ideal scenario and what to look out for from the outset. Obviously, you can make something great out of any old space. As long as you don’t have a meltdown every time you use the space, nothing’s really that bad.

Next time on Home Improvement

In the next instalment, we’ll bring your chosen space to life. Find out which tools you can’t do without and which layout yields the best results. Follow my profile with just one click to make sure you don’t miss a beat.

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Carolin Teufelberger
Carolin Teufelberger
Editor, Zurich
My life in a nutshell? On a quest to broaden my horizon. I love discovering and learning new skills and I see a chance to experience something new in everything – be it travelling, reading, cooking, movies or DIY.

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