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A place for everything
- if I can find it all

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew
The spring 2010 issue of Invention and Technology Magazine featured the editor's letter wanting to know what your shop or workspace looked like.

"Please send a photo to show where you do your inventive thinking, turn out your work or maybe just do "honey-do's."

This question triggered my early-day memories of our farm shop in Ochiltree County.

From about 1938 until 1950, I spent a lot of time in our farm shop. It was located in a wooden granary originally built to store seed wheat. We farmed a lot of land, owned a lot of equipment and, at any one moment, some of it was broken down and in need of tender loving care.

My father bought the first farmer-owned acetylene generator and my uncle bought the first war surplus portable electric welder of any of our community neighbors. Since they were very busy trying to tend the land, I was usually the one that had to use this equipment.

My learning required a lot of carbide (to make acetylene gas), oxygen bottles and welding rod, but no one complained, because they did not want to do the job themselves. As we lived 15 miles of dirt road from town, many neighbors came by needing emergency repairs also.

Since the Trews have always earned their keep with plow dust, grass and sweat, most of the new, shiny farm equipment was out of our reach. We had to manage with used, pre-owned and much-used farm equipment. As a result, we became pretty good repairmen in the process.

All of this is leading up to describing my present-day shop and parts inventory here at the ranch.

If it is wood or wood-related, it's in the wood shop. If it is iron, it's in the metal shop. If it is a tool, it is hung up or in a toolbox.

Metric is in the metric toolbox. Ignition is in the ignition box. PVC stuff is in special toolboxes. If it is a small part, it is in a drawer, pan or bin. If it can be hung up, it is on a nail driven into overhead joists or rafters.

If it is heavy metal, it's piled on a large iron rack behind the shop. If it is long, it's on a longer rack made for pipe. The object may be buried, but at least it is in the pile of like items.

If it is a bolt, nut or washer, it is sorted into pans and located on shelves. All pipe connections are sorted into large wooden boxes beneath the shop bench. Special lubricants, oils and additives are on a shelf.

I firmly believe anything that once worked can be made to work again. It may not be worth the effort, but repair is possible. With all this shop organization, inventory storage and my theory to never throw anything away, I am in great shape to fix, repair, replace, rebuild or refinish almost any item at any time.

"If" I could only remember where I put all the stuff needed to do the job!

August 17 , 2010 Column Delbert Trew

More "It's All Trew"
Delbert Trew is a freelance writer and retired rancher. He can be reached at 806-779-3164, by mail at Box A, Alanreed, TX 79002, or by e-mail at trewblue@centramedia.net. For books see DelbertTrew.com. His column appears weekly.
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