Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dirt Road Truckers

I don't know if ya'll'un's know or not, but I work on guitars a lot.  I've been working out of a room in my house- a central room, too- for the past 12 years.  Every year I wish I had a dedicated shop building out away from the house where I can expand and just get away from household traffic and noise.  Every year I do the economics of heating, cooling, securing, lighting, etc a separate building and every year I decide to stay in the house.  Over the past 3 years, though, my ranch duties have increased and I really need some office space and that central room that's full of guitar stuff would be just right.

Over in a nearby town, 40 mi away, there was a little leather good store running out of a Morgan building.  About 9 months ago, I noticed a "For Sale" sign on the door.  Two months ago, I finally stopped and got the number.  Long story short, I bought the building.  It's 14' x 24', full finished, insulated, wired, and lighted and should make a fine guitar repair building.

Getting this beast here was a challenge!  After numerous phones calls and questions- the vast majority of which were made by my secretary/financial adviser/cook/wife- I/we finally rounded up a 24' flatbed trailer and a guy who moves mobile homes for a living.  Today was The Big Move.  We met in town and the first thing we had to do was fix a loose ground on the borrowed trailer as I had a very weak left turn signal and- surprise- many of my turns, including the critical one off the highway to home were going to be left.  So, we fixed the light in the hardware store parking lot, bought some patio blocks to set the building on, and then headed over to the building, 11 mi away.

Trailer lights are good
Once there I got to watch a pro in action.  We used high-lift jacks to get the building started and then switched to some really nice jacks with a big wide foot.  There were two of these on each side and we just cranked 'em up 20 turns at a time, stopping once to move the jack arm to a different position.  This equipment made this move possible and I don't think I could've done it any other way.

I'm being cranky here

Couple of hours later, the building was 4' off the ground and we carefully backed the trailer up underneath it and set it down.   We put a Wide Load banner on the building and truck, a bunch of flags and then it was off down the highway.  Let me tell you, if you've never hauled a 14' wide load, it's something else.  My right side was whizzing by the road signs, seemingly just inches away.  In town, my professional had me drive right straight down the middle of Main Street while he held traffic back behind me.  Traffic was really light and we made it thru without incident.

Thankfully, traffic remained very light all the way home.  I have to give it up for my truck.  When we first got this '97 Ford F250 Super Duty, I hated it.  It was rough and stiff and just painful to drive.  But 3 years ago we put a flatbed on it and that just totally transformed it.  It's still rough, but the flatbed is SO nice as far as putting stuff in and it dramatically improved the feel of the truck.  And the truck itself has been very reliable with just a few minor issues- a water pump and a clutch.  At 97,000 miles, it pulled this huge load down the highway just fine, although I was keeping it slow at about 40-45 mph.

At home, my main gate is 13' 8" wide.  The building is 14' wide.  So, the solution was to take the fence down and drive out in the pasture and in thru the back gate which was 15' 3" wide.

You can get an idea of the size of this thing
Wide Load!
After some discussion, we finally got the thing backed up and started the process of cranking it off the trailer and onto leveling blocks.  We also had to repair some missing insulation.

Fixing insulation underneath
And, hours and hours after our early morning start, the building was sitting on cinder blocks off the ground,  level.  I'm impressed with the space inside and am looking forward to moving into it and freeing up a room in the house.

It won't be this way for long!

I'm getting excellent natural light.

And a pretty good view, too.
Filling up already!  Box/case rack, power tools

T-bench in place. 
This is the bench I take to Kaufman Kamp and Acoustic Music Camp. 
I'll have 3 benches in here when I get done- 2 are still in the house as I DO have work to do.

 Next step is to put flashing around the bottom and wire it up!  Stay tuned.

Update, 8/20:

2nd bench added.  This one's kind of my "electric" bench
Tubes and electric guitar  parts
Bridge blanks, bridgeplate material, copper shielding, pickups, etc

It's not ALL work, though!  This will be the boys corner.

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