Completed a project that made me really happy today – and it ended up being a lesson in Number 6 from my lessons from being a tech blog.
One of the struggles with the space is…space. And I created some today, that alone makes me happy, but the challenge of coming up with creative solutions is more satisfying than just solving a problem.
The theater is not complete yet, something that’s easy to forget since it’s up and constantly running, but there are still planned additions to the theater space, the classrooms, even some in the bathrooms. All part of the plan but still in the works as time and money allow.
But as we’ve evolved it’s been a constant struggle to just have space to put things away, as we use the entire building from wall to wall and sometimes that’s not even enough.
Plus we are always “having company over” as Jill put it – we always have the public coming, and the one day we aren’t open to the public we have classes in every free space in the building – so there’s always a finite limit of time to complete anything before everything has to be cleaned up and put away. We have three classes on Tuesday nights, due to terrific enrollment, but only had two class spaces until a couple months ago, when I had to build another room that was long-needed anyway. I’m still trying to create a proper class space, which is where I was working today.
Add to that the always changing resources we have on hand – we very very very very seldom purchase lumber or materials of any kind that isn’t directly related to daily operations (trash bags, etc) so anything that needs to be built, fixed or done gets done using only the weird collection of wood, metal, screws, wire and L-brackets we have on hand from whatever else I took apart or someone gave us.
We have only the tools that I have collected over the years at home – including a set I had to buy for my sculpture class in MCAD and the tool chest my dad gave me when I moved out of the house – which often leads to interesting problems. I did purchase a drill (that came with a free saw) after the one we used to build the theater died – my dad handed it down to me, I think the stamp on the side said it was manufactured in 1979.
It was a workhorse, but even workhorses die, eventually.
I have no blade for my free saw currently – it wore out. It was the free blade that came in the free saw and the only blade I’ve been using – it’s gotten more mileage than it probably should have and I haven’t purchased a new one yet.
All of this leads to interesting construction and design challenges when trying to carve more space out of the building quickly so I can finish and get the space cleaned and ready for classes – which I decided to do by adding levels to my tech workbench in the back…with only the material on hand and no saw.
So the height was dictated by the length of the only 4 boards I had that were all exactly the same length. I had no sheet materials that fit the bill and can’t cut them to fit so the top deck is a re-purposed IKEA table that Josh Nelson donated to us before he left town.
Screwed the boards to the only wall in the room with studs, attached the table down upside down with washers I had to pull from the truss ceiling, attached the bolt-on legs facing toward the ceiling and BOOM – it’s perfect overhead lumber storage, which added about 8 square feet to the classroom space after I was able to move lumber up off the ground and shift some things around.
the project itself was a simple one, I’m no carpenter or engineer – so the building of the object isn’t the accomplishment and I’m not bragging about my skills in that department. The best part is remembering that great solutions are possible beyond just spending money to buy some pre-fab product.
I don’t know if/when we’ll ever be in a place as a company where spending money is easier than coming up with inventive ideas and being smart about how we use what we have, but that’s a place I’m not in a rush to get to and might even avoid.
I like having to use my head and there are so many better things to spend money on than NOT having to be creative.