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Old 01-26-2012, 07:55 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,062
Default Wanted:Tips on how to work clean and neat

I seem to have a clutter monster that follows me around leaving clutter in its wake.

With the RV-3B kit on order, I've been thinking that it would sure be nice to work in a clean shop. But I know that there will be shavings to be cleaned up and plenty of tools that are all needed to be at hand.

Help! Suggestions wanted.


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Old 01-26-2012, 08:13 PM
lorne green lorne green is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Oliver, B.C. Canada (Okanagan valley)
Posts: 786

I think a larger building space allows for the placement of more items (obviously) But, more importantly, lots of large horizontal storage areas.
RV 7a tip-up
Pre-cover MD-RA Inspected.
Canopy completed. Bonded with Sika-Flex.
Up on her mains, Firewall Fwd and wiring on going.
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Old 01-26-2012, 08:20 PM
terrye terrye is offline
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Posts: 962
Default Cleaning Up

My high school shop teacher taught us we had to clean up the shop in the last 5 minutes of the class. Clean up the lathe, clean up the drill press, clean up the bench, because there was another class starting right after ours.

I don't clean up my shop every time I use it, but fairly often. Good housekeeping is a habit.
Terry Edwards
RV-9A (Fuselage)
2021/2022 VAF Contribution Sent
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Old 01-26-2012, 08:30 PM
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LifeofReiley LifeofReiley is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Round Rock, TX
Posts: 3,779

Have a dedicated place for all of your tools and if its not a drill, rivet gun, measure device or squeezer always put it back in its place at the end of the day. Also, shop vac and wipe down before the lights go out.
Retired N622DR - Serial #V7A1467
VAF# 671
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:15 PM
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Sam Buchanan Sam Buchanan is offline
been here awhile
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 4,462

Originally Posted by David Paule View Post
I seem to have a clutter monster that follows me around leaving clutter in its wake.

With the RV-3B kit on order, I've been thinking that it would sure be nice to work in a clean shop. But I know that there will be shavings to be cleaned up and plenty of tools that are all needed to be at hand.

Help! Suggestions wanted.


Maybe this will be worthy of consideration:

Working Smart
Sam Buchanan
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:31 PM
smoothy58 smoothy58 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: East Central Florida
Posts: 76

Good read Sam!

I've adopted a "Clean as You Go" philosophy which results in a shop which remains tidy and organized. It is great to go out for a work session and have everything at hand. It takes discipline but I find it well worth it.

Thanks for sharing.

Gerry Peterson
Merritt Island, FL.
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Old 01-26-2012, 11:54 PM
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Buggsy2 Buggsy2 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NorCal
Posts: 565
Default Shop vac trick

Building in a typical 2-car garage space, I have a wall-mounted shop vac (Sears) so it doesn't take up scarce floor space. I got a remote-controlled on/off switch; it plugs into the wall outlet, then the vac plugs into that.

During a work session I turn ON the vac's switch so the on/off remote will control it. Then doing some messy task (drilling, sanding, cutting, whatever), I can easily vacuum up the mess by leaving the vac hose near that work area and turn it on and off with the remote.

By making it easier to use the vac, I use it more, so there's less mess.

Clutter: I don't put many tools away in the middle of a task that spans several days. But at the end of a big task, I'll take half an hour and put all the tools away, leaving my single work table mostly clear.

Sometimes you'll start multiple, simultaneous tasks, each with its own collection of small parts. I got several cheap plastic sorting trays from Harbor Freight and find them invaluable not for sorting, but for keeping each tasks bits and pieces in one place, at the task site (work table, wings, fuse...).
Ralph Finch
Davis, CA

Last edited by Buggsy2 : 01-26-2012 at 11:59 PM.
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Old 01-27-2012, 12:10 AM
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FresnoR FresnoR is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Fresno, CA
Posts: 482

I am one of the most unorganized people I know. It's makes it tough to build an aircraft. I of course had the philosophy, clean up the last few minutes every work session. Well, what happens with me personally, I will keep building until the very very last minute. Then of course, no time to clean. Then the next time I start up, I'm so excited to get started, i don't clean. Well, you can see how the cycle continues.

For me it takes a lot of discipline to remain organized. I find for myself, if I can do a heavy clean between each subkit, things will stay relatively tidy. That way I do not lose my place or mindset between each time I'm in the shop.
Rick from Seattle

The art to flying lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.
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Old 01-27-2012, 12:37 AM
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RWoodard RWoodard is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Brighton, Colorado
Posts: 475

I'm really a particular person, but you couldn't tell it by looking at my hangar (or my house, for that matter).

I think what would help my situation tremendously would be another nose-high toolbox and about a dozen wall cabinets so I'd have a place to put everything. When I go to "put everything away" I usually find that there's not enough storage space to do so.

The ONE thing I did to help stay organized many moons ago is that I wall-mounted 5 of those plastic parts containers with 30 small boxes per container. I took the time to make labels on my computer saying what's in each drawer. Now if I need an AN3A-4 bolt, I just go to the drawer and pull it out. Unfortunately, even this bastion of neatness floundered as the years went by and I purchased a bunch of stuff that didn't originally have boxes assigned. It's amazing how many different flavors of washers are available!

One of these days...
Rod Woodard
Brighton, Colorado (CO12)
RV-3 IO-320
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Old 01-27-2012, 04:31 AM
RV10Man RV10Man is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Posts: 1,167

I AM organized. I can't stand anything sitting on the floor, I want to be able to sweep under it. My hangar and work space is kept clean, neat, and organized, it's just part of the building process/sequence. Clean as you go.

I do some model airplane building. When I get finished sanding on a part, I clean up the dust with a shop vac immediately.

I have a "nose high" roll around tool box in my work shop, when I'm finished with any tool, it goes back to its place in the tool box, I don't have to hunt for it later. It bugs the fool out of me when I have some well meaning help, later, I find a tool laying on the floor, or somewhere, that I know they've used. I try to do a visual, quick inventory of the tool box, but occasionally, I miss something. If you stay neat and organized, you'll actually get to do more building by not having to waste time hunting for parts or tools.

My plumbing & electric service truck is the same, neat and organized. How many of you have followed a plumber down the road and wondered how in the world do they find anything in there? That's not me.

Anyway, practice self-discipline. Keep things neat and orderly and I think you'll actually be more enthused about building, instead of being sort of bummed out as soon as you enter the shop 'cause you just don't know where to start.

Marshall Alexander
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