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Stu

Posts: 1843
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

Mobile workshop.. Sort of 

Hello,

I mentioned briefly on another thread how I have a make shift workshop in my garage.

I rent my property. So any substantial works to make it warmer or moisture resistant are kind of out of the question.

Through the warmer months it's great. But come winter it's a no go zone. Especially in the evening which is when I have the free time.

I work in the film industry and the production companies often have permanent mobile coffee/juice bars on location to keep the crew well watered. It's great.

Frequenting these trucks, caravans and vans started to give me an idea. They are always refurbed to a high standard to serve their new purpose.

So....and yeah you guessed it. I'm thinking of buying an old caravan. Like a classic one from 70s. Gutting it and making it my workshop. It could then travel with me to whichever rented property in end up in in the future. Hell I could even take it on holidays!! But the wife probably wouldn't like that! 😄

Anyone Done anything like this? Or have any thoughts on how this could or couldn't work?

Interested to know of anything I haven't thought of that could scupper my plans
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2021 11:38:02
 
RobF

Posts: 947
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Mobile workshop.. Sort of (in reply to Stu

I love this idea! Keep us posted. We could have a lot of fun helping you plan this if you want to track the project on here.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2021 12:27:11
 
Escribano

Posts: 6142
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: Mobile workshop.. Sort of (in reply to Stu

I was conceived in a caravan and my Dad sold them.

You might find the prices have gone up a bit during Covid but it is a good idea in principle.

The electrics will be 220-240v at 10 amps, plugged into the mains on the outside. You could also use a small generator if you go off-grid. They are insulated, and sometimes heated. They can easily be stripped out to make a workshop. You won't need a very big one, maybe 14 foot, single axle.

You will need to be careful about weight distribution when loaded for towing, and consider your car's towing capabilities.

Install some decent LED lighting, a bench and a stool and you are fixed. Keep the toilet and the little kitchen for home comforts.

Be careful about any local ordinances for such working, noise etc. but I doubt that will be a concern, if it is just a hobby.

Can't think why not and it will be cosier than a cold garage.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2021 12:50:09
 
Stu

Posts: 1843
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: Mobile workshop.. Sort of (in reply to Stu

Great! Thanks for those positive replies.
I often find when I'm excited about an idea...if I don't find a load of negatives then others usually do. 😂

Yeah Simon. Some of those retro caravans do seem to be more expensive due to their hipster value...and these kind of coffee vans and the reclaimed/refurbished thing is pretty big these days.

Negatives wise. At the moment I can only think of 2.
Where you keep whislt refurbing and the worry of buying a doozy their for some hidden nasties. Damp/rot/undercarriage trouble. But honestly I just think that's me putting up obstacles.

Yeah Rob. If this gets going I'll def run a thread and lap up any ideas and help the community here can offer.
Im also considering applying to George c Clarke's amazing spaces. See if I can get the build on tv.

Great show if you haven't seen!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2021 14:42:48
 
JasonM

Posts: 1565
Joined: Dec. 8 2005
From: Baltimore

RE: Mobile workshop.. Sort of (in reply to Stu

Great idea! If you can find something ideal given the current demand of everything recreational. Since you don’t need the creature comforts that should definitely give some flexibility.

Also, what about getting a flat bed trailer and building a shed on it, or hauling container? Not sure how much the redneck/hillbilly factor there is to contend with, do you have to keep it on the street or driveway, or backyard...

There was a guy over at the delcamp forum who built a guitar in his family’s kitchen, using only a small section of counter Space, and then moved everything into the corner to appease his wife for dinner. Mind blown!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2021 14:46:16
 
Escribano

Posts: 6142
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: Mobile workshop.. Sort of (in reply to Stu

A long wheelbase van might be cheaper and provide you with some transport in addition, although you will need to knock in a couple of windows, insulate and wire it up.

Solar for lights and a small generator or 12V inverter for occasional power tools.

You can take on day trips for inspiration.

At least you can keep it on the street if it's road legal. You won't be able to leave a caravan on the street without lights and can expect complaints. Unless it is hitched to a road legal vehicle.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2021 15:05:30
 
gerundino63

Posts: 1569
Joined: Jul. 11 2003
From: The Netherlands

RE: Mobile workshop.. Sort of (in reply to Stu

Ever thought of a horse trailer?
Maybe much cheaper solution, and is is empty already.
(just an out of the box thought.)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2021 16:24:29
 
RobF

Posts: 947
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Mobile workshop.. Sort of (in reply to gerundino63

quote:

Ever thought of a horse trailer?
Maybe much cheaper solution, and is is empty already.
(just an out of the box thought.)

Plus, he could hook the horse up to one of those old horse-powered mill getups to run some of the equipment. Might take three days to thickness a top through the drum sander, but time is something we’ve all got these days...well, maybe not Stu in April Congrats to Stu, BTW!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2021 16:36:34
 
Stu

Posts: 1843
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: Mobile workshop.. Sort of (in reply to RobF

Yeah I had thought about a van and may consider that again. But not sure it would afford me even the minimal space I need from my calculations. But I could be wrong. It does solve the problem of the on street parking with a caravan though. And yeah the idea of driving out to a forest or middle of a field or by a stream on a warm English summers day to build seems like a dream!! That would be amazing.

Yeah thanks for reminding me of my April arrival Rob! 😄 yeah sort I'd forgotten about that briefly as I dreamed of spending hrs fitting out my new mobile work shop.... Yeah this may take While

Hadn't consisted a horse trailer. Might have a look at prices. Infact an old friend of mines parents used to buy and sell horse trailers.that was their thing. Could be an angle.

God knows how anyone can build I their kitchen. I find the whole process of bringing tools and materials into the house a bit of a panic inducing exercise. Just about do it with something delicate like rosette building
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2021 17:57:59
 
ernandez R

Posts: 351
Joined: Mar. 25 2019
From: Alaska USA

RE: Mobile workshop.. Sort of (in reply to Stu

Sounds like a cool idea.

You know one thing I've had an issue with is getting the tools I use the most right there where it is easy to grab them and the less used tools out of the prime real estate.

Perhaps whilst you are waiting for momma to pop and you can't build you can make some tool racks etc and get your show ready for the road. Make racks that hold tools smartly, you wouldn't want to have a jack plane go flying say when you bump over a curb.

Best way to sell the project is to include the boss.

Another idea would be a fold down bench on the outside of your road show, keep the dust and wood chips outside whilst momma and the new baby are napping inside...

HR

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2021 3:34:28
 
Echi

 

Posts: 826
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Mobile workshop.. Sort of (in reply to Stu

IMHO a shed is a better option if you have a place for it.
Probably it’s cheaper and you can have it dismantled and moved with you when you move house.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2021 8:07:19
 
Stu

Posts: 1843
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: Mobile workshop.. Sort of (in reply to ernandez R

quote:

You know one thing I've had an issue with is getting the tools I use the most right there where it is easy to grab them and the less used tools out of the prime real estate.

Perhaps whilst you are waiting for momma to pop and you can't build you can make some tool racks etc and get your show ready for the road. Make racks that hold tools smartly, you wouldn't want to have a jack plane go flying say when you bump over a curb.

Best way to sell the project is to include the boss.

Another idea would be a fold down bench on the outside of your road show, keep the dust and wood chips outside whilst momma and the new baby are napping inside...


Great ideas.
The fold down bench outside!! 👌
Clever tool racks 👌

I think there's lots of scope for really ingenious space saving/convenience designs.

One of the best things about watching peoples projects on that tv show I mentioned is seeing how they come up with these clever ideas to maximise space and hide things away only to be revealed when necessary. I just need to be clever enough to invent some of my own....
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2021 11:09:33
 
Escribano

Posts: 6142
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: Mobile workshop.. Sort of (in reply to Stu

I like the fold down bench idea especially with a roll out canopy for warmer days.

Look at solar panels for charging a battery and then running LED lights/phone charging etc. You'd be surprised.

A long-wheel base Luton van is going to give you quite a bit of room.

For example, this Mercedes is for sale for £2700 and they would probably take £2400. Another £500 to sort it out.



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2021 12:30:39
 
Stu

Posts: 1843
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: Mobile workshop.. Sort of (in reply to Escribano

Cool. Yeah I thought of a Luton van previously for a holiday home. Could def work for shop but would have to do a lot of work with insulation etc.

Solar panels is a great idea. Sorry I think you mentioned that previously and I forgot to acknowledge it.

Will def go with that if this gets off the ground.

Cheers
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2021 20:05:18
 
RobF

Posts: 947
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Mobile workshop.. Sort of (in reply to Stu

There seems to be a few articles floating around online about people who have done the same or similar.

https://www.finewoodworking.com/2009/02/05/workshop-on-wheels

I’m pretty sure I once read an article on a guitar maker who has a shop in a converted bus or trailer, so the guy in the article above isn’t alone. It’s a lot of fun checking out the stuff online for ideas, great diversion, and definitely could be a fun project.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2021 21:05:53
 
Stu

Posts: 1843
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: Mobile workshop.. Sort of (in reply to RobF

That's cool Rob.
I've seen a few workshops in vans..Like was suggested above. But not seen one like that in a mobile home.

Shame that article doesn't have more pictures. But thanks for sharing. 👌
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 1 2021 8:27:33
 
JasonM

Posts: 1565
Joined: Dec. 8 2005
From: Baltimore

RE: Mobile workshop.. Sort of (in reply to Stu

I know a couple trim carpenters from the community wood shop and they all have mobile shops in their vans... with cabinets and workbench. One guy then converted his mobile shop into a mobile home after his girlfriend kicked him out. He lived in his van in the parking lot of the shop until he found another girlfriend lol

I used to work on boats and we had a sea going shipping container for a shop. Worked out great but during the hot summer months it was literally a metal oven! Like heat stroke within 5 minutes! So I took a plasma cutter and cut out a window in the back for a fan to circulate air which effectively converted it into a convection oven. No need to cook your hide glue.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 1 2021 16:57:44
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3013
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Mobile workshop.. Sort of (in reply to JasonM

While I lived in the Marshall islands I had a 20-foot shipping container for a work shop. We called them "boat houses." I stored spare gear and tools to work on my 34-foot sailboat. The container had a 15-foot workbench down one side, and big storage shelves at the end.

In the Marshalls, ten degrees north of the equator it gets up to 86 F in the summertime and only gets down to 76 F at night, while in the winter it only gets up to 86 F in the daytime and goes all the way down to 76 F at night. On the tiny islands the relative humidity stays at a constant 90%. Nine months out of the year the wind is always 12-15 knots from the east-northeast (the tradewinds), with an occasional light rain shower. In the summer the wind stops blowing and it rains hard for a long time every day (the doldrums).

My boathouse had a 16,000 BTU window air conditioner installed in a hole cut into one side. It required a 220v feed as part of the bootleg electrical supply, but the A/C barely kept up with the equatorial sun heating during the tradwinds--about a kilowatt per square meter. If the electricity conked out, you couldn't go into the container after about 10 AM.

If you had work to do on the boat, best get your tools from the boathouse fairly early and dingy out to the boat on the mooring. During the heat of the day you could open the hatches to let the breeze blow through while you cooled off in the shade below deck and had a cool glass of water.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 1 2021 22:58:20
 
estebanana

Posts: 7999
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Mobile workshop.. Sort of (in reply to JasonM

quote:

iterally a metal oven! Like heat stroke within 5 minutes! So I took a plasma cutter and cut out a window in the back for a fan to circulate air which effectively converted it into a convection oven. No need to cook your hide glue.


The funniest thing I’ve heard in months

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 2 2021 4:33:08
 
JasonM

Posts: 1565
Joined: Dec. 8 2005
From: Baltimore

RE: Mobile workshop.. Sort of (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

If you had work to do on the boat, best get your tools from the boathouse fairly early and dingy out to the boat on the mooring. During the heat of the day you could open the hatches to let the breeze blow through while you cooled off in the shade below deck and had a cool glass of water.


Oh what fun it is to contort the body into unnatural shapes between an engine and some hose digging into your back on a hot summer’s day. And then curse when you inevitably drop your flashlight into the dark depths of the bilge .
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 5 2021 2:58:47
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