Phase 2

Large picture of the workshop (32K)Autumn 2000's task was to install a suspended ceiling. This was perhaps a bit unnecessary, but as I'd rescued enough framing from the work skip, it seemed a shame not to do it... All I had to buy was the tiles and lighting. This gave me the opportunity to get rid of the 6 spotlights that were doing a hopeless job of producing light.

Unfortunately, the recessed modules dictated that the height of the ceiling had to come down by about 6 inches, which caused me to lose the top shelf above the main bench. However, I took the chance to raise the remaining 2 shelves, which improved the overall layout. The top shelf was always a bit of a stretch anyway...

As you can see, the framing is attached to the bottom of that pine fascia you saw on the last page. I built a couple of fiddly bits to get around the brick pillars, and painted it with white gloss to match the frame. Unfortunately, I didn't have custody of the works digital camera when I did the installation, so there are no progress images...

Rather than frame the ceiling around the existing loft hatch, I decided to move it to the front workshop. Closing the old access hole was simple enough - just a few batons were required to support a new section of flooring.

I ended up with a total of 4 600x600mm units, fitted with Cat-2 louvres. Despite the huge increase in light, these help to keep glare to a minimum, meaning that it was no problem to use the computer. They are switched in pairs, and most of the time, you only needed one pair on. As a nice touch, I was able to make use of a small void formed by adding the fascia around the partition wall to hold the ceiling, which holds a pair of strip-lights which offer low-level light that is ideal for setting up TV sets.

Finishing the partition wall

The partition wall was left as bare chipboard - I originally intended to paint it with emulsion paint but that never happened... As the rest of the workshop improved, the rough finish annoyed me enough to persuade me to do something about it...

These pictures show you how things were. Click to enlarge them...

The layout of component drawers and shelves evolved in an ad-hoc manner, but at this point I needed to finalise the layout as once the Soundsorba is in place, it's not an easy matter to attach anything that wasn't provided for at this stage. I decided to lower the component drawers by an inch or so, and to rejig the lower shelves - I wanted to move the left support (under the TV) and also move the patch-panel to the left...

These pictures show the process - lengths of 1-by-2 are applied to the chipboard wall (attached by screws from the other side for a stronger fit - fun to do on your own!). Next, the Soundsorba offcut is carefully measured and cut out to fit. The first cut was horizontal - this enabled it to fit in the car! This is the worst part of the job, as you get fibreglass in your skin and on your clothes - horrible! The third image shows how it fits, complete with a length of 16mm quadrant moulding for effect. You might notice a piece of timber between the component drawers and the 4-by-2 frame - you'll see why shortly.

Next, let's treat the corner...

The first picture shows the corner, including detail of the fascia that holds the suspended ceiling. As you can see, it's a bit tricky. Basically, the plan is to stretch the fabric of the above piece of Soundsorba around the edge of the 2-by-4. Then, the gap between the 2-by-4 and Spur shelf bracket (brick wall) is closed with a narrow strip of Soundsorba (which is a tight fit to hold the fabric in place). Finally, the gap between the 2-by-4 frame and the large piece of Soundsorba just fitted is filled with a 12 inch strip of Soundsorba. I spent a bit of time working on the join between these two so that I wouldn't need to use a T-section piece. Finally, to improve the corner detail, I gently heated the fabric that covers the 2-by-4 - this causes the glue to melt and stick the fabric to the timber...

At this point, we've covered all that unsightly chipboard, but we are still left with that rough-sawn 2-by4 doorframe... This is all in the plan...

I decided to try my hand at concealment - works rather well, don't you think? There was rather more to this plan, which involved buying a slightly narrower door, and boxing in the entire door frame in a similar fashion, but sadly I never got around to it before moving out...

This time, I was determined to finish the technical facilities that I originally planned to include. The first phase of this is to provide a cable-route. The trunking was already in place in the mechanical workshop, so I needed to get the cables through the wall - after thinking about how to get through the fibreglass neatly without getting fibreglass on the cables, I realised that I needed a short pipe with a decent flange on one end - in other words a bass reflex port!

The next stage was to rebuild the shelves. For this, I decided to experiment with the router, and made a simple jig for making housing joints (known as dados in the US). The pieces fitted together neatly, using glue and pins.

The connection panel contains 3 UHF outlets and the UHF inlet to the TV set (hence the shorting link). Next is a scart breakout box, which has had the supplied 0.5m lead replaced with a longer, properly screened lead to reach the back of the TV. This is an absolutely superb facility, as it is extremely awkward to reach the back of the TV. It also has video and audio phono sockets, and these are used to extract an audio feed for the hifi.

Moving right, there's two BNC sockets (currently fitted with a shorting lead for no reason whatsoever). These connected to a mini-bay under the bench. A pair of phono sockets and a rotary switch follow - this is a 3-way selector that feeds into the 'video' input of the workshop hifi. One position is the TV sound mentioned above, next the phono sockets and the third position will connect to the under-bench bay.

Finally, speaker switching. The bottom row of 4mm binding posts are connected to the speakers-B outlet on the Denon receiver - a straightforward output for testing loudspeakers. The speakers-A connections feed the Rogers dB101s via a pair of switches that let you break the feed, enabling you to use the workshop speakers to test audio equipment. There's also a pair of BNC sockets which make it extremely easy to connect the 'scope across the signal.