One Step Before The Other . . .

As I said a few weeks ago my family and I are moving to a new home across town, and that means my shop is moving too. Having moved shop many times I thought some of my experience could help others.

First, the tools of the trade.

I am very partial to plastic tote/tubs for a shop move. Even the cheep ones hold up better than cardboard boxes. Plus, cardboard boxes attract and hold on to moisture, and these plastic totes do not. If a mason jar of finish happens to break inside one tote, the problem doesn't spread to others.

I throw a moisture absorbing desiccant pack into each tote, The little packages that come inside nearly every boxed/sealed item you can buy. The only drawback to these is the slanted sides. I wish they made them straight sided and some of the pricier ones are, but I'm not wrapped up enough to pay double for it.

I buy the 10 and 20 gallon variety, Anything that doesn't fit inside these sizes can probably be dealt with in another way more effectively. I find the larger ones become too heavy to deal with. I pack them carefully paying attention to the weight and balance. The tote pictured above looks heavy because of the wood piled on top, but beneath is my steam generator, basically an empty plastic jug, so the wood applies extra gravity to even the equation. .

The other two essential supplies are painters tape and a cling wrap roll.

The roll is great for binding together like size and length items. my pipe and bar clamps get this treatment, I bind my sticking board to my long doe's foot bench helpers. Packages of board stock together. The wrap is a fixture in my shop anyway, used in oddball clamping situations for instance, I might as well make use of it's intended design when moving.

I use the painters tape for multiple things too. Sometimes binding a box with a weak clasp closed before tossing it in the tote, but often I use it to protect sharp edges.

It's a fairly well known trick to make a tip protector by wrapping painters tape around a chisel edge inside out (with the sticky facing out) letting the tape stick to itself and then dunking the tape into Plasti-dip to give it some form and permanence. (See Chris Schwarz make some HERE) I'm not interested in making a bunch of guards I'll never use again so I just wrap the edges in blue tape sticking it to the steel. taking care to bunch up extra along the cutting edge to create a little bumper guard.

I don't think of it as a long term storage solution, I tend to think the adhesive might promote rust over time, but for a couple months while I have things in transition it will do the trick and keep me from having to grind and polish out big nicks and busted edges. Blue tape comes off pretty clean and when there is any residue I have plenty of denatured alcohol and GooGone to make that go away.

When it comes to moving solutions I do have a small collection of long plastic toolboxes I bought for moving shop with many times ago. These are just long enough to fit tools I want to transport and protect well, like my turning chisels.

More ideas next time.

Ratione et Passionis


  1. I have a rule about moving called the 1/3 rule. Every time you move, get rid of 1/3 of your stuff. Keeps you from accumulating too much junk over the years. But with a shop? I don't know - maybe just apply it to scrap wood. ( I just know I can use that 1" x 4" x 3/4" piece of cherry some day!) Good luck with the move.


  2. I'm a fan of Ronsonol lighter fluid. It's clean, non oily and doesn't smell to bad. I get it at Walmart at the checkout or sometimes they have back with the tobacco and you have to ask.


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