Plain Ol' Shops

Published on: 02:02AM Sep 19, 2014

 I'm guilty of getting giddy over "super shops" that some farmers have. It's hard not to be impressed with cavernous shops with polished concrete floors, enough lights for surgery, metal-topped tool benches, welders, plasma cutters, and more tools than a Snap-on tool truck.

But I've been keeping track, and most of the shops I've been in during recent service calls are plain ol' machine sheds with a slab of concrete at one end, a couple plank-topped workbenches and some storage bins. The deluxe version of a Plain Ol' Shop has a welder, a torch, a chop saw, a big air compressor and an actual mechanic's toolbox--though the most of the tools are scattered around the work benches and rarely actually in the toolbox.

The cool thing is that most of the farmers with Plain Ol' Shops get along just fine. Sure, they talk about putting concrete in the rest of the shed, installing heat and getting decent lights installed, but they never quite get around to it. But they get the necessary maintenance and repairs done on their equipment even though they're "roughing it."

Some farmers are shop rats who love working on equipment and spend all their spare time in their shop. Or they have a couple hired men or family members and can justify having a mega-shop to keep everybody busy and save money on maintenance and repairs. Other farmers work on equipment as needed but don't view spending time in their shop as a form of recreation. I'm still in awe of farmers with mega-shops, but the more I think about it, the more respect I have for the guys who get along just fine with Plain Ol' Shops.

As one proud owner of a Plain Ol' Shop told me, "If I had a fancy heated shop with all the bells and whistles, I'd have to be out there every day doing something, just to justify what it cost. With my ol' shop, if it's rainy or windy or cold and I don't feel like working on things, it doesn't bother me a bit to go into the house and watch Dr. Phil."