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Just hanging around ...

Posted by Dave Bull on September 14, 2011 [Permalink]

The two printer-trainees were here yesterday morning, and we got a lot done together. But after they left, I wasn't able to close my front door ...

Bit of a story here ...

I have lots of bad habits. Of course we all do, nothing special there. But recently - since I 'opened up' the workshop to these other people, I have been thinking about my own habits, and how such things can set a precedent that will have ramifications down the years, and not all good!

Bit of a sidetrack ... I worked for many years in a music shop in Canada. We were mostly a wholesale outfit in the early years, selling to school music programs. Because of this business pattern, we had no actual 'shop', but worked out of a series of scruffy warehouses. And they were indeed scruffy; the boss was not a person much concerned with appearances, and 'Leave that broom alone ... just get on with the work!' may have been a phrase heard around the place sometimes.

As the years went by, the business took on the character of the boss, if you can see what I mean. It reflected his choices about what was important, and what wasn't. Nothing wrong with that, but when we spool ahead a number of years, to the point where the business had grown and transformed, and we had opened a retail shop ...

You can see where this is going.

OK, so Dave now sits here in his Ome workroom, and although many years have gone by since those music store days, he remembers the experience. For more than 20 years, I have been sitting here working alone, and the place totally and absolutely reflects my own character. There is nothing wrong with that, except for one thing - even I don't like working in such a messy and chaotic environment!

But if I do nothing; if I let these new workers just slide into the status quo here ... we'll never be able to change it.

So I have tried to make sure that they don't 'do as I do', but 'do as I say'. And of course, I am failing completely. On our very first day, I instructed Tsushima-san about how to wash and care for her brush after using it each time, and that day she did indeed do that. But a week later, she was following my own habit of just putting it down, and letting the 'used' brushes build up until you could no longer find a clean one ...

We actually joked about this, and I (mildly) protested about her behaviour, but nothing changed. Until the other day, when the second printer-trainee arrived. Crap really started to build up on our benches and we had a little pow-wow. It was obvious that with the change to a multi-person shop, if we didn't start to get things nicely organized, we would soon be in chaos. So at the end of the session that day, the three of us trooped up to the sink(s) upstairs, and had a good brush-wash session. And we have kept it up since then ...

But about that photograph ...

Washing brushes is easy - hold them hair side down under running water and scrub until most of the colour is gone, while avoiding wetting the wooden handle as much as possible - but drying them thoroughly is difficult. We use a salad spinner to get rid of most of the excess water, spinning them in pairs, but the next stage is awkward.

If you lay them on their backs, the water drains down into the wooden handle. If you stand them on the hairs, the tips are damaged. If you lay them on one side, the hair gets 'crimped' on that side as it dries ... My own habit has been to lay them on one side, and then switch back and forth each time I happen to walk by the table on which they are drying.

Tsushima-san wasn't willing to give up so easily though, and she showed up this morning with her solution, which you saw hanging in the doorway in the photo above.

She started with a drying rack for hanging socks, removed some of the clips, and replaced them with some clips with wide jaws that she found in a dollar store. Presto! The perfect way to hang brushes for drying!

The brushes can drain properly, no pressure is on the hair at all, no dust gets onto the hair, and there is wonderful air flow for getting them dried quickly.

The rack goes in the entranceway until I need to close the door, and at that point I move it indoors onto a hook we prepared for it just at the top of the basement stairs, where there is a steady airflow.

Now why didn't I do this twenty years ago?




Added by: Dale on September 15, 2011, 10:31 am

What a great idea! Simple, effective, brilliant! You probably didn't do it twenty years ago because those fancy clips just weren't available. I'm sure the idea will spread (there's a pun in there)...

Added by: Margaret on September 20, 2011, 3:41 pm

I have that rack! Muji is wonderful.


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