The Founding of a New Workshop

The problem was as follows: George had his own workshop with all the necessary equipment, but it was 100 kilometres away from where he actually lives. Matthew had a small workshop in his parents’ basement, but it was far from professional, and he also lives in a remote part of the city. And Peter… he didn’t have a workshop at all.

He was the one who suggested renting a small premise somewhere near, so we could spend more time actually making knives. Matthew was already in Harrisburg by the time this conversation took place, so George and Peter started looking for a suitable place. They didn’t have to spend much time searching: an old shipyard turned out to have premises to let in the neighbourhood.

Slowly left to rot: a lot of small companies thrive in the carcass of the once great Ganz Danubius shipyard

After the first inquiry, we calculated the costs of running the place, and they seemed reasonable enough to rent it.

Needless to say, the rent was cheap for a reason: the whole place seemed like the typical post-war building interiors, minus the bullet holes. Being an old shipyard also means that it is in the flood area of the river Danube, which means several floods in the past and possible ones in the future. A lot of work was ahead of us.

This is how the premise looked like when we moved in

So, how does one build a workshop from scratch? That’s an easy one:

  • Step one: clean everything down to concrete. Trash everything not necessary, keep and organize the rest.
  • Step two: build the vital infrastructure: solid routes, electrical wiring, basic means of storage.
  • Step three: install vital machinery: a drill press, a grinder, and a welding machine.
  • Step four: let the workshop build itself.

That’s what we did. Step zero was to buy a used drill press and a used grinder, while George borrowed his father’s welding machine.

The workshop after some cleanup

Then we trashed everything in the room besides some shelves and cupboards. We also trashed two moldy tables, kept the tabletops and built a frame under them from square tubes. Now it’s our worktable. Then came wiring up the room: we needed three phases for the machinery, which meant a lot of electrical work. We also cleaned out the place and the corridor leading to it, so we could move around easily. We kept a number of shelves: these were quickly occupied by handle materials, power tools, consumables and Peter’s garbage stuff. It was a mess, but we left it as is for the time being – we would return to this matter when the workshop was set up and ready to work.

Our (sort of) brand new worktable: Peter is working to install the drill press on it. We also filled the shelves with our handle materials by this time

Then came the machinery: we had to realize that a basic knife making workshop doesn’t need that much in this regard, so we finished this work relatively quickly. It is worth to note that the speed and efficiency of work grows exponentially from step one through step four, so the work done in step four was as much as all the prior steps combined, but took only a fraction of the time! This was the time to install Peter’s belt grinder, make a lot of storage facilities, install some safety and comfort features, and combining all of these from a collection of tools, machinery and material storage into a living workshop.

We know no such thing as a complete workshop, but this picture is pretty close to it. Beyond the door is the chaos we purged from here

Considering the initial state the premise was in, both Peter and George were surprised how smoothly the work went. They started the construction at the very end of september and by the start of november, Cerberus Cutlery had a real place to operate.

This was the last time our assembly table was this well-organized

This was high time, because the crew had finished the test period and the material for the first batch of knives has just arrived. But more about that in the next post. Don’t forget to share this article with others if you enjoyed reading it, and stay with us!

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