The New & Improved Nerd Lab

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     Awhile back, I wrote about the conversion of my outside storage room into a modelling workshop which I ended up dubbing “The Nerd Lab”–a name inspired by Dale Dobeck’s (Step Brothers) “Beats Laboratory.”  Well, it didn’t exactly work out.

     Originally, I had a small worktable here in the Nerd Cave but it became quickly apparent that there just wasn’t enough elbow room for me and my son to work. When the thought occurred to me to turn that outside storage room (about 75 sq. feet) into a workshop, I was pretty psyched.  It seemed to have great potential. Then I actually moved into it and well…not so much. Here’s some pics I took a few months ago.
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      As you can see, it’s pretty cramped and my design style (“Late 20th Century Busy”) doesn’t exactly open up the room. Because it’s just a storage room, there’s no A/C vent, so in the Alabama summer, it gets toasty. And the winters haven’t been that great either, even with a space heater.  The lack of ventilation probably made it  a health hazard. I stained some small wood items for my wife and it smelled terrible in there for days. If you leave the door cracked at night to let in some Oxygen, you get swarms of Crane Flies within seconds—drawn to the light like Ben Carson to a nap. And while the fly strips hanging from the ceiling worked pretty well, they didn’t exactly class the place up.

     Then of course, being a (relatively) cool, dry place, it’s attractive to spiders. Homey don’t play that. At all.  A couple of summers ago, I killed something like 23 black widows between May and September. This place was Black Widow City and I was the freaking mayor. So no.

     Also, I finally got my spray booth and realized with all the work surfaces facing away from the door (by necessity), there just wasn’t an easy way to run the exhaust pipe out the door. And of course an open door means more bugs and eight-legged-freaks.

      Finally, there was the isolation from my  family. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a little time to myself.  I grew up an only child, so entertaining myself is second nature. Sometimes when I’m the only one with a day off, I just sit and savor the silence. But anytime I went out there to work, I felt guilty for abandoning the family.  Sooner or later, somebody would gravitate out and knock on the door. “Whatcha doin Dad?” The last night I worked out there, I sat down about 6:30PM. At 6:41 PM I get a text from my wife, “You coming in soon?” Ahhhhhhhh!

     So, I started wondering if there was a better way.  The garage isn’t much of an option since that’s where most of the black widows gravitate and it’s also as hot or cold as the storage room.  I’m pretty sure my son and daughter won’t volunteer to give up one of their rooms and bunk together so I can model in comfort. And there’s no way in Hades that I’m going to get to rock a modeling bench in the master bedroom.

     I was pretty much dead in the water.  Then, a couple of weeks ago, I was sitting on the couch in the nerd cave and I remembered my wife commenting on how much she likes it better with the hide-a-bed put away since it opens up the room and leaves so much room for activities. So many activities—the head starts to spin.

      And I thought, “Hmmm, if I slide the couch forward about 5 or so feet, I’d have plenty of room behind it for a 6’ table in front of the window. Right in front of the window is about as good as it gets for a spray booth/airbrush station, not to mention natural light.  I jumped up, started moving stuff around and, sure enough, it looked promising. I got a nice plastic folding table from Office Depot though I might replace it with something nicer down the road.

      Does the room seem more crowded? Sure. But I prefer to think of it as “cozy.”  And I certainly feel like I’m getting maximum use from the space. This isn’t necessarily the final configuration, but here’s a pic of my set-up in progress of being set up:

The Nerd Lab v 3.0

The Nerd Lab v 3.0

     I still have the original metal desk in here that I use to post items on eBay and ultimately plan to use for podcasting. I also still have the outside storage room, now dubbed, “Nerd Lab West.”  There’s a few modeling tasks that don’t lend themselves to being done in the house.  So I’m keeping it for heavy sanding jobs, Dremel work, scenery work, and of course, I still use it to store the always-expanding kit stash.   I have moved some kits into the Nerd Cave just because I like looking at them though.

     So now that I don’t have to drag my butt outside in the rain to sit and choke on the stale air or dodge the venomous spiders, what’s on my to do list? I’m still saving up for my airbrush and compressor. I’ve decided to go a little higher end than the setup I lost in the fire and it’s taking me some time to put the dough away.  In the meantime, I’m working on construction and seam filling on a Creature From The Black Lagoon kit, an Alien kit, Maximillian from The Black Hole. On top of that, I’m starting a project to model a diorama of a modern version of the movie Duel. I’m still using a beat-up 70’s Peterbilt tanker truck, but instead of a ’71 Plymouth Valiant, I’m going to have the truck bearing down on either a Smart Car (if I can find a kit) or a Mini Cooper.  I just need to find a little 1/24 scale Dennis Weaver.

     Well, that’s about it for the kid. As always, thanks for stopping by and stay nerdy my friends.

Copyright 2016 It Came From The Nerd Cave