19 Jan 2015

The Ball-O-Matic, The Carpet And The Perfect Garage

Having a garage means you can make it just right for your vehicles

The Ball-O-Matic of Perfect Placement doing a grand job

I moved into my house in September. It was the first time I'd ever had a garage into which I could fit a car.

Not only that I could fit my bike in it too, as well as a work bench and a bunch of cupboards, space for all those half empty bottles of oil that come in handy, as well as many, many cans of WD40, paint and, oddly, flea treatment.

Since I moved in I've personalised the garage. If you think about it a garage is just a big, cold space in which a man (or woman if she's so disposed) can put his stuff. It's very easy to fill it with junk so that the original purpose it was designed for, parking a car inside, becomes impossible.

So, with that in mind, I decided from day one I would make sure it was suitable to house the car and bike and that the workbench, which was in place when I bought the house, would remain clutter free and would be surrounded by all my tools.

The workbench, tools and bottles of oil and stuff

Once I'd cleared out all the junk left behind by the previous occupants (you wouldn't believe how much they left) and fitted the tumble dryer (with the hose poking out of the window) I rode the bike in and parked it near a plug point so I could leave it on an optimiser to keep the battery charged.

Then I drove the car in.

Three problems presented themselves. One was that the only way the car and bike would fit was with the front bumper of the TT touching the bike's rear tyre. This was not a good state of affairs - a slight nudge and the bike would go crashing down.

The solution was to get the jigsaw out and cut away a section of old kitchen worktop, which was pushing the bike toward the car, the previous owner had left, and on which I'd dumped a load of stuff. Having found the 'stuff' a new home and chopped the worktop the bike and car fitted grandly.

But the bike's front tyre then stopped me getting to the tumble drier. Bugger. I moved the old bedroom drawers in which I keep all my nails and screws from behind the bike and relocated it under the main workbench. 

Yes, that seemed to work. 
The bike now fits perfectly

Then came the matter of parking the car in the perfect position without having to get out and check it was far enough in and not too far forwards.

The solution to that was the Ball-O-Matic of Perfect Placement ™, which consists of a tennis ball attached to a length of string, hanging from the ceiling. I drive the car into the garage and stop at precisely the point the Ball-O-Matic touches the windscreen. I derive enormous satisfaction every time I use it. Hurrah!

Next up was the matter of the driver's door banging on the painted brick wall. The solution to that was a section of off-cut carpet cut to size and spray-glued (you should buy some, it's amazing stuff) to the wall.

Hey presto I can bump the door against the wall any number of times and it won't be dented, scratched or marked. More hurrah!
Hurrah for carpet!

The workbench is generally clutter free and the tools are usually where they are meant to be. Others might say it looks a mess but I know where everything is.

I recently made some bird-boxes for the garden on the bench and covered everything in the garage in a light dusting of sawdust. No matter, such are the travails of a man happy in his work.

Two things will happen this year that will throw the garage into disarray. One is that I have decided to learn to weld and will buy a welder. Two is that I'm selling the TT and will take delivery of a Volvo XC60 - which won't fit in the garage.

This could be seen as a disaster but no matter, I'm planning on buying a cheapo Mazda MX5 so the Ball-O-Matic will continue to be put to use, although its position will need to be fine tuned.

The garage might be out in the cold but it has good lighting and in the warmer weather of spring and summer I plan on spending many happy hours in it.
Garages are great

Tools, organised(ish)

By Matt Hubbard