Sunday, April 3, 2011
I live in a small, one bedroom apartment. One bedroom, one living/dining room, one kitchen, one bathroom. Since the living/dining room is carpeted, guess where is left? Yup, my bench takes up a corner of my kitchen. This has some advantages: tiled floors, running water, good lightning. And one clear disadvantage: I don't want my food to be spiced up with silver fillings and a touch of jeweler's pickle, or to be flux fumed.
So having a clear separation of areas is a must. If I am working, all food is put away. There is good natural airflow, but both sets of windows must be open at all times (this also draws fumes away from food areas). And nothing moves from one side of the kitchen to the other.
The surprise bonus, however, is that the gas range is a great additional heat supply for some soldering situations: nice, even heat from all sides! Add a few charcoal blocks and you have a natural little furnace. All fluxing must be done beforehand, of course.
I admit I splurged on my bench. It is a custom made, hardwood monster (it nearly didn't fit through my door!) that I designed to have all the things I find necessary: secondary benchpin to the side for sawing, drawers, apron, an under the top shelf, slots for files to one side and, best of all, the perfect height for me.