Most work spaces don’t get thoroughly cleaned often enough. Sure, we
usually sometimes occasionally sweep the floor and put away our tools, but there remain those dark, slightly creepy corners of the shop that endlessly collect dust, debris, spare materials, and seldom-used tools. Those corners seldom never seem to get cleaned out.
I think it was an article by Toshio Odate that first suggested to me a year-end ritual of deep-cleaning one’s shop and tools. My cleaning ritual goes like this:
1. Clear everything I can off the workbench, especially those bits and pieces that tend to accumulate toward the back.
2. Pull the workbench out away from the wall, and clean under it. I’m always a little surprised that I don’t find rodent nests or mummified toads under there. But I do find a lot of loose hardware, wood scraps, and the occasional Lego piece.
3. Take everything out of my tool chest, vacuum out the tills and the bottom of the chest, clean and re-oil all the tools, and put them back. The picture above shows most of the tools that live in the bottom of my tool chest and in the saw and chisel racks.
I took the opportunity to cull some tools that I just don’t use any more, as well as various bits and pieces that have accumulated over the past year. Those will join some other “boneyard” tools in a cardboard box in the attic.
It took me only a couple of hours to get this small workspace cleaned out and tidied up. Now it’s ready for another year of working wood.