Even if completely engrossed in their search for the perfect classic car to restore, someone starting out on a classic car restoration should set aside some of their time to make that they will have a place to work on their project.
The ideal situation for a budding restorer is to have access to a workshop attached or adjacent to their home, preferably one that is rent-free.
If that option does not exist, every effort must be made to locate a workshop that meets at least one of these criteria.
It's easy to dismiss the importance of working on a car rebuild in ideal conditions.
The truth is that many restoration projects fail because the restorer was unable to locate or establish a suitable workspace for their project.
If a safe place cannot be found to store or work on the restoration car, leaving it on the street or in a driveway is a recipe for disaster- both bad for the car's health while leaving it exposed to vandalism or theft.
Finding a suitable workshop might not a foregone conclusion, with a lot of factors needing to be considered:
The first is cost, followed closely by the working environment being clean and sound, capable of being heated or cooled, when necessary, watertight, well-lit, and with level floors.
While it is possible to work in cramped conditions, the experience will be unpleasant and will lead to inefficiency. The ideal workshop dimensions should be at least twenty feet long and fourteen foot wide, enough to comfortably house an average sized vehicle.
A lot of inexperienced restorers fail to recognise the drawbacks of having too small a space to work. They soon discover that a standard-sized lock-up will not provide enough space to work on all but the smallest of vehicles.
The workshop structure should ideally be made of brick, which is the most durable and heat-insulating material. Walls must also be strong enough to support medium to heavy equipment.
Water, gas, and electricity must all be connected to the building.
Three-phase power should be available, allowing for the use of powerful machine tools. Ideally, a few single-phase 5-amp power plugs should be strategically placed around the workshop's walls.
While strong electric lighting is required, no workshop can function properly without access to artificial lighting, which should be as strong as possible.
A coat of whitewash on all the walls and ceiling will be a worthwhile investment to improve vision.Easy access is also an issue, with most working garage workshops featuring roller doors that maximize floor space while also providing greater clearance at the garage entrance.
Retractable up and over garage doors are recommended for openings of eight feet or greater, or when the doors are programmed to operate automatically.
Some more modern workshops include insulation, which means that the heat or cold generated will be retained, protecting the vehicle and equipment from dampness and condensation.
The ideal workshop building can have a flat roof, with a pitched roof being the preferred option, or a floor above the workspace, providing auxiliary storage.
Many inexperienced restorers, eager to get started on their project, begin to cut corners and overlook the fine print at this point.
Before bringing the car, as well as the tools and equipment to be work on it to the workshop, proper insurance must be obtained to cover theft or damage, as well as the possibility of work accidents.
The restorer should also ensure that safety precautions are implemented and followed throughout the duration of the restoration project.
These are the fundamental requirements for restoration to be a viable and enjoyable proposition.
There are dozens of ways to organize a workshop, and much will depend on the restorer's available space and materials.
The most important thing is to create a clean and safe working environment, which will set the stage for a rewarding and successful restoration project.
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