Light house

So what does this blast from the past (that picture was taken on my second deployment overseas) have to do with the shop?  Well, mainly this: it’s dark.  I don’t even have to be wearing sunglasses or have a half-pack of cigarettes.

Usually I keep the back door open to the shop.  It lets a lot of light into my windowless cave workspace.  But it was so cold last week that I just couldn’t do it.  Add to this the fact that the fluorescent lights that I had in the shop don’t really want to work when it’s cold out, and it gets pretty dim in there.  This exacerbates my seasonal inclination to hibernate, and not a whole lot of work gets done.  So, a new fixture was in order.


This one is a LED system.  They hold up well in the cold, and unlike fluorescent tubes, don’t get covered in dust, further reducing light output.  They’re also cheap to run and I’ve never seen one burn out.  The problem with this particular apparatus is that it was intended to be hard-wired in.  I could have done that, but instead, I just used a piece of old extension cord to put in a plug.  I wired the connections and gave it a tug test before I taped it all shut.


Then, I wired in a new plug.


The track got screwed to a spine of yellow pine I had lying around, and was then affixed to my industrial chic drop fixture.  You might notice that it is a little lower than the lumber rack.  This is important because it puts a light under all those boards, and keeps them from casting a non-helpful shadow.


So how did it work out?  Well, here’s a before picture.  Notice especially how watery and feeble the light is over the vice.


Now have a look!  With the focused light from the individually adjustable heads (there are four on there at the moment), I can put all the light right where I’m trying to work.  If you’ve got a workshop that is a dank, dingy place to work, putting in some proper lighting makes a big difference.  Give it a try!