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Compact Shop Works Big
Monday, December 22, 2014 11:05AM CST

By Dan Miller
Progressive Farmer Senior Editor

Many farmers might consider Bill Rosener's shop small. But his shop is full of ideas and capabilities that make his space "work" much bigger than it is.

Rosener is a fabricator of most everything needed around his farm (he built the steel trusses shown here, right). The shop saves him money as he builds much of his own equipment and parts. "Maybe I need a cattle gate that is exactly 7 feet long. No problem. I can build it here," he says.

Located at the edge of Tahlequah, Okla., Rosener has built a highly useful, 1,320-square-foot building with separate clean and dirty work areas. One area is separated from the other by a door located in the middle of the shop. Each half can be accessed through separate service doors.

"In my old shop, dirt, dust, noise, heating and welding fumes [gave me] continual problems," Rosener says. The shop's new design addresses those issues.

The clean area is used for equipment repairs, painting and parts storage. The other area is reserved for tools that produce dirt, dust and sparks -- grinders, for example. When the center door is closed, fumes and noise can't contaminate the clean area.

Rosener found a supply of $1-per-foot steel, 2-by-4s. "Cheap," he says. He used them to build a wall of heavy storage shelves. He also erected a large overhead loft to create an up-and-out-of-the-way storage area.


Rosener brought 200 amps of electrical service into the shop. The power is divided between two 100-amp electrical panels. The panels gave Rosener flexibility to run 220-volt service to the locations where he needs it. He currently runs half-a-dozen machines requiring that service in addition to his other tools and electrical needs. All of his wiring is enclosed in conduit for safety and appearance.

Rosener's shop is lighted well and thoroughly ventilated. He uses the shop's five doors to control airflow and temperature. The largest door in the building is 10 by 10 feet.

The shop has two open-air wings or lean-tos, one on each side of the building. Together they create 1,100 square feet of covered space. The lean-to on the north side of the shop is new. Rosener built it to store a trailer and to provide cover for a heavy rack holding his steel supply.

Rosener does his welding work under the south-facing lean-to. The winter sun comfortably warms this area on most cold days. During the summer months, the same lean-to offers a shaded work area. This area was added to the building specifically for welding. It provides maximum ventilation for welding, grinding and using a torch. The welding space holds a pair of 4- by 8-foot portable welding tables. The welder and electrical outlet for the welder are installed next to an exterior door. Extralong welding cables allow Rosener to do his welding outside.


There is an abundance of storage inside the building. Rosener makes good use of four classic steel desks purchased at a surplus auction at Northeastern State University, where he teaches classes in computer-information systems. When the heavy desks are placed in pairs, they provide sturdy work surfaces. The desks provide 20 large drawers of storage space, each securely hung from pairs of heavy-duty ball-bearing slides.

"I told my dad I'd never fill those drawers. I didn't have enough tools," Rosener says, pausing, and then adds with a grin, "they're all full."

This shop, Rosener notes, gives him the confidence to buy used equipment. "Knowing I have this shop, I feel more comfortable purchasing and using older equipment because I have the shop to work on it."

This shop works for Rosener. It makes his work efficient. "Whether it is a loose bearing on an axle or a hydraulic leak, this shop allows me to turn rainy days [and] winter days into for-profit days."


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