Always Have A Clean Work Vehicle

A Tip For Business Owners – Always Have A Clean Work Vehicle

Have you ever been caught with your pants down? Not literally! I mean in a figurative way. Well, to get all of our heads out of the gutter, I’ll put it another way. Picture your car right now, what does it look like inside and out? Is the inside filled with receipts and half-drunk energy drinks? Are there remnants of an exploded meat pie down the side of the seat from that day you had to eat lunch in the car? Is the outside covered in bird droppings and dust? Now imagine that a high paying client asks for a lift and you must welcome that person into your filthy cesspool of a vehicle. That’s getting caught with your pants down! Years ago, I made this very mistake and from that day forward I’ve been taking my work Ute to a car detailing Ipswich service every fortnight without fail.

There are so many reasons to keep your work vehicle clean. Getting your car detailed is not a luxury, it really is a necessity, here’s why:

A clean car says a lot about you as a good business owner. It shows that you have attention to detail, a sense of pride in your work, and it adds to the branding of your business. Imagine yourself proudly driving around in a shiny work vehicle plastered with your logo. And of course, you never know when that special person may need a lift without notice. Get that sense of pride and get your car cleaned.

The finish of your work vehicle will not last forever, but you can make it last a heck of a lot longer with the proper care. A dusty car turns into a scratchy car with just one misplaced elbow or shopping bag in a carpark. Why would you want to drive around with dirt and dust particles on your car just waiting to scratch it up with the slightest touch? While we’re on the outside of your rig, let’s take a look at the bird, and heaven forbid, bat poo. The acidity in the droppings corrodes the paint and the wax coating of your car and this is going to cause long-term damage. Wash it all away and worry no more.

A clean car is actually good for your business OH&S policies. Grimy, smeary windscreens and cobwebbed mirrors make visibility almost non-existent, and this can lead to prangs, accidents, or full-on car crashes. The damage done to your vehicle or you, could be life changing, so just get your flamin’ car detailed and avoid the risk!

There are so many reasons to keep a clean work vehicle at all times, but the most surprising one is the mental clarity you can have as a result. Business owners have 50 different balls in the air at any one point. A clean, uncluttered work vehicle actually gives you the mental space you need to make decisions, feel confident, and work with efficiency. So, I hope you learn from my mistakes and never get caught with your pants down!

Getting The New Workshop Painted!

Carefully treating and staining a beautiful piece of Merbau heartwood is a satisfying job. Painting the interior of my new home workshop is not. When Jacqui and I built our first house back in the 80s, we thought we’d save a few bob and do all the painting ourselves. It was the worst experience of my life. From the flecks of paint in my eyes from rolling the ceiling, to the creaked neck I got from looking up all the time, to the constant bogging, sanding, painting, and then painstakingly washing all the equipment. Painting is not fun, and I would rather take a nail gun to the ‘old fella’ than undertake the job of painting the interior of a building again.
This new workshop is what my dreams are made of. It’s a big 9×5 metre ventilated shed with some pretty cool modifications. The walls have inbuilt recesses, cabinets, and shelving to house my tools and materials. There is even a slatted wall perfect for the odd ruler or nail to sit as a holding pace mid-job. You see, it’s not a simple paint job, and it would probably make the simple walls inside of a house seem like a dream to paint.

I knew I had to pick the painters for this job very carefully, a quick google wasn’t going to cut it this time. Here is how I decided to contract some commercial painters Brisbane contractors to paint the inside of my new woodwork workshop.

Residential painters are without a doubt, highly skilled tradesmen. They have the skill of painting a family home to make it look flash down to a fine art. Have you ever seen a domestic painter cut in a ceiling? It’s magnificent to say the least. My problem was that my workshop is very different from the inside of a house. It’s a big space with various surfaces and even some surfaces that require specialized hardy paint. This job was less about pretty, and more about function.

So, there are residential painters who have boatloads of experience painting houses, and commercial painters who do different business painting jobs every day. They are used to working on largescale projects with different kinds of surfaces. Commercial painters are used to working around the complexities of a business premise and essentially, my new workshop is as complex as any business could be.

(Here is a cool video on the process of commercial painting)

Commercial painters are equipped to paint around my modifications in the shed and can easily make all of my surfaces ready to use and tough to last. The job ended up being a dream. My commercial painters were able to give me a quote straight off the plan before my shed was even erected, and once the job was started, they were so speedy! The best part was I could enjoy my freshly painted workshop without paint in my eyebrows, a creak in my neck, or a graveyard of discarded brushes and rollers from failed cleaning attempts laying in the back garden. My commercial painters made me realise that painting a workshop can actually be enjoyable….as long as I’M NOT THE ONE DOING IT.

One Word: Life Saver

Needing help from time to time is part of life. As a bloke in my mid-fifties, I must admit I do find it hard to ask for help in most situations. I would never ask for help to open a jar of varnish, sand a table-top, or even change a tyre, but I recently found myself in a situation where I had no choice but to call for help. And I’m so glad I did!

It was Friday afternoon, I had two birds to kill with my one stone. My mission was to drop Jacqui off at the airport so she could fly to Mackay for the weekend to attend her niece’s baby shower. That was the first bird to kill. The second job was to deliver a custom-made whiskey cabinet I crafted for one of my old clients (a lingering obligation from pre-retirement times).

I had just kissed the Missus goodbye at the departure gate and was cruising along the M7 headed to Southbank, when my Ute started to splutter and lose power. I managed to limp it into a stopping bay, and with absolutely no idea what I might be looking for, I popped the hood. Of course, I couldn’t see anything wrong, and after trying to start the engine again and again, I resigned myself to calling for help. Tow truck Ipswich answered straight away and sent one of their trucks directly out to me. My experience was incredibly positive, and it made me realise just how invaluable a quality tow truck service can be.
My tow truck driver stayed in contact with me en route to where I was broken down. I received updates regularly to let me know when he was getting close. That gave me real peace of mind that help was on the way, and my stress levels plummeted.

I was surprised to find that my tow truck driver looked under the bonnet of my stationary ride to try and fix it first instead of hitching it up to be towed straight away. This is an awesome service that some tow truck drivers provide. If the problem is something simple, you could be on the road with the tightening of a bolt. If the problem is more complicated, the tow truck driver may be able to save you time by getting your car to a specialized repair place. And of course, he can give the mechanic a heads up on the way if he already knows what is wrong.

I was so impressed by the whole experience and even more when I received a highly detailed receipt that was essentially a paper trail of the entire process. Very handy for insurance, tax, or work claims.

When you’re in a pickle on the motorway, a good tow truck company can be the difference between an ordeal and a cinch. If you’re still wondering what was wrong with my old Ute… it was a fuel injector, but it’s been fixed and she’s running like a dream again.

Time To Clean Out The Old Workshop!

Humans are weird. We hold on to things we’ll never need because we hate to see anything thrown out. We buy houses and build sheds just so we have somewhere to put all of our stuff, and then we live happily for the next 20 years in denial about the growing pile of useless junk surrounding us. Until…. One day we go on a rampage and throw out everything in some sort of catharsis of the soul (and workshop). This happened to me and I’m sure you can relate.

My old workshop was very makeshift. I had all my gear set up in the double garage leaving no room for any vehicles. I hate to say it, but I was one of those people with a perfectly good double garage and two cars constantly sitting in the South East Queensland sun. When I retired, Jacqui prompted me to build the backyard workshop of my dreams. It was a lovely thing for her to do, but I have a feeling that while I was dreaming about a place to hang my tools and mount my table-saw, she was dreaming about avoiding another summer of seatbelt burn from getting into her boiling hatchback.

Once the new shed was erected, I got to work creating inbuilt cabinets and shelving to hold, hang, and display my gear. I even dedicated a whole wall to a custom peg-board so I could have a place for each tool and each tool in its place. This new workshop was going to have something the humble double garage didn’t – organization.

After the painters left on their last day, I started getting ready to move my gear across the back yard to the new workshop, quickly realising I was in over my head. On that first day, I did three Ute loads of rubbish before smoko. As my back was throbbing from the loading and unloading, and my head was aching from the constant puzzle of how to tie every load down, I decided I needed a skip bin.


I did some research and decided that the team at skip bin hire Ipswich were going to make this move so much easier. The skip bin arrived, and I immediately began turfing beat-up old freestanding cabinets and tables into the bin. The best part was with a dust off of my hands the rubbish was someone else’s problem. All I had to do was throw it in. I found things in that garage that must’ve been there for 20 years, old bottles of dried-up varnish, now smooth sandpaper, 5 metric tonnes of wood shavings, and about 47 thousand bent nails. I was able to banish it all into the skip bin and saved so much time and effort on dump runs. I actually think the money I saved on tip fees might have paid for the skip bin. I noticed Jacq adding a few old bits and pieces from the house too. After my gear was all set up in my perfectly organized shiny new shed, the skip bin was taken away and we parked our vehicles in their rightful place in the garage. My marriage has never been so great!

Why I Love Woodworking

From a backyard hobby to a lucrative career, back to a backyard hobby – Woodworking has been part of my life forever.

If you punch ‘woodwork’ into google, you get thousands and thousands of results. Woodsmen and women around the world, some professionals, some hobbyists, are living their best lives creating furniture, art, décor, and gadgets out of wood. Ask any keen carpenter why they love woodworking and then grab yourself a cuppa and settle in because their list of reasons might take a while to reel off. Here are some reasons why I love woodworking.

You know when you’re working on something and it’s just challenging enough but not too hard that you kind of get lost in the moment and you lose track of time? That feeling is called ‘flow’. Nothing gets me into my flow zone more than planning, measuring, cutting, carving, planning, and sanding (ok, I admit sanding is not my favourite but you get the idea). Woodworking is a wonderful cant-stop-thinking-about-it kind of endeavour where you can often find your current project taking up real estate in your dreams each night. It’s enjoyment you just can’t put down.

woodworking tools

Woodwork is the perfect mix of intellect and hands-on artistry, and in this modern world, it sure is nice to have something so tangible and long-lasting. You think of a thing, you make the thing, the thing is good. It’s a delightfully simple process and the sense of accomplishment is second to none.

Not to get too sappy (pardon the pun), but woodwork is primal and ritualistic. I love the feeling of finding a great piece of wood and adding to Its story. From commercially cut wood, to storm felled trees, to driftwood, each piece of wood carries a story that I become a part of. That piece of wood is transformed into something useful, beautiful, or both. Often, that piece of wood will be around long after I’m dead.

One of my favourite parts of woodworking is having my own retreat in the backyard with all of my tools. When I finish a piece, I love to grab a beer and potter around my workshop carefully sharpening my tools and putting them away in their own special spot. I then sweep the floor of my shed and call the wife in. We both pull up stumps in front of my finished piece and admire it over a beverage or 2 …buuuut it’s not long before I get those itchy hands and I start the process all over again. There really is nothing quite as satisfying as woodworking.

Welcome To … Words On Wood

My first attempt at woodworking was in the 70s in the backyard shed that my old man had turned into a kind of amateur workshop. I was 12 years old and up until then touching Dad’s tools had always been forbidden. Just when I thought I would always be a spectator in the carpentry world, I heard that magical word spill from Dad’s mouth, “Doyawannahaveacrack?”.

Although it was really 7 words, my dad, like most Aussie blokes, spoke by jamming all his words together. It was the best 7-word jam I had ever heard. I jumped at the chance and spent the rest of that week running home from school to peg my school bag through my bedroom door, grab a Passiona from the fridge and then retreat to the shed. I would stay out there building a wonky hinged jewellery box until I was called for dinner.

Since then, I’ve never really downed tools. I spent 35 years as a high-end custom wooden furniture maker in Brisbane, creating some one-of-a-kind pieces from incredible cuts of wood. Now that I’m retired, I still enjoy woodwork each and every day, but now it’s from my own shed in my own backyard, and I make one-of-a-kind pieces for family and friends. I always have a bit of a laugh when I think about how my life has changed from custom bar tops and tipi side tables to cots, chairs, and tables sized to fit the dolls of my granddaughters. Oh, if my old clients could see me now.


The upside is now I have time to write this blog and share my knowledge, experience, tips, and yarns with the world. If you’re a wannabe woodworker, a weekend dabbler, or a full-blown professional woodsman, this blog is for you. 40 years of furniture making experience will be coming at you thick and fast, so buckle in, grab a beer and your level, and let’s talk about woodwork.


If you’re still wondering about that wonky jewellery box, I gave it to my mum for Mother’s day and she still has it to this day!

Cheers,
Michel