November 15, 2011

How-to book showing electrical wiring
Photo by Jim Ruen
Before adding lights and outlets to my new workshop, I need to refresh my electrical-wiring skills with how-to books.

The shop is starting to come together. It’s still a mess, but it’s getting closer—at least in my head if not in real life. While tools have been moved in, the shop is only in the rough-draft stage of development. I should have it all worked out soon, but the plan continues to evolve. 

One of the reasons for plan revision is because I’m relearning old skills. Years ago, while a young farmer, I took a class in electrical wiring. This broad overview was intended for those little wiring jobs that come up around a farm, adding fixtures to an existing circuit or adding a new circuit. Using what I had learned, I rewired a pig nursery and did other small repairs. Years later, I wired the unfinished portion of a house we had bought.
Now I’m wiring my small shop. The problem that amateurs like myself face is recalling the basics that lay largely unused for years. That’s one reason I rely on a professional for most jobs, like running conduit and cable to the shop. The professional has the tools and craft to quickly do a superior job. I was reminded of what I had forgotten as I pondered my shop redo.

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I knew where I wanted lights and additional outlets, but had to revert to my how-to books for a refresher course before continuing. I then retraced my wiring plan with indicators of where the power needs to flow through or past switches. I’ll also trace out the common connections for the various outlet boxes and fixtures.

It’s only a small wiring job and I know I will take hours for a job the pro could do in a fraction of the time; however, it will give me the option of making changes as I go and refreshing old skills.

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