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Organizing work space


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Lior, here are some photos of my kitchen. I used to have open shelves but didn't like them, so IKEA had these that I love. I designed the table, which is on wheels, so I can move it to open up my space when working. It holds a ton of bulky supplies; one end has a bookcase for my reference materials; the other end has a sliding door cabinet that holds my caramel cutter safely away. The top is marble. Two big drawers that hold almost all of my tools....
I keep cardboard on the floor, easy, easy cleaning

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My chocolate room at work is 8' x 6', but I have a full kitchen with sink, dishwasher, etc. right next door.  Within this room I produce 200, 50 gr bars per day, maybe 100 bon-bons per day and a few other items.  In this room I have a 6' table, 2 full sized D+R 20 kg melters, one with a wheel, one D+R 10 kg melter, and one D+R vibrating table,  aprox 100 molds, and one baker's rack.


Prior to last year I had the marble slab on a cheap s/s 8' prep table--lousy idea, and I had the melters either on this table or another cheap 36" s/s table--another lousy idea.  Some of the molds I had in Ikea cupboards above my work space--another lousy idea.  I worked this way for almost 5 years and was constantly daydreaming on how to streamline and clean up the place.


During the past 9-12 months this is what I did:


I made a little cart for each D+R melter, each cart has guards on the corners so the melter can't slip off.  The carts are enclosed on 3 sides and underneath the melter I have shelving (cannibilized from an old baker's rack) that will accept the 12"x18" "Cafeteria style" plastic trays. I hasten to add each cart has two front swivel castors that lock two ways and two fixed rear castors with no brakes.


I took my marble slab (I'm cheap, it was only 3/4" thick, glued to a piece of 3/4" plywood) to a marble guy and got it chopped down to 6'.  Then I constructed my own work table out laminate covered wood.  It is 6' long and 30" deep, but the underneath is only 5' 8" long, so on one end I have an "overhang" of about 4 inches of the marble.  Underneath the table I made two huge drawers on glides that will accept the largest food grade plastic tubs available which is 18" x 26" and, I think, 12" deep.  All of my regular molds go in these tubs, and when I close the drawer, they are out of sight and out of mind.  I can take the tubs out of the drawers and hose them out when I need to.  The excess piece of marble slab will slide into the baker's rack, and it is on this piece that I pour out my caramel, and also makes a great weight for slabs of Italian nougat that need pressing.


Because I have the 6' table along a 8' wall, I have a empty space along this wall and the corner, and this is my "Docking station". My melter carts are made so the top of the melter is just shy of the underside of my marble slab.  So when I wheel in my cart, the marble slab overhangs right into the melter.  Not only is my melter now at belly-button height, (no reaching high above the melter anymore)  but I can scrape off any drips from the slab directly back into the melter.


I don't endorse having a cupboard right above your workstation, as crumbs, lollipop sticks, colours, etc have opportunity to fall down.  I should really take the cupboard down, but haven't yet.


The on/off switch on the vibrator was driving me crazy and the machine is loud, so I can only run in in 30-45 sec blasts.  Use your imagination when I tell you the switch was a mite chocolate covered.   I got a foot operated switch (this one uses a puff of air from a bulb on the floor) from a woodworker's catalouge and installed it on the vibrator--hands free now!.  I also cut an old Sil-pat mat to fit inside the vibrator tray so it's easier to clean--just take the mat out and scrape off the crumbs.


I also used to have the melters swathed in cling film in a feeble effort to keep them clean--lousy idea.  Basically the D+R melters are just giant soup warmers, a full sized hotel pan sits in tepid water.  When crumbs drop in the water it goes skanky very quickly, and if you don't have the melters on carts they are a bear to walk around with and empty into a sink.   What I did was cut up another old Sil-pat mat to sit around the edge of the melter--basically behaving like a gasket, but also with a 1" lip around the permiter to catch any drips--think of those rubber baby feeding bibs. I used to wash out those melters every day, now maybe once a week, and the water is crystal clear.  Also, with the D+R melters there are 4 threaded studs on the top, two on each long side.  These are supposed to be for clips to screw down and keep the hotel pan from floating up, but also for the optional  wheel assembly.  I cut a 4" wide piece of of plexiglass and drilled holes to accept the threaded studs.  This acts like a ledge, and stops spills, but can be removed quickly and scraped  down and tossed in the d/washer


On the walls I glued on sheets of laminate (aka arborite), you know the stuff you see on cafeteria table tops.  Compared to tiles, the stuff is very cheap, easy to install and provides a hard, smooth surface that allows you to scrape off plashes and sanitize very easy.



I'll try and post some pics, but I've been having trouble posting on this site



I st 

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Wow. Bob your table is a work of art- and so practical- excellent. You also have a huge fridge in there. DO you store your chocolate in it? I have a fridge with a glass door, like the one they use for beverages. I had a temp control device installed so it stays at 13-18. It actually gathers ice on the inside back, which an expert tld me was perfect as all the moisture is frozen in the ice and the fridge air is then dry. I hope it is so!

I have a piece of marble left over from the kitchen and although it is not so big, I can also do something similar, and it is still good to have a slab to do certain things. Your kitchen is really nice with real cupboards- keeps out the dust and etc.

Thanks for sharing- a dream kitchen! Edward, I would love to see pictures. It sounds incredible to have all that in such a tiny space. 24 sq feet, right? Your descriptions of what you have make me curious to actually see it all. I really love seeing and reading all the ideas people have. I think I will go to Ikea and see what I can get/afford. At least we have an Ikea here!! Thanks all.

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My reasons for posting my table is to show you what else you could do with your space - that table could be almost any size - and because it's on wheels, it's so easy to move it around to accommodate my work needs.

As to the refrigerator - I use the freezer for some of my ingredients - I use the refrigerator for cooling my molded pieces, for my butter, cream, etc.  but that's about it.  A quick chill unit. 

My daughter has other ideas for it though - it seems to be her beer cooler as well.   I admit, I've been known to test one or two of her beers for consumability - I wouldn't want her drinking bad things...I'm sure you understand.

I had open shelving on the walls at one point, but didn't really like it.  Messy, dusty -

I'm supposed to get my cabinet I designed for my guitar in a couple weeks.  I'll post pictures of that too if you want.  I promise to get them right side up

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  • 2 months later...

I finally got back to reorganizing my chocolate kitchen after an unfortunate 2 month interruption. I took a video but the sound is awful. Basically I thanked some of your for advice and other things. I think you will know who you are. Thanks again.


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