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Old 03-25-2014, 05:07 PM   #1
christopher.layton
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Default One Car Garage Woodshop

EDIT 12/29/2014: We've moved, the new shop's journal can be found here:
Hood River Workshop

Here begins my garage/woodshop build journal.

A little history: I worked for a solid wood door building shop (there were three of us) and had a small furniture building business (there was one of me) until the recession really hit and I found a different occupation. Now I have a little mid-century modern house I want to work on and build furniture for and want a place to do it. My wife thinks this is a great idea and has given me the green light with a hitch: this has to be a self funding endeavor, I can buy any tool that I want as long as I pay for it with woodworking jobs. Sounds like a plan.

I've been browsing this site for a while, gleaning some really good ideas, but I haven't found exactly what I am planning. So I thought I'd throw my virtual and metaphorical hat in the ring. I definitely welcome input!

Here is what I have to work with:

A single car garage, 10.5’ wide and 18’ deep. It’s small. My possibly overly-ambitious goal is to build a wood shop in such a way so as to get one mid-sized car in the garage with all the tools put away.
Some steps along the way:
  1. Build a bench and storage for the back wall.
  2. Organize all the stuff that needs to live in the garage.
  3. Electrical work: put the garage on its own 110 circuit and wire in a couple 220 outlets for the bigger tools.
  4. Purchase tools appropriate for the small size of my woodshop.
  5. Surely something I haven’t thought about yet!
  6. Build a lean-to shed on the outside of the garage for some lawn equipment and the dust collector

The first thing I did was to buy a table saw that I can’t yet use. Smart move, huh? The saw is an old (1980) Rockwell Model 10. Someone replaced the stamped metal wings with cast iron wings from a Unisaw and installed a Biesemeyer Fence along the way. I think it’s about the biggest saw I can reasonably fit in the garage, and it was cheaper than even the cheesiest job-site saws sold now. I could rewire the saw for 110, but since I will be needing to do some sheetrock-off wiring anyway, I figure that 220 would a better long-term option. The saw was a good deal, and I needed to know how high to make the bench.

Anyway: here it begins, and it may take a while to finish. I had the presence of mind to take a couple of before pictures.

Before Pictures:



Last edited by christopher.layton; 12-29-2014 at 07:09 PM. Reason: Typos. New Thread Announcement
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Old 03-25-2014, 05:12 PM   #2
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Default Day One.

So it begins.

Today I had a good-sized chunk of time to work in the garage. About 6 hours. I replaced a few of the original rafters that were cracked or rotting. I made a shelf for storage above the back wall of the garage. I also made some storage above the garage door, similar to the storage over the back wall.
Finally I started my workbench. I used the EAA standardized workbench as inspiration for the workbench, adjusting the height and leg positioning so I can fit the table saw under the bench and a future 6” jointer will nest in the corner.

Next up:
  1. Extend storage shelf around the sides of the shop
  2. Trim work on the bench and finish the top with linseed oil and wax


Last edited by christopher.layton; 03-26-2014 at 01:19 PM. Reason: Typos, added link.
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Old 03-25-2014, 06:38 PM   #3
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Default Re: One Car Garage Woodshop

Welcome to GJ
Can you post the tools or storage cabinets you know own? That will give us ideas in what you have to work with.

What do you need to produce your furniture? Where can you keep the wood prior to production?
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Old 03-25-2014, 06:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: One Car Garage Woodshop

Thanks for the welcome, and the reply.

Because I worked in an established shop, I didn't have any stationary tools until I bought the table saw. I have some small tools: routers, various saws, compressor, etc.

Pictures:
Home-made mobile tool cart, with my dad's old craftsman chest on top.


New to me table saw (craigslist picture: my saw, not my shop).


A router plate will go into the table saw's extension.

I plan to pick up these stationary tools:

6” jointer
Small dust collector
12” planer
tabletop-sized drill press
14" bandsaw
Large dovetailing jig (Leigh or Omnijig)

I've been storing about 280 bd/ft of redwood in the rafters, but I don't think that's a permanent solution. I'm not sure yet where I will be storing wood in the future.... Haven't thought that part through yet.

Last edited by christopher.layton; 03-25-2014 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 03-25-2014, 07:55 PM   #5
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Default Re: One Car Garage Woodshop

Welcome to GJ
Can you post the tools or storage cabinets you know own? That will give us ideas in what you have to work with.

What do you need to produce your furniture? Where can you keep the wood prior to production?
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:08 PM   #6
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Default Re: One Car Garage Woodshop

You must use correct terminology here. Not a homemade tool cart but a repurposed cabinet that has become a mobile tool cart. The Craftsman tool box can be identified by other experts here on what era/vintage it is from. They may require more photos.

Each tool you have should have a clear work area around it. Can anything be done outside during good weather. Like breaking the wood down?

It's agreed by all here that all the bikes, strollers and lawn equipment need to live somewhere else. How big is the lean to you are planning? You may want to take everything like that outside one nice day and measure the area around all of it.

The shed or lean to will never be big enough.

Is that an electric panel near the man door for the garage?
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:19 PM   #7
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Default Re: One Car Garage Woodshop

Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher.layton View Post
Thanks for the welcome, and the reply.

Because I worked in an established shop, I didn't have any stationary tools until I bought the table saw. I have some small tools: routers, various saws, compressor, etc.

Pictures:
Home-made mobile tool cart, with my dad's old craftsman chest on top.


New to me table saw (craigslist picture: my saw, not my shop).


A router plate will go into the table saw's extension.

I plan to pick up these stationary tools:

6” jointer
Small dust collector
12” planer
tabletop-sized drill press
14" bandsaw
Large dovetailing jig (Leigh or Omnijig)

I've been storing about 280 bd/ft of redwood in the rafters, but I don't think that's a permanent solution. I'm not sure yet where I will be storing wood in the future.... Haven't thought that part through yet.
If you check out The Salt Life thread, he hangs his lumber from brackets mounted to the ceiling of his garage. Maybe page 4 or so? Won't work for plywood, but for 1x, 2x, 4x stuff it looks like it will work mighty fine.
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: One Car Garage Woodshop

Thanks! Ideas like this are why I decided to document this project here.
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:01 PM   #9
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Default Re: One Car Garage Woodshop

Quote:
You must use correct terminology here. Not a homemade tool cart but a repurposed cabinet that has become a mobile tool cart. The Craftsman tool box can be identified by other experts here on what era/vintage it is from. They may require more photos.
Ha! Well, the cart wasn't repurposed: I built it myself. It was one of my very first woodworking projects—poor design and wasted space and all. I would be curious about when the tool chest was made. I think the brown crinkle finish signifies that it is a machinist's chest.

Quote:
Each tool you have should have a clear work area around it. Can anything be done outside during good weather. Like breaking the wood down?
I have the driveway, and plan on putting all stationary tools on mobile tool bases for that reason.

Quote:
Is that an electric panel near the man door for the garage?
It is, and that makes things pretty easy. One of my next projects is to take the sheetrock off that whole wall and insulate and do some electrical work.

Thanks again for the response. Keep the ideas coming!

Last edited by christopher.layton; 03-25-2014 at 09:21 PM. Reason: Typos
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:04 PM   #10
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Default Re: One Car Garage Woodshop

Hi Chris, Chris here (originally) from Seattle. I am sq.ft. challenged as well. Love more info on your mobile tool cart if you can post it, and >subscribed<.
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:47 PM   #11
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Default Re: One Car Garage Woodshop

Oh man, I just took a quick look at your shop and you definitely feel my space constraints. Duly subscribed!

Here are a couple of pictures of the mobile tool cart when it was fresh and shiny in 2006. In retrospect, there is some wasted space inside where the drawers are, I am sure you wouldn't make that rookie mistake. Otherwise, the cart is made of 3/4" plywood (poplar, or similar), put together with pocket holes. On the inside and outside flanking the drawers I recessed some pegboard (painted black). There is a shelf and a power strip wired into open space that are hard to see in the pics. The power strip is mounted to the underside of the top. I cut a piece of plexi for the top of the cart: it's easy to scrape glue and junk off. I might do some things different in hindsight: plexi is expensive, I would probably use some melamine or similar now.


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Old 03-25-2014, 10:07 PM   #12
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Default Re: One Car Garage Woodshop

Here is my take on a small wood shop.

A few years ago, around Hurricane Ike time, I'd planned to go to Galveston and buy a derelict sailboat to rebuild. I would need a fairly complete cabinet shop, mechanic shop and the ability to do fiberglass, electrical and plumbing. I didn't plan to move there permanently but to work out of a box trailer. I spent a lot of time planning this out (for my needs and to my capabilities).

1. I planned to use a common tool stand like this as the center of the work process. The top is designed to accept a standard base with "quick" attachment that allows each tool to align with the fixed motor/pulley. Each tool, table saw, band saw, 6" jointer, planer (although there are motorized ones that could use their own power), and drill press would be mounted on one of the standard base. The front of the trailer would be a wall cabinet with cubby holes for each tool. In your shop, one could stack them to the ceiling and use an overhead hoist to get them up/down.) You won't need to, but I'd planned to use a portable generator for on site power (on the hard in the ship yard). I had plans for a knock-down work bench from the workbench book from Fine Woodworking (IIRC).

2. Knock down saw horses could be used as stands for accessory tools, work stations/tables or for working on long projects.

3. Camp awnings to provide shade and protection in mildly inclement weather. Like for the back yard, porch or driveway.

4. Rough cut stock can be stored outside under cover until needing to enter the work cycle. I'd suggest barn tin instead of tarps, which last about 1 week before the wind or sun destroys them. Then, bringing it inside to drop the moisture content to desired level. 80% - 20% outside then 20% - 9% (or whatever) inside rather than 80% to desired all inside.

5. Don't forget the BBQ pit for the evening meal!

This system would be thought to be slow as molasses by most woodworkers used to stand alone machines. But plan ahead and gang the work so that you minimize the number of machine changes.

Kind of like a home designed Shopsmith. But with the wife's requirement you can acquire the tools over time and get betted than Shopsmith quality.

You've got a good start with the table saw. I don't know if I would like a router on the wing of the TS vs a router on a tool stand. The later seems stouter since router work is semi-precision work.

G'luck.

Dave, not needing to down size working in his 30 x 36 wood (mostly) shop.
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Old 03-26-2014, 12:09 AM   #13
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Default Re: One Car Garage Woodshop

I am sure if you post more photos of the tool chest, someone can provide a lot of history of that style
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:01 AM   #14
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Default Re: One Car Garage Woodshop

Thanks for posting. I am looking forward to following your progress.
I have a similar issue in terms of space and found the more mobile I can make things the easier it is all round.
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Old 03-31-2014, 10:42 AM   #15
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Default Slow and steady ...

Not a whole lot of time for working in the garage, but I did spend more time than I’ll admit to browsing this site. A lot of great ideas and a lot of really talented people here. Already I have expanded my vision of what this will look like quite a bit.

In the couple hours I had this week I extended the storage above the bench, waxed the bench so I could start using it, and spent a couple of hours organizing. It still feels like two steps forward one step back. My new and all-too-briefly clean workbench is littered with stuff that needs organizing. I have stowed many things thinking, “When I build X I will have a proper place for this.” I have managed to get quite a bit off the floor. I’m looking for some milk-crate sized storage containers that are affordable for above the bench, any ideas?

Next up: tearing down the sheetrock on the west side of the garage for some insulation and electrical work. Oh, and part 2 of the bench. And that lightbulb—it has to go too.
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Old 03-31-2014, 11:06 AM   #16
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Default Re: One Car Garage Woodshop

I'm interested to see how you make the woodshop work! Sounds like you have some good plans!
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:58 PM   #17
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Default Re: One Car Garage Woodshop

Good stuff, can't wait to read and see the progress!

I'm also a woodworker (although still much more in a learning phase compared to you I suspect). My thread (see signature) is a long read, and I opted to give up on trying to allow vehicles to share space with my woodshop, but there may be some tidbits that are useful to you.
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Old 03-31-2014, 03:28 PM   #18
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Default Re: One Car Garage Woodshop

Welcome. You have a great start and yes you can certainly do woodworking in that amount of space. The key is mobility, and outside weather. That is what I do. Actually, I TRIED to woodwork inside my shop, and found I could, but the mess is unacceptable. I just spent about two weeks cleaning up my mechanics tools and found I don't want to have to do that again!! I have tried everything, but putting casters on the wood machines and taking the whole thing OUTSIDE is the answer. This works, of course, if you have good weather, but not so keen if you live in the snow belts or cold areas.
You have a super rolling red cart. I like it and I like your storage, and the craigslist saw you got.
Just keep on with it and your shop is going to be super!!

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Old 03-31-2014, 08:16 PM   #19
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Default Re: One Car Garage Woodshop

Thanks for the feedback and encouragement everyone!

rieferman, (uncapitalized like bell hooks?), I spent quite a bit of time today going through your thread, and you look to be quite good at both the woodworking and also the carpentry thing. My shop may yet be a car-free zone. I suppose that depends on the car I have and how many projects come my way. My wife has quite the list queued up already, which is fine by me.

HSpencer, I am hoping that a good dust collection strategy keeps mess to a tolerable levels. Relying on outside weather would really put a damper on thinks. And speaking of damp, I live in the pacific NW, which is legendarily so.
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Old 04-07-2014, 12:23 PM   #20
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Default Re: One Car Garage Woodshop

I didn’t really have time to work in the garage this last week, so this is sort of a non-update. It is end of semester time, so I probably won’t have much time for the next few weeks. I did spend some time getting permits and electrical help set for the electrical work (not very exciting or photo-worthy).
more exciting than permits, I did pick up a new tool off craigslist, a 6” long bed jointer. The mobile base should arrive today. This tool will nest under the bench to the left of the table saw.

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