Workshop Organization #1: Phase 1

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Blog entry by DBuonomano posted 01-25-2014 01:39 PM 1441 reads 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Workshop Organization series Part 2: The Workbench »

Like many of my fellow LJ’s my workshop is setup in half of my two car garage. My workshop has been setup over the last few years as I’ve acquired new tools, and taken on new projects. Because it grew gradually there was no overall design or plan behind the setup… it’s just kind of happened. I’m sure that sounds familiar to someone else out there…

So after I completed a couple of Christmas projects, the whole time muttering under my breath (or occasionally just cursing out loud) I decided it was time to make some changes. I started making my list of all the things I wanted to change about my shop:

Lumber Storage:
All my sheet goods are just stacked up against the wall, with lumber either on the floor or standing up leaning against the wall. This has lead to problems with a few boards and sheets becoming warped, and I can never find anything that I’m looking for when I need it. The pile of lumber on one wall/floor of my shop has also lead to a huge mess that requires constant cleaning and reorganization just to walk around it. Even my three year old talks about Daddy’s big mess… that was a true sign that something needed to be changed.

Workbench Issues:
There technically is a workbench in my workshop, but in practical use there really isn’t… My current workbench consists of two metal storage shelving units side by side with plywood on top. I didn’t take a picture of this before I got started with the updates, but here's a link to what it looks like. I had the full unit and only made it 3’ tall so I could have the two units side by side. These shelves were in the garage when we bought the house, so I just went with it. It was a temporary solution until I could build a real bench. You can use your imagination to guess what a bat setup this was. There’s no way to clamp anything, it’s flimsy, and on and on… Possible the worst part was that because it wasn’t useful as a workbench the top ended up collecting piles of stuff. The one thing that was useful was it had plenty of storage, but that’s because it was a shelving unit and NOT a workbench! This is a priority to resolve!

Poor clamp storage:
My clamps are currently in drawers, hanging on a nail that I drove into the wall, sitting on my “workbench” (see complaints above), or on any other flat surface in my workshop. This just made things a mess and impossible to find what I was looking for when I need it.

Too many bench top tools, not enough places for them
One solution for many of us with a small shop is to invest in smaller bench top style tools rather than dedicated machines. In my shop I have bench top versions of: Router Table, Bandsaw, Drill Press, Jointer and a miter saw. Right now these tools all get moved from their storage place (which is usually on the floor) to the “workbench” for use and then back to the floor to be stored again. This is one of my biggest complaints for my shop… okay, I have a lot of things that are my biggest complaint :)

So that’s it for right now, but I can promise you that there are MANY more things that I want to update in my shop. Along the way I’m happy to get any advise from fellow LJ’s in similar workshop situations or anyone else who feels like chiming in! Thanks for reading!

2 comments so far

View Farrout's profile


185 posts in 3180 days

#1 posted 01-25-2014 01:48 PM

Same problem here.
What are the walls of your garage made of?
I would recommend putting peg board on the walls to hold stuff.
As for bench mounted equipment, I bought roll around tool boxes and mounted band saw, belt/disk sander, and miter saw on top of the boxes.
Here is a link to that project:
Just a couple of idea from someone that’s been there, done that.

-- If we learn from our mistakes, I should be a genius!

View DBuonomano's profile


90 posts in 2121 days

#2 posted 01-25-2014 04:07 PM

I actually do already have a fair amount of pegboard (6’ x 3’) behind my workbench. I have everything from screwdrivers, saws, measuring and marking tools hanging there. That part of the shop isn’t an emergency to fix up, but definitely on my to do list.

I like your roll around carts, those are high priority for workshop renovations!

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