Setting up my new basement shop #1: I don't even know where to start..

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Blog entry by Dan posted 03-27-2015 06:32 PM 2517 reads 0 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Setting up my new basement shop series Part 2: Prepping the concrete walls. Could use some advice. »

Hey guys! I am just starting to get back into woodworking after about a two year break. A number of life events happened that just kind of put me in a funk and kept me out of the shop..

One of the bigger things that happened was the passing of my father. He was a woodworker and is one of the reasons I got into it myself. After his passing I was left with my parents house and decided to move there with my family. I had to say goodbye to my detached two stall garage workshop that I had spent the past 6 years turning into the best work shop that I could..

Here is my old shop..

I have decided that in my new house I will be putting the workshop in the basement. This is also where my dad once had his workshop. Sadly he got out of woodworking when he got older and the basement became a place to put junk.

Here is what I now have to work with.. These will be the before pics.

Before I really move any of my tools into the new shop I have to sort through all the old junk down there and decide what to keep and what to toss.. My dad saved every single screw, nail, bolt, washer and fastener you could think of..

My first step once I get the basement cleaned up and empty is to figure out the walls. I am debating of putting up some strips and covering the concrete walls with plywood so that it is easier to randomly hang tools and hooks. I also plan on painting all walls white like my last shop as it really helps with the lighting. Speaking of lighting that will be the next step. I need to get some better lighting in there and possibly some more outlets.

I will miss my old shop but I am going to make the best I can of this new one. I will try and keep this blog going so I can show my progress along the way.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

23 comments so far

View Mosquito's profile (online now)


7923 posts in 1709 days

#1 posted 03-27-2015 06:38 PM

I look forward to the journey, as I’ll be moving houses this year, and will likely be in a similar situation.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2297 days

#2 posted 03-27-2015 06:42 PM

My workshop was by far the thing I feared most when moving. I almost didn’t move just so that I wouldn’t have to move the shop. I tend to hoard wood and tools that I don’t use though so a lot will be sold or donated.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View DIYaholic's profile


19135 posts in 2092 days

#3 posted 03-27-2015 06:51 PM

Good luck on the transformation.
It will be both exhilarating & frustrating….
But all worth it, in the end!!!

FYI: Grizzly has a free “Shop Planner” program, on their website.
Very useful and a real time & back saver.
You can rearrange your shop over & over & over again….
Without ever breaking a sweat, rerunning ductwork or even breaking a fingernail!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2297 days

#4 posted 03-27-2015 06:53 PM

^Thank you. I will try using that when I am ready to plan the layout.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


13565 posts in 2035 days

#5 posted 03-27-2015 06:53 PM

Dan, I love the floor in the new place and it doesn’t look bad at all. My basement is actually a cellar, so there’s never a possibility of me moving there. My biggest concern if I did would be humidity and having the ability to bring up the stairs whatever project I made. Sometime it might have to be in pieces, I guess.

Looking forward to the progress shots! Stef is going through the same thing and just completed his wall painting, lighting and electrical work. Check his posts for some history there if you’d like.

And, I would never want to move shops either. No. Way.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2297 days

#6 posted 03-27-2015 07:06 PM

The floor is actually asbestos and is damaged in a number of areas. I am going to spot patch the damaged area and leave it be for now. If I do end up wanting new floor I will just cover over the top of this one. I don’t want to go tearing out asbestos tiles.

Humidity will be something I will have to deal with.

As for the door this basement has a wide doorway with sliding door so I think any projects I do will be safe.. I am however a bit worried my current work benches wont fit down the steps. I didn’t build them to come apart either.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6819 posts in 3396 days

#7 posted 03-27-2015 08:50 PM

It’s unfortunate that your father passed, and that you’re losing the garage shop you had. It looked very nicely organized. I guess it boils down to a man gotta do…


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Brit's profile


6567 posts in 2260 days

#8 posted 03-27-2015 09:00 PM

Good luck Dan. I’ve been refurbishing my little workshop, so I know how daunting it can be trying to fit it in around everything else life throws at you, but I’m sure you’ll get there. What I found really helpful was to break the big project into lots of mini projects that I could ‘tick off’ in a weekend.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Don W's profile

Don W

17870 posts in 1984 days

#9 posted 03-27-2015 09:47 PM

Good luck with the re-shop set up.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View JayT's profile (online now)


4670 posts in 1628 days

#10 posted 03-27-2015 10:01 PM

Good luck, Dan. Will be following along to see how it turns out.

Here’s an idea to make it go quicker. A bunch of us will come over to help move things in. When we leave your shop will be organized and you’ll have much less stuff to worry about, because we’d smuggle some planes out with us. :-)

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View waho6o9's profile


7114 posts in 1994 days

#11 posted 03-27-2015 10:19 PM

I got dibs on the MiniMax

Good luck Dan and welcome back bro.

View terryR's profile (online now)


6228 posts in 1725 days

#12 posted 03-27-2015 10:33 PM

Welcome back, Dan! trying to re-build my house and shop, too, so I can empathize with ya!

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 593 days

#13 posted 03-27-2015 11:36 PM

Having added a floor into an existing workshop, I would suggest that you consider adding the floor before you get all kinds of tools, cabinets, etc. in place. I had a hard time moving things into one area then adding a plywood floor then moving the items onto the new floor. It seemed like whatever I needed was inaccessible.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View Tim's profile


3029 posts in 1378 days

#14 posted 03-28-2015 01:10 AM

Good luck Dan. Yeah that will be a lot to get through cleaning out all that stuff, but you’ll make it. It might have been stef or something else I read that painting dry-lock or similar on the basement walls makes a big difference in the humidity. I’m tempted to try that too. Hopefully that and a dehumidifier will keep that from being an issue for you.

View robscastle's profile


3286 posts in 1621 days

#15 posted 03-28-2015 05:02 AM


I looked at your old shop and it looked very plane so leaving should be no problem.

What you need to do now is is to go through all yor Dads gear and decide the $ value meaning is it work keeping.
This means runs to the tip/skip bin or street clean up or what ever.
You need to have enough room to begin the rebuild.
The gear which you have determined as “junk” dispose of, either sell, give away,or at a last resort throw away (Skip Bin)
The gear of value but unsure of its use store and review later, beacuse I can assure you if you sell it you will get nothing for it in relation to its new buy value later when yo discover you need it (In most cases)
Leave it stored packed up and review in 6 -12 months time, making sure the storage preserves the gear, otherwise you may as well dispose of it in the first place.

The gear you value and can use, simple use it.

Now as you have an interest in woodworking just like your Dad this means a couple of things you have inhereted some of his personality. Case example see all those planes you have collected? well is also called Karma !

So ask youself every now and then How would my Dad have done it? then add your current knowledge and go do it.

I shall be watching!

-- Regards Robert

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