This is my first blog ever, so there are some boring up front details I have to get out of the way. I have been in my house for a little over 8 years. I was fortunate that the property came with two garages – one attached to the house and the other detached from the house. Both are two car garages, and the detached building was immediately claimed as my shop space.
My shop area went through several iterations over the course of the next six years, mostly because I did not have a clear understanding of how I work. I started with a pair of benches that I had built years ago while I was in the Navy, but they quickly became more in the way than anything. This was mostly due to having un-useful shelf space below (way too deep) – I ended up keeping stuff near the front edge and not putting things away that were normally stored in the back. The picture below was taken before I moved into my current home.
I disassembled the two benches and recycled the materials into a built in bench that spanned the length of the back wall with some shelf space above it. It turned into a dumping ground for everything because I did not really have any storage to speak of. I also built the shelf way too high to easily retrieve things and I ended up with the same problem. I do not have any pictures of the second bench.
Enter a table saw and a lunchbox planer and I started to run into a pretty big dilemma – I needed infeed and outfeed space, which my current level of disorganization did not support. Every time I needed to cut or plane something large required some sort of re-organization that never got put back to some sort of “normal”. After reading some articles on shop layout and design, I came to the conclusion that I needed to get away from the work surface against a wall type to the centrally located work island type. I put together a small outfeed table with a shelf on the bottom, completely made out of scraps and failed projects. I also shoved the majority of the mess up against the walls (aka on top of the bench), but it made room for me to work.
This worked pretty good. I could put my miter saw on the table and use it, and put it elsewhere when I was done (which got old pretty quick). I was able to put stuff underneath the table and access it fairly quickly. I could tell that I was onto something that would work for me. I did a bunch more research and read a very interesting article (that I can no longer locate) about how drawers can provide more storage than shelves when designed properly. Here is a project that I saved a few years ago that was pretty close to what I was looking for:
I really liked the idea, but it seemed to me that there was some tough to use space adjacent to the table saw. I did not think that this a good solution for me because the kind of stuff I would be storing underneath was bulky and heavy, not the kind of stuff that I would store in a drawer. I eventually came across a design that I thought to be very interesting.
I checked into the design and really liked the large drawers that appear very sturdy, but I was not sold on the sawhorses for support. I did not like the dimensions (5 foot by 5 foot). I was also concerned about moving the table around since the legs were not really tied to each other. I figured I could use the concepts and adapt them to my own needs.
The boring preamble is complete. I start the build in the next chapter
-- I can complicate anything