Gorak's Workshop

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Workshop by Gorak posted 08-08-2008 11:28 PM 1339 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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12 posts in 3605 days

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After just over 2 years without a shop, I deemed my new shop ‘officially’ ready for use this past Thanksgiving just in time to make some Christmas presents. The new shop is a 22×24 foot double garage (8’9” ceiling) that will never see a vehicle in it as long as I’m living here. I paid a contractor to build the basic garage – finished on the outside, bare on the inside. Due to the construction boom going on out here, it took me almost 6 months to find a contractor who would do a job that small, but that’s another story. While working on the interior, my wife became seriously ill and I didn’t have much opportunity to focus on the shop for almost a year however after a year and a half of chipping away at it, I can finally call it a usable shop. I still have a full page of tasks like shop furniture, more dust collection, trim carpentry, etc.

Because my new 45 year old house had only a 70 amp service, the first thing I had to do was bring in some more power. I hired an electrician to put in a 200 amp panel in the shop, which is much closer to the utility pole, and a 125 amp subpanel in the house. I did the rest of the wiring myself. All the outlets were wired for 20 amps and every outlet is on its own circuit. Every other outlet plate also has a 220 volt outlet. I also had to put in a couple of 220V/30A circuits for the compressor and heater.

The floor is painted with an epoxy-based floor paint. The walls and ceiling are covered in 5/8 plywood prepainted white. There are pull-down folding stairs up to the attic and the attic has a floor and a couple of light fixtures. The attic is only about 5’ tall at the peak so it is used primarily for storage. Lighting in the shop consists of 20 (5 banks of 4) 4’ flourescent shop lights. With the white walls and ceiling it is pretty bright in there.

I ran a 1/2” compressed air hose around the perimeter of the ceiling and copper pipe up from the compressor and down from the hose to wherever I wanted to install compressed air outlets such as over the lathe, beside my workbench, etc.

I designed the floorplan of my shop using a 3D home design program. Here is a 3D CAD view of my shop:

Here are some photos of the interior now that it’s been lived in for a few months. You’ll note that I didn’t do much in the way of cleanup before taking these photos. Starting just inside the shop door, which is on back left corner, and going clockwise, there is a filing cabinet with all my tool manuals, catalogs, etc. I’ve never been so organized…

Next to the filing cabinet is my tool counter and cabinet. The cabinet doors open to more pegboard inside:

Next to that is my plywood rack:

Tucked into the corner is my “hardware department”. It’s hard to see in there, but there is a white bookshelf on the left that is crammed with parts cabinets and bins and along the right wall there is a tall cupboard crammed full of more parts bins.

Next along the wall is my lathe. The articulated dust collection arm is a recycled laboratory fume extractor. It works great for sanding dust but I wouldn’t attempt to use it to collect the shavings off the lathe.

Above the lathe are a couple of compressed air outlets, one filtered and one filtered & oiled.

When I’m working on my lathe I always have my rolling sharpening station close by, usually in front of the plywood rack.

To the right of the lathe is my sharpening and sander bench. The purple cabinet on top of the bench is a recycled overhead bin from an office cubicle. There are more on the other side of the room.

Next is my midi lathe.

Tucked in the corner is my dust collector which is partially obscured by the hoses I have hanging from the garage door track.

In front of the garage door is my tablesaw. Its pretty new so I haven’t had a chance to add an outfeed table or storage underneath.

To the right of the tablesaw is my shiny new router table. I’ve only used it a couple of times but I’m already in love with it. I intent to enclose the stand for better dust collection and add some drawers to store bits and accessories.

Along the other wall are some shelves for my stained glass storage, most of which has not been brought out of storage yet, and my clamp rack. I need to put bigger wheels on the clamp rack because the ones that came with it won’t roll with the weight of the clamps.

Next to the shelves is my lumber rack. I also have a canvas shed beside the house which I also store wood in.

Above the lumber rack are more of those overhead bins where I store turning blanks and rough turned stuff. In front of the bins, hanging from the ceiling, I have a bunch of 20’ 1/4” x 3/4” red cedar strips that will eventually become part of my cedar strip kayak project.

Next to the lumber rack are my RAS, SCMS and compressor. Above them is more storage, a microwave for warming coffee and drying wood, first aid supplies and fire extinguisher.

In the cupboard next to the microwave is one of the most important shop accessories next to the coffee maker – my tunes.

Clustered in the middle of the shop are the rest of the machinery. Everything except the drill press and bandsaw are on wheels and need to be pulled out to use them. Not ideal but it was the only way I could fit everything in and still have room to build an 18’ kayak. After the the kayak project they will all likely find a more permanent position in the shop.

The workbench is in front of the tablesaw. It is a truly crappy workbench. I have a few hundred bf of 2 and 3 inch maple in the wood shed and a new workbench is likely my next big project after the kayak. I’m already plotting and scheming…

That’s pretty much it. I still have a lot of work to do on various shop projects before I’ll be completely happy with it but at least it is functional and I have my cave full of toys back again.

Thanks for looking.

-- Anything worth doing is worth overdoing

4 comments so far

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3612 days

#1 posted 08-09-2008 12:12 AM

Well Gorak what a workshop well set up clean well equipped well thought out,nicely set up and well planned.All the newest tools, no old clunkers.A shop anyone would be proud to own. You truly did a great job well done.Like myself you have gone out of your way to build a ddream workshop to last you for manyb years hopefully the rest of your days.I saw too many old men with draughty cold damp poorly lit cobweb infested dirty workshops trying desperately to make things with a bare minimal of tools and old scrap machines.Friends and family of mine could only dream of having a shop like yours or mine.I was determined not to put it off til it was too late and did the same thing as you and built a nice comfortable shop.I have a form of parkinsons disease and sometimes just go to my shop to sit and deliberate.I chill out there and on the days i dont/can’t work I plan so I say well done have a wonderful and meaningful life enjoy your shop it is much more to a man or woman to own a shop than simply to make things.The planning of a good workshop and the constant changes to it’s design make for a fun filled hobby.All the best from Alistair in Scotland have fun my friend excuse my poor typing please Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Gorak's profile


12 posts in 3605 days

#2 posted 08-09-2008 12:54 AM

Thanks for your comments, Scotsman. I only wish I had the time to actually spend in my new shop now that it is somewhat complete and functional. Between work and being the primary caregiver for my wife who has an advanced, terminal cancer there is precious little time left over to spend in the shop. Sometimes, late at night after she has gone to bed, I go out to the shop to just sit and chill out in my cave amongst all my favorite toys, too exhausted to actually work an any projects. My next big project, a cedar strip sea kayak, is on hold for the time being until I can actually devote some substantial time to it.

Occasionally, I do manage to get a bit of turning done. Here are the last couple of turning projects that I completed:

Lidded Container ~10 cm tall – Maple Burl & Padauk

Hollow Vessel ~8 cm tall – Maple & Padauk

Peppermill ~20 cm tall – Myrtlewood

-- Anything worth doing is worth overdoing

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3849 days

#3 posted 08-09-2008 01:09 PM


You have a very nice shop space in which to work and just relax. You have organized it well and you have a nice set of tools to play with too. I like the plywood storage area that you have incorporated into your space. Storing full sheet goods and off cuts can be a dilemma. Your approach looks pretty good to me.

Thanks for posting the pictures. I have enjoyed visiting with you.

You are to be commended for your dedication to your wife and being the primary caregiver for her is both a physically and mentally exhausting task. I can understand your need to just “chill” in the shop when time allows. Even if you are not actually doing any woodworking this is still a “private sanctuary” in which you can escape daily demands that life imposes on us.

By the way your turnings are gorgeous. Every time I see projects like this posted it moves a lathe higher up on my wish list. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for those whose talents can produce works like this.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View mccreamark's profile


39 posts in 3560 days

#4 posted 09-23-2008 11:10 PM


Nice workshop ,your lathe is looks great and you definitely know how to use it .

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