Making the garage a shop #2: I'm going to need a plan.

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Blog entry by Shawn K. posted 02-16-2011 03:01 AM 1488 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Introduction Part 2 of Making the garage a shop series Part 3: The Plan, and movement of a forward nature. »

So I have a two car, attached garage. The measurements are roughly 17’ wide by 19’ deep. The wall shared with the living space has the breaker panel, a refrigerator and a plastic storage cabinet. The opposite wall has a mechanic’s bench, mechanic’s toolbox, and a big honking 5 shelf unit that is slated to get donated, once the stuff is removed from it. That leaves the back wall, which has a door to the back yard in the south-east corner.

This garage has served every purpose a garage will, up to and including storing a car at one time. Never more than one, I have no idea how you could get two cars in here, it seems more a guideline than a hard and fast possibility.
But it has been storage, an auto repair area, a turning studio, and before I quit, a smoking lounge.

Because it has just been a garage, it currently looks like this.

There are woodworking tools in there, trust me. An observant individual can probably spot the Ryobi POS that seems to have sprouted a vertical stabilizer made of Styrofoam, a band saw, lathe, miter saw, and maybe a workbench.

An observant person would also notice something else. The only insulation I have is some blue foam on the south wall, and whatever the r-factor of the walls is everywhere else. Being Colorado, and February, it’s supposed to be cold. Last week, it was cold, which is why the shop is still so filthy.

This means I’m going to need to insulate if I want to work more than 5 months of the year.

Second, you’ll notice a marked lack of storage, which is why my workbench is hosting crap, the table saw is storing crap, the lathe bench can’t decide whether it’s a lathe bench or a stereo rack, and the floor…I have paths running through canyons of stuff to get to the doors.

This means I’m going to need cabinets, drawers, and other storage, hopefully self made. No…definitely self made.

Power requirements have to be addressed too. My residential box is pretty close to maxed, I’ve got enough space for two or three more circuits in there. Since I’m running one tool at a time, I should be fine once I get it expanded.

This means I’m going to need to do a little more electrical work, that stuff is scary enough to set my hair on end.

I see folks making do in single car garages, or 6 foot by 9 foot coffins, so I should be in good shape, once I get a plan.

It’s coming up with the plan that’s rough. I’m sure there are some who would agree after looking at the photo above, it’s hard to know where to begin. I’m cruising the net, books, my ShopNotes subscription is coming with a book on small shops, those are always good for ideas at least.

But I need to make room soon, because as soon as the government sees fit to give me back my money, this is coming home.

Yep, a Jet ProShop with the Cast wings. That little blue piece of paper has my name on it, telling the good folks at woodcraft that my wife put part of the money down, it’s mine as soon as they have their due.

Next, The beginning of the plan.

-- -- Never entrust power to those who desire it.

7 comments so far

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3694 days

#1 posted 02-16-2011 03:05 AM

Looks like you have a nice space to work.

View Harry_Ch's profile


63 posts in 2697 days

#2 posted 02-16-2011 03:21 AM

Plenty of space to build a large shop for yourself, Shawn. That picture reminds me of one of those, “Can You Find It” puzzles. With the exception of the electrical, you can do most of the work yourself, it sounds like. When you do get to the walls, double check how that current insulation will react to what you plan on installing. You want to avoid creating an undo vapor lock and get moister within it. Good luck.

-- Deeds not Words.

View Dlow's profile


70 posts in 2709 days

#3 posted 02-16-2011 03:35 AM

I had a similar situation last fall when the camping season ended and I realized I would soon be seeking refuse of the winter months in the confines of my garage/woorkshop, but what a mess it was. I decided to buy a “bagster” from HD and get rid of all the crap. It wasn’t qiute big enough to hold all I wanted to get rid of but it helped tremendously. It is just a matter of deciding to do it and let go of the things you know are just taking up space. Then you’ll have a much less cluttered area to start organizing the the shop the way you want it.

View Derek Lyons's profile

Derek Lyons

584 posts in 3589 days

#4 posted 02-16-2011 07:33 AM

You have to plan on using two circuits at a time – one for the tool, one for the dust collector.

-- Derek, Bremerton WA --

View Shawn K.'s profile

Shawn K.

56 posts in 2687 days

#5 posted 02-16-2011 06:17 PM

Excellent points all.

Beginning woodworker: It’s definitely a great place to work, when it’s warm enough, and I know I’ve got more than a lot of people do.

Harry_CH: Hadn’t even thought of the way two different insulations would work together, gonna check the codes for my area today.

DLow: Bagster is definitely on the RADAR at the moment. Sad thing is, we had a dumpster in our driveway for about two months while we were redoing the bathroom, HOA won’t allow it for long, so we had to get rid of it before starting this project in earnest.

Derek: An excellent point that has been dancing around my head as I’ve considered the electrical situation.

Thanks folks, I’ve got a lot more to think about, which is fantastic, because now I’ve got a direction.

-- -- Never entrust power to those who desire it.

View GaryD's profile


623 posts in 3391 days

#6 posted 02-16-2011 06:52 PM

Shawn in the same position. converting a one car garage into my shop. Had to build a 12×24 shed to put the junk in. I have more pictures to post on it. I have one thing better than you to make up for the lack of space, mine is 12×24 single car garage, is that I live on the coast in SC, alot warmer here even in the winter thasn you. I do believe mine looks worse than yoursw though for “stuff” everywhere. Good luck and keep us posted.

-- Gary, Little River,SC I've Learned that the Lord didn't do it all in one day and neither can I

View Shawn K.'s profile

Shawn K.

56 posts in 2687 days

#7 posted 02-16-2011 06:56 PM

Gary, you win. Your garage certainly looks a bit more crowded than mine.

-- -- Never entrust power to those who desire it.

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