Setting up Workshop #1: Workbench status

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Blog entry by Walt33 posted 04-14-2009 04:17 PM 1137 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Setting up Workshop series Part 2: Continuing the Workbench Stool »

I am currently trying to establish a work area/shop in my garage. It is a challenge as one might imagine trying to find space in which to do so, but things are coming along pretty good. I have the workbench just about finished, all I have left to do is finish the table top. Next, I hope to build some sort of tool cabinet in which to make tool storage a little better.

-- Favorite saying to work by "It's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it!"

5 comments so far

View wpreman's profile


1611 posts in 3738 days

#1 posted 04-14-2009 04:23 PM

Sounds like your off to a good start. Look forward to seeing pictures!

-- Bill, Florida

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3786 days

#2 posted 04-14-2009 05:30 PM

Garage shops present a lot of challenges/opportunities. The space usually has to be multi purpose; ie vehicular parking, freezers, laundry area, lawn mowers, sporting equipment, kids toys, bicycles,.......on and on. Rarely does a “lucky” guy get to devote the entire garage excluseviely to workshop use. That said, I’ve spent most of my adult life with a 1/2 of a two car garage shop, and still have to work that way here in Gainesville.

Typically a garage gives you only one long wall to use, often with a window, which gives nice natural light, but limits wall mounted storage. The other “wall”, the garage door, frustratingly can’t be used for anything, nor can anything be permanently placed in front of it. This pretty much dictates that tools and floor cabinets be mobile.

Before you start moving tools in you need to upgrade the garage’s electrical capacity and lighting. At a minimum, you will need at least two 20 amp, 120V circuits with recepticles placed about every five feet and about 42inches above the floor. Try to keep lighting on a separate 15 amp circuit to avoid a circuit breaker trip leaving you in the dark. I placed four T-8 fixtures, and two incandescent fixtures on the ceiling over my work area, and I’m thinking that I’ll put another T-8 fixture over my cabinet maker’s bench. Painting the walls and ceiling white will also make a big difference. If you don’t make these improvements at the start, it’s much harder to do later.

For the benefit of other family members give serious attention to dust collection and the noise level. For a shop of 300 sq ft or less you don’t need the high HP dust collectors with bulky piping systems that the magazines seem to always recommend. A small unit, up to 1 HP, with 2 1/2” hoses will do the job, and help to keep the noise at an acceptable level in the rest of the house.

I’ve always found that an 8 ft x 2 ft general purpose workbench, butted up against the long wall, and a cabinet maker’s bench with tail & shoulder vices at the end of the work area, was an efficient way for me to work. If at all possible, position the cabinet maker’s bench so that you can walk all around it. This has been my indispensible assembly, clamping, and gluing station through the years.

Good luck, and post some pictures as you progress.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3674 days

#3 posted 04-14-2009 05:43 PM

sweet, sounds like you’re on the right track then :) you do know that this will never end right? lol

here are some ideas for tool cabinet: My HandTool Cabinet

check out that series, might give you some ideas to put together. hope it helps

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 3848 days

#4 posted 04-14-2009 08:48 PM

Good Luck…I have a garage shop and my advise is to build a free standing shop…lol, with that said keep everything on wheels or you’ll find it not worth the effort to move half the garage for a few hours in the shop. In my shop the only stationary tool is my table saw and standing drill press other than that it on wheels. It takes a lot of trail and error to get the most out of a garage shop but when you have it right you can produce just as effectively as a dedicated shop. Keeping hand tool organize in a cabinet like Purplev will only add to the effectiveness of a small shop, by the way that cabinet looks familiar. The flow in a small shop is most important, storage of lumber, tools, and arrangement of stationary tool and work surface have to be able to use with minimal interruption. This will help you from spinning wheels. Good luck in setting up shop….Blkcherry

View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 3416 days

#5 posted 04-15-2009 02:53 AM

My shop is in a two car garage! I moved things around at least 4 times before I got the flow the way I wanted it for the limited space I have. Check it out!

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

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