The Great Garage Reorganization and Shop Improvement Act #4: Let there be light! ...and lumber storage.

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Blog entry by captkerk posted 02-17-2010 06:34 AM 5449 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: New Table Saw Part 4 of The Great Garage Reorganization and Shop Improvement Act series Part 5: A shed? »

When autumn came and I started working in the garage with the doors closed, I realized how little light I have with the new shop arrangement. I started by putting up an eight foot long florescent fixture (4-four foot T12 bulbs) over the table saw/jointer area figuring I would re-evaluate where I needed light after that was up.


Then my neighbor tells me he can get me some eight foot long fixtures from his company since they were closing down a factory. So I ended up getting 3-eight foot long tandem florescent fixtures with the bulbs for $15.


What an improvement! Luckily, the garage already had a light bulb over each bay, so it wasn’t too hard to wire in the new fixtures to the existing circuit that is also controlled by the light switch for the garage.

Another item that desperately needed attention was finding a place to store some lumber, sheet goods and some other miscellaneous material.

lumber pile
more lumber

These pics don’t even include the huge stack of cherry I just got from my in-laws, too!

So I got to work on a lumber rack that also has space behind to slide in sheet goods, and (when empty of sheets) provide access to the circuit breaker panel. This seemed to be the best compromise I could come up with.
lumber rack

lumber and plywood

I still have extra stuff that won’t quite fit, but it’s an improvement. I was able to make the whole thing with existing scraps which helped cut down how much I had to store. I was also able to get some more items stored away on the ceiling, but more work is still needed. I’d still love to build a shed, but that’s gonna have to wait.


I will be using some of the lumber on the garage cabinets, and then when the garage is squared away, I can get started on turning that cherry into a new dining table and chairs.

Now just for those cabinets…and dust collection…and more electrical…etc.

5 comments so far

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3723 days

#1 posted 02-17-2010 07:17 AM

That’s a great storage idea. Move the rack a foot or so away from the wall and use that space for panels.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View tooldad's profile


660 posts in 3952 days

#2 posted 02-17-2010 07:19 AM

Is there a specific reason you hung the lights from chains rather than mount them to the ceiling. IMO, get them up as high as you can so they don’t get bumped. It happens to the best of us with the best of intentions. Also screens might be a good investment over the saws. Shattered bulbs are not a good thing. Just my 2 cents. Otherwise looks great.

View captkerk's profile


170 posts in 3479 days

#3 posted 02-17-2010 07:53 AM

The big light fixtures already had eye bolts on them since they were hung from chains in their previous install. I was also planning to hang stuff from the ceiling around them, so I didn’t want the light to get blocked too much. I guess the chains just seemed easier at the time too.

The flush mounted fixture could use some screens. I plan to add another one of those right next to the existing one and I will probably pick up some screens or plastic tubes, at least, for the bulbs. The larger fixtures already have protective plastic sleeves over all the bulbs. Thanks for the input.

View dbhost's profile


5767 posts in 3470 days

#4 posted 02-17-2010 05:20 PM

Nice upgrades. I’ve been upgrading the circuit / light fixtures in my garage shop as well. Mostly getting extension cords off the ceiling, and positioning the fixtures so they give the best light spread. I have 2 fixtures to go, but already the difference is night and day. The 2 fixtures are over the bay of the garage that is full of fencing material, once that is out, the new fixtures go up. Even without them though, it went from dark dungeon, to bright and easy to see in. I am using 6 Lithonia “Shop Light” 2 bulb 4’ T12 fixtures. I already had a couple of cases of T12 “Sunstik” tubes so no big deal there.

I see where you are going with hanging the fixtures, but with the shorter overall height of my ceiling, I barely have 8’ below the bulbs with the fixture mounted directly to the ceiling…

I really like your lumber rack. I would be concerned about the proximity to the breaker panel, but that’s just me…

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View captkerk's profile


170 posts in 3479 days

#5 posted 02-17-2010 05:33 PM

Amazing what a difference a little light makes, huh? I was a little concerned about putting stuff up in front of the breaker panel, but it seemed like I really didn’t have anyplace else to put a lumber rack! That was part of the reason for putting it about 20” away from the wall. Mainly to allow plywood storage, but it also lets me slide back there to access the panel. I may change things up if I ever get around to putting up a shed and can have bulk storage out there.

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