Blank canvas, what to do?

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Forum topic by northernlight posted 02-27-2013 08:35 AM 1648 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 2119 days

02-27-2013 08:35 AM

Hi guys.
i just recently bought a house and it comes with a single car garage… not sure why the call it a car garage though as no car will ever be parked in there ;) I start with a blank canvas and will build myself a workshop to be proud of.

But what about workbenches? I quickly threw together this drawing in sketchup and designed some simple 2×4 workbenches with mdf tops but what sizes should i go for?

Right now im thinking that im going to have a workbench that covers the inner wall and 4 separate smaller workbenches on casters 2×2 feet each. this can either be converted into a large 4×4 bench, 1×4 or 4×2.

one of the smaller benches will convert into a routertable, all will have festool mft inspired tops.

any thoughts?

5 replies so far

View AandCstyle's profile


3179 posts in 2460 days

#1 posted 03-01-2013 03:43 AM

I guess that, in part, it depends what you want to make. Form follows function, so decide what you want to do and that should answer your question about what you will need for benches. Another option is to make one as you need it; a bench for hand planing rough stock will be completely different from a stand for a miter saw. FWIW

-- Art

View drpdrp's profile


150 posts in 2249 days

#2 posted 03-26-2013 09:36 AM

I too use a one car garage for my shop. I’ve been at it about a year or so- and here are a few lessons.

1) Be honest with yourself about how much non woodshop stuff will live in the garage. Household cleaners, flats of soda and water, Costco paper towels, xmas lights, camping gear, the kids bikes, your wife’s college textbooks, the stuffed moose head she won’t let you keep in the house, the leaf from the dining room table (and no you cannot use it to make a blanket chest), yard tools, the folding massage table you bought the year your wife discovered yoga… You get the picture.

2) I love me some roll around stuff. That said, I wish I’d been aware of the drop down caster designs before I started building stuff. Yeah, locking casters lock- but they move and shake a LOT more than tables just on legs. A lot of the tables can probably be fine on casters- but for your main work area either have drop down wheels or no wheels.

3) French cleats.

4) Don’t forget good lighting and power strips.

5) Don’t buy all the tools. I bought all the tools. They are shiny and I am a man. I wish I had spent more time learning to eek every once out of a given tool before I bought the overlapping tool for a similar function. This will require (or be aided by) buying the tools in the right order. For some reason I can no longer fathom- I bought a miter saw before I bought a table saw. Buy a table saw first.

6) I love the workstation concept- but don’t forget to keep the gestalt and workflow in mind. I tried to cram so much stuff in that I forgot to think about workflow. A) I’ve got too much crap and not enough room and B) even the stuff I have is not laid out well to support workflow.

That is all I’ve got off the top of my head. I am trying to evolve out of the hole I dug for myself.


View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2687 posts in 3125 days

#3 posted 03-26-2013 02:36 PM

I have built two workshops. Both in one stall of three car garages. I put up a white, insulated wall and installed wiring on the outside of the walls in conduit. Wherever you think to put a duplex outlet put in a fourplex. I installed a ceiling fan, lots of lights, and a wooden floor. I made two wall mounted benches the entire length of the perimeter and set my equipment on it. Serves me and my friend I made the second one for, well.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

View Bieser's profile


176 posts in 2238 days

#4 posted 03-29-2013 02:44 PM

Im building a dedicated shop right now in a one car garage. I have had a lot of shop spaces before and wanted to make this one right. I think for me was figuring out how to organize every item I have before it comes into the shop. I put everything in a storage unit and started with walls, lights, plugins and floors. then moved in the table saw and started building everything around each item as it came in.

Are you pretty much going to be running a Festool system? Are you going to have a tablesaw?

I think the advantage of small shops I have seen is some awesome creative ideas with storage solutions and it forces us to stay organized. Cant pile stuff up and forget about it, or it will be in our way.

Good luck and keep us posted.


View JHIM's profile


124 posts in 1978 days

#5 posted 12-11-2013 04:02 PM

its all up to you brother. i made all my benches the same height so they can all be used together. and casters are a great idea. i am in a two car garge and im always moving stuff around. good luck !

-- "the hard jobs will take a while..the impossible will take a bit longer"

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