One factor in moving was having space for my workshop. I had hoped for a two car garage but this wasn’t in the cards. Instead I settled for a single car garage 10′ by 20′. I knew I would do everything I could to make this a dedicated space, and for the most part that has been the result. I have very high ceilings, so I’m able to take advantage of storage space up above that doesn’t interfere with the flow of the workshop. Before I could really think about shop setup or layout I had to deal with the floor. The floor was gravel so the first order of business was getting a slab poured.
Having used a concrete floor before I knew I’d be putting an insulated wooden floor down. These prefab tiles are great, quick and easy to install and they have a huge impact on reducing fatigue on your legs. Insulation and vapour barrier built into them with a tongue and groove wooden 2’x2′ surface fit the bill perfectly. I still have some anti-fatigue mats down on the floor around the workbench which help with comfort.
If I had more time, space and money I would have insulated the walls as well. All of those things were challenges and I had to get everything out of storage. This hasn’t been that much of an issue really.
Limited electricity was a bigger issue, so I got a 60amp subpanel installed. I added a 240v breaker to use a small heater which pumps out an amazing amount of heat when needed. The rest covers circuits for the tools. The lights and garage door opener stayed on the existing house circuits that were already there. No tripping the panel and being trapped in the dark.
Unless I work with the garage door open I have very little natural light. This is something I’d like to fix at some point but for now I have lots of fluorescent lights above and a couple of task lights which works out just fine. Since I’m using hand tools more, the dust collection really only comes out when I’m milling or doing a cleanup.
Mostly out of necessity, I found homes for everything without too much planning. The first layout was ok but not conducive to power nor hand tool woodwork. After a bit of trial and error I arrived at the layout you see here. I decided that hand tool work would take precedence and the work bench took center stage. All the power tools are mobile anyway and mostly get used in the rough milling process.
Aside from the heater the only upgrade has been the band saw, which is now beating the table saw for most used power tool. The lathe also moved into a more central position, it was originally up against the back wall, but this was pretty terrible for both lighting and air flow. Now adjacent to the workbench and under the main lights, this works much better. Turning tool storage is still on the to-do list, but everything is reasonably close by.
Prior to moving I built a hand tool cabinet and saw till. These are utilitarian in a lot of ways but they do the job and hold everything I need. There is so much written about tool storage that I don’t know where all of the ideas came from. I have borrowed from many I’m sure.
The saw till is pretty basic. If it can stand up on the handle, it does. The rest hang in a rack or the door. I left room for a drawer for saw files and saw sets, yet to be built. I just hope I don’t develop a saw addiction, or I’ll have to build another one, this one is pretty full.
The main tool cabinet is deep enough to have shelves at the back for planes. Smaller inner doors with hanging storage on both sides of them hold a variety of tools with marking and measuring tools getting the prime territory. Outer doors with additional chisel and screwdriver storage enclose the inner areas. Space for drawers exists here too. I’m still working out what to do with that space. It’s not that big, but I think it will end up holding plane accessories for the most part.
I was able to bring most of the old shop cabinets with me and they are working great, both for storing tools/etc and for providing surface area for the lathe and other bench tools.
Working in 200 sq ft is a compromise for sure. It’s more cramped than I’d like and I can’t add any big tool upgrades. I’m fortunate to have storage for most of the garden and winter equipment elsewhere but it has a tendency to invade the shop at times. First world problems.
Whatever comes of this shop in the future, at least I will learn how to work with the space I have and maybe get more creative about it. Enough of the tour, back to working wood.