I’m making some assumptions here. I am assuming you, like me, are a DIYer. I’m assuming you probably work out of a garage, or a shed, or something entirely glamorous like that. I am assuming you don’t have saws that cost more than a new car, but you have worked hard for what you do have. Maybe you wish you had more space. Maybe you wish you were better with your tools.
The point here is that I think we have much in common. I have a world of admiration for professional woodworkers with gorgeous shops, high end tools, and the ability to carve out killer dovetails in their sleep. But while learning dovetails is on my to do list for this new year, I’m playing in a different field here – and that’s perfectly okay.
When we moved into this house a little under two years ago we set up the garage as a diy workshop. In that time we have learned a ton (boy is that learning curve steep!), and we have become more comfortable with what it is we do and what we want to do. So over the past week we started making some big changes to our space to move into the next phase, if you will.
Are you still with me? I’ll get to the point. What I want to do is share how we have things set up now. Not because I think it is the best or whatever, but because nearly two years ago we would have been happy to pick up a few more ideas about how to make our space work. My hope is that something will be useful to you, whether that’s deciding the way we did it totally sucks, or maybe sparking an idea for your own workshop space.
Pretty much it’s less a “how to” than a “well, here’s what we did.”
How we set up our workshop
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Scratch that, are doing. Because the first stop is this corner, with a workbench very badly in need of being torn down and replaced. We have started that process, but the design for version 2.0 isn’t quite final yet. Stay tuned for that, because I personally think it is going to be awesome.
If you have lumber, you need a lumber rack. We have two of them, both this one, and they have worked great. They are super simple to assemble. I put up this second one by myself a couple days ago in about half an hour. Getting the lumber off the floor and out of the way is worth every penny.
Next up, build some simple shelving. We put this little unit today to hold cut offs. Because throwing away wood is pretty well anathema to me. As they say – I can make something with that!
Continuing around the workshop here’s another little addition from this week – a cut off cart. Because I basically just needed more places to store wood that I refuse to part with. This is the simplest design in the world. I frankensteined it out of wood I had laying around, hence it’s not too pretty. If you want plans tell me and I’ll get on that.
This simple heavy duty folding table is where I set up a lot of projects. It’s hugely helpful. If you want a quick useful table without necessarily having to build one just pick up one like this.
Our workshop, probably like yours, has to double as a lot of things. The kids are out here a lot, and they love it. So I tuck tools away in places where kids can’t roll them out, or, heaven forbid, knock them over on themselves. One of my goals for this year is the addition of a few measures to ensure they cannot start or stick their fingers in a saw, and I’ll share those as I go. I also keep some of the tools here in this spot to insure the kids don’t play under the lumber rack, which would totally freak me out.
The final area in the front of the garage is the lathe setup. I keep this near the door because it throws a crap ton of chips. If you have thought about trying your hand at turning you must do it. It’s amazing.
Random note: did you note the space heaters? Baby, it’s cold outside.
So here’s the thing. This house is a 1957. The garage is not huge. Like, we once squeezed two cars in it, but that was before we bought a truck, and it was kind of ridiculous. It’s bigger than some garages, so I’m totally not complaining. And it does have one magical detail…
There is this separate room at the back of the garage that we can close off with this massive sliding barn door we built.
This space holds our workbench (you were wondering where all the tools were, right?), my kid’s workbench (heck ya), a treadmill, all of our remodelling supplies, all of our camping supplies, and a bunch of other claptrap.
I also use this area for finish work from time to time, as it is easier to control dust back there. I recently extended the workbench and added more pegboard to accommodate my growing collection of all things Ryobi. Color coordinated tools are a new thing for me, and I’m totally digging it. And, you know, the tools themselves. The carpet squares came from Restore and cost $1 apiece. How freaking awesome is that?!
That’s it! I hope that noticed that there really isn’t anything too fancy in terms of organization. Everything is fairly basic and user friendly. The workbench will be the only exception to the fact that every other organizational structure was a build that took at most a couple of hours. Everything I have added over the past week was done with materials on hand and didn’t cost me a dime. If you are looking to organize, my tip (for what it is worth) is to work first with what you have. If you caught my post on organizing, you’ll have seen that I’m kind of passionate about this. Don’t go spend a ton of money on some fancy system (a lumber rack doesn’t count). Think simple.
Final note: If there is anything that you would like further information on, or build plans for, leave a note in the comments. I’m happy to do so if there is interest!
Final, final note: Don’t forget to tune back in to see how the workbench turns out!