Thursday, May 18, 2017

Garage workshops part 3

With my hand tool area in the right bay done, for the time being anyway, it was time to turn my attention to the remaining two bays.  The first thing I did was put the camping gear and bikes in the back corner where they would be out of the way but accessible.  I have built a shed for my garden tools and equipment, but I keep a few here in the front corner for convenience.

I have an old Craftsman workbench and rollaway that I put near the handtool area.  It contains wrenches and supplies for the most part but I use the tops of both for a sharpening area.

That left the rest of the space for workshop storage and my remaining woodworking equipment.  The familiar generalization that with hand tools you bring the tool to the workpiece while with power tools you bring the workpiece to the tool has big implications for how a shop is arranged.  With hand tools, you want a big workbench in the center and your tools stored around it where you can reach them easily.  With power tools you want the tool in the center with enough space around it to accommodate the largest workpiece you anticipate.  Because I don't have enough space to dedicate an area to each power tool, I have to have them on mobile bases so I can wheel them out into a common work area.  That is what I did with my router table, jointer and chopsaw, the tools that I wouldn't replace and may sell:

This area in front is also a place where I can use my tracksaw, and do assembly and finishing on sawhorses.

I placed my miter box and chopsaw end to end facing rearward so they can share space for long boards.  Commercial shelving works great as bases for both:

I never stop thinking about how I can best arrange my garage for woodworking.  If you spend a lot of time in your workshop, it's an effort that pays a big return.  I hope this series of posts is useful to you and I hope you will consider doing something similar, as I am always looking for good ideas.


  1. I like the base & extensions you have for the miter box. When I get mine I'll look for spot to make something like that for it.

  2. Thanks Andy. I like seeing how you organize tings to optimize the space.

    I too work out of my garage. I did remodel it for woodworking with power tools in mind and then before I started I switched to exclusively hand tools and never bought the power tools. Lots of pegboard on the walls helps. My wife's only criteria is that both cars can be parked inside at night. This hasn't been too difficult once we built overhead storage and then a shed. Given the amount of time I spend in the woodshop, I even bought a portable ac unit to cool it down during the summer as Livermore CA gets dreadfully hot (but at least not humid).

  3. Neat idea for the good old miter saw station (the human powered kind)
    You are right we never cease to adapt our shops to the way we work, and that too changes along the way.

    Bob, who is now 2 years into his hand tool shop remodel...