workshop tour challenge

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Throw me in for a chance at the $100. Not much to show here compared to some of the ones I’ve seen. My shop is about 10′ × 20′ with a 7’ ceiling. Pretty small and I place a high priority on floor space to setup saw horses for this and that.

First is the heart of the place. My table saw. An old delta contractor series. I have a shop vac and homemade mini cyclone for dust collection. I made a plywood pyramid and put it under the saw with the vac hose at the bottom to catch the dust. It works great. I also wired an outlet to the saw switch and plug the vacuum into it so it comes on when I start the saw. That is very handy. I often unplug the saw motor and use that outlet/switch for all kinds of things.

Next are a few things I’ve blogged about. My flip top planer, flip top drill press and a cabinet for my mitre saw. I’ve gained a ton of floor space from making these things. All the tables are the same height so as to serve as infeed and outfeed for each other. Even the planer, when in use, had the same table height.

Next is my bench, which I’m planning to replace on a couple of months. This is one sturdy bench, but it lacks a lot of features, is too tall and not deep enough. It was made before I knew anything about anything. It sits on a reinforced bookcase that holds a bunch of power tools and other stuff. It’s going to be replaced with a proper bench with drawers underneath and a couple of nice vices. For now I put up some blocking to hold up boards at the right height for cutting on the mitre saw. In the picture is a couple of oak boards glued up to make a door stop for a sliding door. The all-the-same-height tables came in handy last night when I hand planed the joined edges.

Next is my lumber rack. This is going to be replaced with a heavy duty rack when I get time. Right now it’s just a few closet shelving supports and there is a lot of weight on them. This is a recipe for disaster. I may do this before the bench. The triangle on the shelf support takes up a lot of space too, so I should be able to gain some extra storage when I make the new one.

Against the other wall is plywood and all my jigs above. I’m thinking about making one of those carts. We’ll see. Not shown on the same wall is some shelving for storage and the door to go inside, which I made. Maybe I should post a picture of that.

That’s about it. Here are 2 pics front to back and back to front.

It seems to me that I’ve packed an awful lot of stuff into a tight space and I even have a little floor space left over. :-)

-- Losing fingers since 1969

No worries. I didn’t take it that way to begin with. Just pointing out the obvious. ;-)

But I’m certainly taking you up on a few of those ideas. In fact, in already working on getting some kitchen cabinets we’re going to demo set aside.

-- Losing fingers since 1969

Brian as i stated before you have a great shop and you have done well with setting it up. i just threw out sugestions for i know your looking for ideas. yes, to gut and restart would hinder time and money. im sorry if it sounded like you should do that.

-- Jeff Vandenberg aka "Woodsconsin"


You have done a wonderful job of making a very usable shop in a small space. I agree with you that if we were to start from scratch again, we might do things differently. Our shops just keep evolving!


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin

You know, another thing I considered was a tablesaw workstation and/or outfeed table/workstation like yours. But after thinking about it for a long time I decided not to do either. I wouldn’t gain much storage from the tablesaw workstation because I keep my shop vac under the table and I really have no where else to put it. And the outfeed thing just takes up too much space. I will probably make a folding outfeed table, though. It would be nice to have a little extra support there but I can’t have it take up another 30 sf of floor area.

-- Losing fingers since 1969

That bench was really cool. If I were starting from scratch I would give it serious consideration. As it is, this stuff is a lot of work to begin with and my time is both limited and competing with other projects that need to get done. I’m hoping that the new layout, when complete, will make things more efficient and more enjoyable. After that I will tackle my kitchen. :-)

-- Losing fingers since 1969

Yeah I know where your coming from. I just threw out more ideas. I suggest you check out pinterest. They actually have one car garage ideas.
The thing Brian I was considering your ceiling height. Thats why I stated your lumber rack to go to the ceiling by the garage door but not to exceed the depth of wall to door opening. The cabinets on that back wall by keeping it down 12 " you for sure can access all the cabinets but you gain that 12" space as a shelf plus you could still make a full lenght bench underneath the upper cabinets and if you made it like the one in that picture I posted youcould make it a flip out also. Just make some lader legs to put under the flip out. You could store the ladder legs on top of the upper cabinets. Well I like your shop and what ever you do will make it mor awesome.

-- Jeff Vandenberg aka "Woodsconsin"

Funny thing about the tablesaw location. One reason it ended up where it is, is because the safety/manual handle on the garage door hangs down directly over the saw when the door is open. It sticks down about a foot or more. I hit my head on that thing about a dozen times. With the saw directly under it, I can’t bang my head into it anymore. LOL there are some crazy but very practical reasons for choosing layout!

-- Losing fingers since 1969

Ah, Jeff, the thing is a lot of those ideas require the luxurious ceiling height of 8’ or better. LOL I’m 6’4" and I have to duck under the garage door. I barely fit under those florescent lamps. Haha.

But the idea for cabinets over the lumber storage is great. I never considered it. The shelf was always there and I never did anything about it. All that junk there could fit in less than half the space if it were in some organized fashion in cabinets. That’s a winner and I’ll hit that up this summer.

Also the plywood cart is looking better and better. Not because it saves space – the cart itself takes space – but because it’s such a pain to get anything from that pile. It’s literally upright and tied to the wall with this hook I made from an old dog collar. Every time I need to get something from that stack I play this game where I’m about to get crushed by 800 lbs of plywood as it springs of the wall. It’s not much fun and I dread it every time. The cart with hinges on the wall is exactly the one I’ve been thinking about.

-- Losing fingers since 1969

Brian, I like your shop. I already gutted your shop and redesigned it. Lol its not on paper but in my mind. You know how you said you like the cabinets I have. Well the back wall where your lumber is stacked up well you could start here. What you could do is hang all upper cabinets on a french cleat across the wall but keep the top of cabinets 12" down from the ceiling. Then you could lay a 1/2 plywood across the top. Now you have cabinet space for tools and a shelf all the way across for tools in a case. Like I have that corner shelf in my first picture. Then on the other wall with all your plywood. (I’ll get back to underneath the cabinets in a bit)
What id do (this is only suggestions) is put my lumber rack on this wall all the way up to the ceiling. Right where the garage door tracks are. Figure out what is the longest lenght wood you would use in a project. Then add a foot. So if your building cabinets and the longest piece is 5 ft then make your rack 6 foot long Or 7 foot. That way you could by 12’ or 14’ and cut them in half and stack. Your lumber should be close to the door. Pull up and unload with less walking. Looks like by the picture you have 16 to 18 inches from wall to the door opening so then next to the lumber rack put your plywood.
what I do here is build a large swing cacabinet to accept your sheetgoods but above it do a sheet good cutoff cabinet (open face).or do the alternative rack. See pictures

Now back to the wall with all the cabinets heres a bench system you could modify to swing up you tools

Other ideas

Hey you know we could always talk on the phone if you want any help just let me know. Like I said these are suggestions.

-- Jeff Vandenberg aka "Woodsconsin"

Well organized Brian.
By the time it’s all done it will be very functional.

It’s amazing how much you fit in a small space.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

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