Old Shop Tour

View of the old shop from outside

My wife and I have decided to leave our current house behind, and we're moving to a new (to us) home. I thought it would be good to give a brief tour of where I work before I begin the transition to the new shop. I've been working in this garage for a little over 7 years now, and I've just found a layout that has allowed a pretty good work rhythm worth sharing.

My work area is a garage first and a shop second. Our seasons are rough enough that being able to pull the cars in during storms and frost is a requirement. Leaving my car out during fair weather is acceptable, but my wife and I have an unspoken understanding that her vehicle is tucked in every night. All this just means I have to be able to slide everything into its home at the end of the day.

Mobile table saw cart drawers

Table Saw

That brings me to the table saw. I have a Dewalt DW744X job-site (portable) table saw on a cart built from 3/4" plywood set on casters. I've had the saw for a little over a year now, and I've had a very good experience. Lots of good reviews are out there that highlight the details, but the fence is one of its most attractive features. It's straight, accurate, and easy to adjust.

The cart is constructed such that it can fold up and slide under the work bench. The back of the cart lifts to create out-feed support, and I keep it setup by the garage door with the shop vacuum underneath. That location gives me the extra space to push long boards through, but also lets alot of the dust exhaust to the outside.

Mobile table saw cart setup
Temporary bench on saw horses


Behind the table saw, I've been setting up a temporary workbench with a sheet of OSB on saw horses. The extra bench has been handy for glue-ups and finishing, and everything can be set against the wall when I need to pull the car in. The bench is the perfect size at 29 x 56 inches, and I use the area underneath it for (trash) buckets and sometimes the air compressor.

Main workbench

My main workbench is positioned along the back wall of the garage, and it's the first thing I built when we bought the house. The base is built with 2x4's screwed together to form 4x4-width "frames". The frames are connected with 2x4 aprons and a 3/4" OSB top. A hardboard skin is attached to the OSB top with double-sided carpet tape.

I set the depth of the workbench at 33" because that was the maximum length I can reach across to get to the peg board along the wall. The peg board works great for holding the tools I use all the time, but its cluttered with rarely used items because I lack good, out of the way storage. Everything fits, but I've found the limit for what it can hold.

Workbench OSB drawers

There are 4 OSB drawers built into the left side of the workbench. The top two drawers are fairly shallow, and hold my wrenches and sockets while the bottom drawers hold random tools and boxes of nails and screws.

The top two drawers don't have fronts, which makes them more like sliding shelves than drawers. Having no fronts makes it easy to put tools away, and I haven't had any issues with them falling out. The bottom drawers used to be similar, but they were full enough that items would occasionally hit the floor, and it was difficult to pull the heavy drawers out with nothing to grab.

Wall of shelves by the workbench

Wall Storage

In front of the drawers sits a wall of shelves that is probably the shop's least appealing feature. The metal shelf is in a bad spot for getting in and out of the car, the clamps have to be moved to get to the power tools, and it's too easy for clutter to collect in front of the workbench, making it hard to get into the drawers. I do like how the open shelves make it easy to store and find tools when I need them, and I think it could be easily improved if the shelves were all at a level higher than the workbench top. I also think some high cabinets would help to hide the clutter.

There are a couple other thing around the garage, such as a couple corner platforms with a TV opposite the workbench, and some short shelves for finishes and automotive fluids, but this is pretty much where I've been tinkering for the past several years. As much pride as I have in not scraping my windows every winter, it hasn't been ideal sharing the space with cars and jack stands. In spite of that, its been fun working in the space, and I plan to carry some of the layout and modular designs with me. (I just might hide the clutter better.)
Feel free to send me any comments, suggestions, or questions through my Contact Page.
Share this page: f     P     G+     t
Copyright 2015 by Joseph Bobek, all rights reserved.