B4B's Workshop

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Workshop by B4B posted 10-01-2014 05:10 AM 1100 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

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163 posts in 2244 days

Near Tacoma, WA
United States

I will gather images later, right now I’ll describe my “workshop”.

My current home has a carport large enough to comfortably hold 2 cars, there is a walled in section along the back that I use to store my tools. It is covered and dry, but open to the air, and any mice that may call it home.

The storage space is narrow at about 40” deep by ~25’. There is a 60” opening for the door in the middle, but only 30” can be open at any given tome (two 30-inch sliding closet doors. There is an electrical “sub-panel” fed by a 20 amp circuit that I can use to power my tools, lights, sprinkler and low-voltage lighting. The floor is a poured concrete platform that is relatively flat and stays dry.

Right now I can easily get my RAS and my Jointer in and out, but my 1970-ish contractors c-man table saw will not fit though the opening without either taking the motor off, or taking the doors off (or cutting into the wall or door for the motor, not that I’ve thought of doing that or anything). It’s about 4” too narrow.

My workspace is covered, but without walls wind driven rain does occasionally get in. I can use this space from the Spring through fall, rain or shine, and most summers the temperature and humidity is fairly tame.

Indoors I have an approximately 10×10 utility room with a small built in workbench and tool storage. This room also shares floor space with the main breaker and my 1960’s behemoth of a oil furnace & blower. I can’t do much in there since any dust or odor I create would get sucked into the furnace and distributed throughout the house.

Immediate-term fixes:
I’m thinking about getting some materials to re-mount the doors so that I can open them up to the full 60” to get tools in and out easily. I’m thinking about using some hardware to build a rail and use the same type of “closet” hardware for the door tracks, at $15 a track its the most cost effective solution.

I’m also contemplating closing in and putting in a vapor barrier to make this space more air tight and installing some mouse traps to catch any critters that may want to call this space home. This may or may not have a good return on investment since the doors are not weatherproof or air tight.

Longer term solutions (if I ever have the $$$):

I’d love to have a modest shop, something like this, or perhaps somewhat larger, would be perfect for the types and scale of projects I do work on:

Option 1:
I do have about 3/4 of an acre of land, but most of it is on a steep slope and can’t be easily built on. There’s is some flat land adjacent to the house and with a retaining wall, or even a poured foundation, could make a decent workshop and tool shed. I may be able to get an approximately 15×20 building in there, with 2 floors, the main level would be even with the driveway, while the lower, “basement” level would walk out to the lower part of the yard. If option 2 does not work out, this may be the most practical. Followed by building into the hill itself (which could be expensive).

Option 2:
That there is a vacant lot right next to our house. Right now the owner has two honey bee hives there. We’ve talked to the owners a couple times, and they may be open/willing to sell the property to us (have not asked directly, but I did ask some probing questions). It does offer a nice buffer between us and our next closest neighbor, and has some fairly flat land, I’d want to maintain this buffer if we did purchase the land. I could comfortably build a moderately sized workshop there. We may end up going this route and also build a small house for my in-laws to retire in (or as rental-income). If we did that, we’d keep the two properties separate so that we could sell it down the road if we needed to.

After looking at some of the workshops showcased here (some in a small 5×5 storage shed in a parking garage) I certainly don’t feel like I have the smallest shop in the world, and know I’m lucky to have anything at all.

-- There's two routers in my vocab, one that moves data and one that removes wood, the latter being more relevant on this forum.

1 comment so far

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3753 days

#1 posted 10-01-2014 03:36 PM

My only shop for a good many years was an open carport. One side was the back of my house and one adjacent wall was a half wall so there was some protection from the weather on two sides. I had an old antique wardrobe where I stored my tools. I used it this way for about 10 years until I finally closed it in. After this I got me a few stationary tools. It was still a small shop being only 18×18. However, I always enjoyed it in spite of the drawbacks. At 64 years old I finally got to build my dream shop last year so I had to wait for it a long time.

Keep working toward your shop and you’ll finally get it. May you always be happy in your work and welcome to Lumberjockss.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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