Setting up dedicated woodworking shop #1: Fighting for every square inch

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Blog entry by Scott Wigginton posted 02-25-2009 04:55 AM 2786 reads 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Setting up dedicated woodworking shop series Part 2: Brightening things up. »

Since the last time I posted a pic of my workshop, things got a lot worse (cramped) to the point of being virtually unusable. Automotive and Landscape tools were mixed in with my power handtools. Holiday storage was overflowing from the back rooms. My lumber rack was beyond capacity and things started to pile up on work surfaces. I was spending more time moving stuff than working, and sometimes I just couldn’t find the tools I needed.

Finally I had enough, and got serious about kicking those other tools outta my way.

Getting Started with More Space

To get started I added on a 5’ x 13’ area to the back of the garage. The original garage had an addition that made it L shaped so I felt I should fill in the square.

I had a large pile of 16 foot 2×12s and 3/4 ply salvaged from a set construction at my church. All I had to throw in was a 4×4 post, 2 yards of concrete, 4 sheets of OSB, and some leftover studs and I was in business. Around the same time as this addition I noticed a leak that had been around for awhile so I patched any noticeably bad areas and re-shingled the rest of the roof.

Adding on

The old siding was placed over lat sheathing so I added some OSB for future shelves/organization.

I had some help with the painting

I converted the space into two rooms, both accessible from the outside only. In the picture below, the room with the door on the right holds the fridge & grill and the other room has my dust collector, future 60 gallon compressor, and misc landscape/automotive tools.

How come 80% solution tends to remain there for awhile?

I picked up some hardiplank lap siding but will get to that when I have time to do the whole garage right.

Opening up the side

On the inside of the shop, I opened up the layout to expand my space. The first place I went after was a 30” wall separating the original addition which was a side bump out. This was my first time removing a portion of a load bearing wall and replacing it with a header. I used more of those salvaged 2×12s to build a supersized temporary wall.

As I removed the wall section & top plate I didn’t hear any settled, and the header went up as well as can be expected when working alone. In the pic below the old wall was right where the TS is sitting and you can just see the new header above.

Removed interior wall

Lengthening the main space

My largest challenge was figuring out what to do with the two rooms in the back of my main space which were for “holiday storage”. The pic below was with all the Christmas boxes removed (about 40% capacity)

Storage overload, this isn't even half full

When my daughter got a new toy bench for Christmas I took my stand and told LOML that unless I could claim this space the bench would remain in the house. Permission was granted and within hours I had the studs removed beyond the point of no return (lest SWMBO had a change of heart). I kept a couple of the ceiling joists to make a shallow loft as seen below.

New back of the shop

The roof leak was above the adjacent wall and the drywall had several signs of mold. The long term goal for this wall is to be lumber storage so I ripped out the moldy drywall and replaced it with OSB (I’ve already enlisted my child labor for this Friday to paint it!)

In need of some blinding white paint and a lumber rack

What’s next?

Now that the space is open, I have a lot of shuffling to get things into place (and still get rid of some stuff). Next up is to finish the feeder for a new 40 Amp subpanel and all the wiring off that (finally gonna get 240V for my new tools!).

I then have to get final tool placement so I can get ductwork up (and maybe build a cyclone). Then there is the lumber rack and outfeed table and cleat storage system and clamp rack etc. etc.

And who knows what, maybe I can fit an actual non-shop WW project in before the end of the year.

-- Scott

3 comments so far

View Derek Lyons's profile

Derek Lyons

584 posts in 5025 days

#1 posted 02-25-2009 07:58 AM

Storage shelving like this may help:

Click for details

-- Derek, Bremerton WA --

View douginaz's profile


220 posts in 5459 days

#2 posted 02-25-2009 01:33 PM

Nice work Scott. That has to feel great to finally claim the space ans start the work. Nothing quite like having a shop come to life right in front of your eyes. Good luck and keep us posted.
Doug in Az.

-- If you need craft books - please visit our small business at

View Scott Wigginton's profile

Scott Wigginton

51 posts in 5203 days

#3 posted 02-25-2009 03:59 PM

And a shout out to the Bosch PS40-2, the only drill I’ve used the entire project (kept the replacement battery on the charger, only took 30 secs of downtime when the battery ran low)

Derek, I’ve learned the hard way about container sizes (have about 6 varieties right now, all from Rubbermaid no less). Right now my stuff is at an uncles overflow building so they’re just stacked as high as I can reach ‘em, but thats a great setup for any future space.

-- Scott

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