My Garage/Work Shop Makeover #1: What a Mess!

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Blog entry by MT_Stringer posted 06-18-2013 04:15 AM 9440 reads 9 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of My Garage/Work Shop Makeover series Part 2: Cabinets for the Alcove »

I thought I would document my desire to reorganize my one car garage/workshop. My woodworking tools share the floor space with a washer, dryer, upright freezer and a hot water heater. The outside wall has a heavy duty storage rack that takes up about 2/3 of the wall. Another storage rack and the Harbor Freight dust collector takes up the remainder of the wall space.

That leaves me with the center of the garage and the other long wall to use. After adding a cabinet table saw, an outfeed table/work bench/assembly table multiuse table, a 14 inch band saw and a 6 inch jointer. There is not a lot of room left. I also have the Harbor Freight large rolling tool box with two add-ons which take up almost 6 feet of the available wall space.

Many years ago, I built a simple work bench and bolted a vise onto it. The other day when I was doing some cleaning and sweeping, I found a magazine behind a storage rack that was dated April 1988! :-) That was a year after we moved into this house. Guess I should clean up more often, huh?

After that many years you can imagine I have collected a lot of stuff. I still have some of my original Sears Craftsman tools from my first tool purchase in 1967.

I have already made several improvements. A few years ago, we had the siding replaced on our house. While the siding was off, I had the contractor insulate the outside wall of the garage.I’m glad I thought of it while the wall was open and easy to get to. We also bought a new energy efficient overhead door and had it installed.

Last summer it was 95-102 here in the Houston area. It was miserable to try to work in the shop. I even set up a pop up canopy to do some of the work outside under it. But the homeowners assoc didn’t like that so I took it down.

As a result, I bought a Fedders 12K split system air conditioner and me and my son installed it. He works for a HVAC company and did the AC part. I hired an electrician to run a new dedicated circuit for the AC unit. The outside unit sits behind the privacy fence and is actually only about 6 feet from the electrical service panel.

The following week, I had an insulating company blow in 11 inches of insulation in the ceiling over the garage, the adjacent bedroom and bathroom. Boy howdy, what a difference that insulation made. One of the added benefits is sound deadner. It has really muffled outside noise. In fact, you can’t hardly hear the overhead door when it opens or closes.

The big difference is the insulating factor. With all of the walls (and ceiling) insulated, the garage is just like the rest of the house. The AC keeps the temp at about 74 deg F. It will drop it to 73 if I don’t raise the door much.
That is while it is 90+ deg outside.

Now I can work anytime. The AC unit is also a heat pump so those cold harsh Houston winters (sic) don’t faze me…33 deg outside, 69 inside. :-)

The other day it was 91 outside – 74 inside. I like that a lot.

The Plan

I have devised a plan and it goes like this:

  • Clear out the 4 foot x 6 foot alcove that was used to hold a tool box and a lot of other stuff.
  • Build new upper cabinets and install them on French Cleats. Stock the cabinets with paint and stain supplies.
  • Remove the old work bench and clear out all of the junk along that wall. Paint the wall as I go.
  • Relocate the rolling tool box to make better use of the floor space.
  • Build two new cabinets and hang them above the tool box on French cleats.
  • Add some electrical receptacle boxes for power tool use by running 1/2 inch EMT conduit as needed.
  • Build new cabinets to house the bench top drill press, miter saw, and planer. Note: This is still under consideration. I haven’t actually get it figured out yet but I have 92 inches of wall space to work with.
    Build more cabinets above the power tools if room allows.

Note: Once all of the cabinets have been built, I will build face frames and attach them to the cabinets. Doors will probably come last.

Before Pictures

Here are some pics taken before I started this project.

I guess that is all for now. In the next segment, I will start building the cabinets for the alcove and get them hung and stocked.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

11 comments so far

View steliart's profile


2895 posts in 4178 days

#1 posted 06-18-2013 04:46 AM

I know the feeling, it all looks allot now but it’s gonna be great

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions !!!

View kepy's profile


293 posts in 3763 days

#2 posted 06-18-2013 01:28 PM

I know where there is a shop that you could use as a trial run to see how it would go.

-- Kepy

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4721 days

#3 posted 06-18-2013 03:53 PM

Thanks. I swear I am not a hoarder! :-)

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View clieb91's profile


4267 posts in 5425 days

#4 posted 06-18-2013 08:38 PM

Sounds like a good plan. It will be much appreciated when it is completed I am sure. Look forward to seeing some of the future posts regarding the undertaking.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 3680 days

#5 posted 06-18-2013 11:01 PM

sounds great,can’t wait to see your progress….

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 4592 days

#6 posted 06-19-2013 06:49 AM

Love your drill press set-up.
You know what they say, “Organization is for people who are too lazy to look for things”........................

-- mike...............

View KiwiCraig's profile


15 posts in 3342 days

#7 posted 06-21-2013 09:15 AM

Can’t remember painting my tool cabinets red! Great progress further on in your blog.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4721 days

#8 posted 06-21-2013 05:47 PM

“Can’t remember painting my tool cabinets red!”

@Kiwi – That’s the way it came from Harbor Freight.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4721 days

#9 posted 01-07-2014 02:49 AM

Worked out in the shop today. The high for today set an all time record for the Houston area – 36 degrees F. We knew that the tail end of the arctic blast was coming, so we were ready for it.

Working in a small area has it’s drawbacks, and many times I wish the place was larger, but it isn’t and it is not going to get any larger. But being insulated and air conditioned/heated does help make up for the size limitation.

It has been 72 deg F in the shop all day – T shirt weather! :-) For you guys north of here, I don’t envy you one bit. It is hard for me to imagine the temps being reported on the news.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View rbrjr1's profile


217 posts in 1696 days

#10 posted 12-07-2017 08:26 PM

I’ve got a 1 car garage shop also..
and mine has junk everywhere just like these photos..

You’ve added to my inspiration to organize and make the space useful again.

-- only an idiot dismisses an intelligent statement because they dont know anything about the person delivering it.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4357 days

#11 posted 12-07-2017 09:06 PM

I hope the redo will go off without a hitch. You will enjoy it and it will be a rewarding experience. My suggestion would be to divide it up into segments and finish each project completely before starting with another. This way you can see the improvements as you go along and it will be a wonderful motivator. Good luck!

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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