Garage workshop, sloped floor question.

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Forum topic by markedwardsims posted 09-24-2012 02:07 PM 9680 views 1 time favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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50 posts in 3206 days

09-24-2012 02:07 PM

Hello all, I am just weeks away from moving into a new home, which means I’ll be leaving behind my single car garage space, and moving into a 2 car garage space. The new space is 19’ x 19’, with an extra 9.5’ x 6.5’ area on one side, which gives me a wall aprox. 25’ long to use for a cabinets and a benchtop. My goal is to put the miter saw somewhere close to the middle, so I can use flipstops and all that good stuff. I want to utilize some of the ideas from this article since we will need to still park 2 cars in the garage. I have a Bosch 4100 tablesaw, so I’d like to stash it, the router table, planer, etc… underneath, on rolling stands. Here’s my first obstacle: like most garages, there is a slight slope downward toward the garage door. It’s subtle, but over a length of 25’ becomes significant. My tendency is to make the countertop actually level, but that could get a little weird for the rolling cabinets that would be stored underneath. Should I consider just following the slope of the floor? I suppose the countertop space would still be flat. Anyway, let me know the general thoughts on the matter so I can get a good plan together and build out the shop the best way. I’ve attached a rough elevation view of what I’m imagining thus far.

Thanks and I look forward to the feedback!


14 replies so far

View HorizontalMike's profile


7797 posts in 3427 days

#1 posted 09-24-2012 02:18 PM

For me, FLAT is most important on any bench. I can ignore “level” being off, within reason.

What amazes me is just how far out of level/vertical my home’s flooring and walls are. I live on pier and beam, yet all of this only tends to show when I build a “perfectly square” piece of furniture and place it against a wall or next to a particular window frame. Other than that, my home looks “perfect” when there is nothing to compare it with of known dimensions/shape.


-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2882 days

#2 posted 09-24-2012 02:39 PM

You could use adjustable feet on your bench on either side of the miter saw. Then you could try both ways, or come up with something in the middle, or whatever. You’ll leave yourself open to making it however level or not level you want.

I used these on my garage cabinets. They’re only $18 for a set of 4, easily adjustable, and rated at 400lb per leg.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3484 days

#3 posted 09-24-2012 04:27 PM

Different strokes for different folks.
I want mine level and flat.
But, over a 25ft length I might have a step in there somewhere so the working height from the floor is reasonable. Depends on slope of the floor.
I know you said you want a miter saw in the middle and you probably want 8ft either side of it to be level with the saw.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3671 days

#4 posted 09-24-2012 04:49 PM

I’ve never been able to detect a difference. I’d pretend the slope doesn’t exist. If everything is referenced from the floor, then nothing else really matters.

-- jay,

View MrRon's profile


5721 posts in 3756 days

#5 posted 09-24-2012 04:53 PM

Miter saws waste a lot of space rearward of the blade. I think it would be better as a portable and keep the benchj free for projects. Placing the saw in the bench, makes it a miter saw bench, not a workbench. The bench should be level. A roll around workbench is desirable so you can have access to all sides. A minimum 4” dia full locking casters will keep portable benches/tools stable.

View markedwardsims's profile


50 posts in 3206 days

#6 posted 09-24-2012 08:04 PM

Thank you all for the feedback. It sounds like regardless of level, flat is what everyone agrees on. I forgot to mention that the ultimate plan is to build a “real” workbench, that I can roll out into the middle of the garage, exactly as MrRon described. I’m sure I’ll have more questions as the plan evolves, so I’ll be back. Thanks again!


View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3671 days

#7 posted 09-24-2012 08:12 PM

Mark: Yep. I actually am striving to get most of my tables a uniform height…table saw, outfeed/assembly, workbench, etc. Not only is this good for the back, but I can then put everything in various configurations to help with a given machine. For example, the TS outfeed would also work as a miter saw extension and a planer extension as well. Similarly, a workbench could also accept long boards off the TS, if necessary..and for my small shop, it is indeed necessary. If I try to compensate for the floor’s slope, I open a huge can of worms in that regard. Besides, with small garage shops, you’ll likely want everything on wheels anyway.

About the only time it is noticeable is when I hang a shelf or cabinet on the wall.

-- jay,

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4731 days

#8 posted 09-24-2012 08:18 PM

I have a number of my tools on rolling bases, and the slope of the floor is really not noticeable.

My first thought was to advise you to build your bench level, and then I realized that my own workbench rests on two base cabinets that sit on the sloped floor, and it’s never been an issue. Duhhh!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3620 days

#9 posted 09-24-2012 10:02 PM

The only real imprtant part is in relation to the miter saw blade. As long as you make everything square to the blade, it can be mounted vertical but that might be a challenge in itself. lol. My garage has almost a 6 inch drop from rear to door a disrtance of 22 feet. I only have one bench that is level and that is because I started at the cieling with cabinets. Level does cost you space under the bence as you observed in your original comment.

Your might look into the Ridgid mobile base for the miter saw. I love mine. I use my miter saw either on the driveway or out back on the patio. You might look at my shop photos.
When you collapse the base and stand it and the saw up, it only needs about 6 square feet of floor space.

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2585 days

#10 posted 09-24-2012 10:29 PM

I’m with cosmicsniper: If you ignore level and focus on consistent heights and height adjustability you can plan for more. In my small shop I made sure my rolling table, tools on cabs, and such all came out at the right heights. Then my rolling work bench could easily be the out feed for my table saw, or a storage cabinet an out rigger for larger projects and etc. You may want to think ahead of what tools can share the same fence. A well thought out back bench can hold much more than just a miter saw. Drill press, for one. Think about a fold away shelf at the front of the miter saw. It can be folded down the face, or even all the way under, but when you need that extra width or want to work on a long piece in front of the saw you can fold it out. think about a wall mount dust-collector. Grizzly sells one for about $100, and the big guys sell them too, if you are afraid of bears.
Last thought. If you go flat and not level, get in the habit of keeping your coffee on the down slope, then when you knock it over it runs away from the piece your working on!! :)

-- Who is John Galt?

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3821 days

#11 posted 09-24-2012 10:44 PM

Flat is more important than level in my opinion also. I had a sloped floor in a previous location and if it was not bad enough that the table saw did not start rolling towards the street I was not concerned.

View Charlie's profile


1101 posts in 2799 days

#12 posted 09-25-2012 12:09 AM

Get one of these: miter saw stand

I have one. My shop is small and stuff has to be on wheels and not take up a lot of floor space when not in use. The stand collapses and stands on end when I’m not using it (with the saw ON it). I can roll it out of the shop and set it up in under a minute and a half. When I’m done, lock the saw down, lock the slide, fold up the stand and roll it into its storage place.

I actually started keeping mine close to the door because every time I use it I roll it outside. I use the miter saw for cutting long pieces down to length. Once I get them down below 6 feet or so I can run them on the table saw pretty easily.

I really think you get a lot of bang for the buck in a small shop when you put stuff on wheels and plan the parking spaces. :)

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3615 days

#13 posted 09-25-2012 06:43 AM

I want to utilize some of the ideas from this article since we will need to still park 2 cars in the garage.

I count my blessings that I have a stand alone workshop and do not have to count automobiles into the equation. But I gotta believe that if I did have a a two car garage and wanted a workshop I would have no trouble leaving the auto’s outside on a permanent basis. After reviewing the Finewoodworking article I can see what they are doing by putting everything on casters and shuffling things around as needed. A person may even want to put a tool in the driveway sometimes for more elbow room. It looks like it would be more hassle than I would want to put up with constantly moving tools around, locking them down, use them, unlock them and put them all away and then park the cars in the garage/workshop.

I am not trying to be snarky when I wonder why people can’t leave the auto’s in the driveway. High crime neighborhood?? Cars leak?? I keep many of my tools on casters to move but basically to clean behind with a broom or move an assembly table to a better location.

I think most of us have uneven floors and leg levelers seem to be the answer in most cases.

Good luck on the new home….....................

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

View markedwardsims's profile


50 posts in 3206 days

#14 posted 09-25-2012 01:23 PM

This is all wonderful feedback. A few replies:

Excellent call on the drill press. I may need to do some looking around and find a good way to incorporate that into the mix. I bet if it were more accessible than it has been, I would use it much more.

I was fortunate enough to find a gentlemen selling off some of his stuff locally, and got a great deal on a Delta 50-850 dust collector, and a huge amount of pipe ranging from 6” down to 2-1/2” inches. It’s 1.5HP, so I think it will do a nice job in that size space.

My cars definitely live outside when I have a project going. We’re located in north Texas, and we have hail and tornado season to contend with. A couple years back I had a project going, so the garage was completely occupied. We had just purchased my wife a new car when the hail came. These storms materialize without warning. Fortunately for us, there was only a couple of small paint chips to touch up, but I’m not sure I’ll ever hear the end of it. So, I definitely agree that spending so much rolling out and putting away is a bummer, but I need to be able to protect the vehicles during certain times of the year.

Thanks again! I’ll check back in as I get things rolling (so to speak), and hopefully I can devise a way to spend more time working, and less on setup and teardown.

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