Wood working with out a shop

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Forum topic by watermark posted 03-22-2014 06:33 AM 1647 views 1 time favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View watermark's profile


484 posts in 2909 days

03-22-2014 06:33 AM

I was winding down after a long week with a little “shop” time today and wondered how may others out there share the same problem I do. Lack of a dedicated shop or covered enclosed space to store tools and do your wood working. I share a garage with my wife’s car, her photography gear, the kids outdoor toys and our laundry. I am not complaining I am lucky to have this and a big enough yard to make a mess with no neighbours to complain about lack of dust collection.

I store my tools inside the garage where I have a simple bench for doing hand tool work and finishing but all dust making has to be done outside for lack of dust collection and space to set up power tools inside.

I figure today I spent more time pulling out tools and setting them up and storing them than actually working. I wonder how much faster projects would be completed with a real shop.

Like I said before I am not complaining just curious how other people in similar situations are doing it and maybe finding ways to be more efficient.

-- "He who has no dog, hunts with a cat" Portuguese proverb

14 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30578 posts in 3304 days

#1 posted 03-22-2014 10:28 AM

I am in somewhat of that mode. Waiting for winter to give up so I can spend more time in the driveway.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1335 posts in 2901 days

#2 posted 03-22-2014 12:15 PM

I am lucky to have a 1 car garage as a dedicated shop. Even with that size of a shop, though, I still find myself in the driveway a lot. I have no dust collection system, so my jointer and planer go into the driveway when it is time for milling stock. So even guys with “shops” still end up in the driveway

As far as how I approach it, when I started putting my shop together I decided to put everything on wheels except for my workbench and my cabinet saw. I thought the wheels would be marginally useful, turns out they have been an absolutely vital part of my work. My jointer, bandsaw, and planer are all on wheels. This keeps me from having back trouble picking up really heavy tools. I also have two portable tables on wheels. One is my granite topped sharpening station (about 2’ x 3’). The other table, my pride and joy, is just half of a commerical plastic laminate door screwed to the top of a dresser. It serves as my outfeed table, finishing table, junk table, etc. I use that table more than anything else in my shop and I never would have imagined that when I made it. It sounds like you are tight on space, so maybe make a set of sawhorses that you can set up and plop a sheet of plywood on top of. I have found that while more horizontal surfaces can often create some self-inflicted clutter, they also allow you to keep working when you would otherwise have to find a place to put something or God forbid put it back where it goes.

In all, my tips for you are
1. Put wheels on everything if you can. It’ll save your back and make moving things to the driveway much faster
2. Make yourself a portable horizontal surface to set things on.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View trophyjoe's profile


53 posts in 3214 days

#3 posted 03-22-2014 12:47 PM

Check out ZiggyZ’s version of the Poulk mobile workbench. If I was in your position again, that would be a must-have.
Good article about the original here:

-- Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. Antoine de Saint-Exupery

View EPJartisan's profile


1123 posts in 4092 days

#4 posted 03-22-2014 02:54 PM

it’s been a long time since i was a tiny basement shop, but i remember well. Since i got myself established, i have shared my space with any artist who needs that… one tool that is too expensive or few feet of extra space to compete their project. Yet, you’d be surprised.. no matter how much space i have there is never enough and i spend a good chunk of time keeping it organized for ease of use.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View bandit571's profile


27473 posts in 3650 days

#5 posted 03-22-2014 03:10 PM

A small basement shop

This is about it for a shop. Won’t be doing any Highboys down there, but….

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 3037 days

#6 posted 03-22-2014 03:16 PM

Ive been there bud, as I suspect many of us have. I am currently in what Id call my 3rd shop. I started out like you, using the back yard. When I got my first little shop it felt huge….for about a month. Now, my 3rd shop, I feel lucky to have a the full basement of the house with 8 ft ceilings and a full size back door to the yard. Once I got all set up (well Im about 90% there), my productivity went through the roof. My problem was my table saw was also my assembly area, and my finishing area. Now that I have dedicated spaces for all the stages, I can work on several projects at once.

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View WebErika's profile


104 posts in 2496 days

#7 posted 03-22-2014 03:21 PM

Currently I share a garage with hubby, and do most of my big dust making stuff outside. My Miter saw (12” Sliding Compound) and Table saw (R4510) are both on wheels with dedicated carts of their own, so easily moved, stored etc. I need a rolling workbench and I store the rest of my small tools in or on a large permanent workbench we made.

After we do the garden equipment shed, I get to build a workshop addition on to our garage. Maybe later this summer :) Then I will have my own space I can be Queen of… but I will probably still want to roll the big guys outside to do work. I enjoy the sun.

The only time I find it really sad is if it is raining, and I wanted to rip big pieces of wood. I can’t do them inside the garage. :(

-- Have a happy day!

View fuigb's profile


587 posts in 3924 days

#8 posted 03-22-2014 04:27 PM

Not dedicated shop is a common ailment here, at least among the hobbiests. I’ve eked out space in a two-car garage for storage as well as some work when it’s cold I can evict a car. My answer is the common answer: everything gets wheels. Shopsmith mag a few years back had a plan for a mobile work table. I have two, with one carrying bench tools like a drill press, sander, n grinder. The other is a work surface. All of the larger tools have their own mobile carriage as does my work bench. True, some shop time is lost to moving but in ten minutes I can have an entire shop set up in the driveway, and in 20 i can have everything cleaned and put away as though there was nothing going on. Kinda the wood hobbiest’s version of leave-no-trace furniture manufacturing!

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View lateralus819's profile


2243 posts in 2856 days

#9 posted 03-22-2014 05:05 PM

I hope i never have to worry about that. My wife is understanding enough that when we do buy a house, ill get the garage for a workshop. I clean her car and start it in the winter anyways.

View SuperCubber's profile


1160 posts in 3251 days

#10 posted 03-23-2014 03:57 AM

I’m in the same boat, and my shop time is usually during kids’ naps. So I feel your pain, as far as wasted time.

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View Mustang67's profile


111 posts in 2520 days

#11 posted 03-23-2014 05:04 AM

Wheels seem to be a popular solution. I work out of the garage, and my equipment is either light enough to carry to the driveway, or on wheels. Even my workbench is on wheels.

View Greg Guarino's profile

Greg Guarino

50 posts in 2496 days

#12 posted 03-23-2014 03:12 PM

One car garage, with one car in it. :)

But that’s a blessing in disguise. Most people I know have the Collier Brothers Garage: dead storage piled to the rafters. Garaging a car has forced me to put in shelves and keep it clear and organized. I pull the car out and voila! A small but clear space to work in.

When projects are in progress the car spends some time outdoors.


View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 3775 days

#13 posted 03-23-2014 03:30 PM

Sounds like your wife will need to find a new place to park that car!

View watermark's profile


484 posts in 2909 days

#14 posted 03-24-2014 05:16 AM

Thanks for all the advice everyone. I know I am not alone and I also know I am luckier than a lot of people at least I don’t have to deal with serious winters here in Hawaii.

-- "He who has no dog, hunts with a cat" Portuguese proverb

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