Need advice for garage shop layout - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 05-22-2013, 12:22 AM Thread Starter
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Need advice for garage shop layout

I am n to the forum, and I hope I am not beating a dead horse, but I am in need of some advice in setting up my garage shop so that I can best use the space as well as making sure the layout is both safe and functional.

I am working with a 2 car garage for space.

Here is what I have and what I need to work out:
Table Saw
Band Saw
Compound Mitre Saw
48" Wood Lathe

Small Metal Lathe
Metal Mill
Drill Press
2 Air compressors (advice to connect 2 together for single feed)
Welding cart w/ plasma cutter
Oxy/Acet tan
Dust Collector

Dust collector (In Box)
Gantry Crane
Engine Hoist
engine stand
36" metal break
Hydraulic Pipe Bender
20 ton Floor mount press

I have installed a retractable electric and air line to center of garage. I will be installing a retractible oxy/acetylene soon enough.

So far I have built rolling stands for the Metal Mill, Compound Mitre Saw, and Drill press is floor mounted. I've also built an 8 foot by 2 foot work bench.

Im building cabinets around the walls of the garage. These cabinets will storage,including all of my air, cordless and electric tools.

I am thinking about building stations into the cabinets so that the drill press and table saw are behind cabinet doors, and they can roll out for use. I need as much multi-purpose things as possible.

Im thinking of things like building the planer and table saw into tables I can attach to my work bench etc...

Any help would be great....
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post #2 of 13 Old 05-22-2013, 12:45 AM
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Much of a shop design has to do with what you plan to build. Is it for a hobby or business? Do you plan to park you cars in the space when it's not being used?

Sounds like you do metal working as well as woodwork.

I can only tell you how I set up my shop, which is designed to produce furniture and cabinets but could be more efficient if it were designed for one or the other.

For me one thing is a given, the table saw is the core of the shop. Then the work benches. All the other tools are set around the perimeter of the shop. Material handling and storage must be convenient. And if you are building cabinets, you must have a place to put the things while they are under construction.

It's also important to plan for the out feed and infeed spaces required for your machines. I have my planers (two) stacked on top of one another and is set close to my jointer and shaper so as to share the in and out feed space.

My table saw blade infeed side is ten feet from the outside wall which is also where I have a door which I open for handling longer stock. That door is 4' wide and 8" tall and is where I bring in materials and haul out the product. It is also the middle of a triple folding door which I can open to a maximum 12' wide.

I consider all my workshops a work in progress. It's dynamic and will never be completed.

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post #3 of 13 Old 05-22-2013, 08:59 AM
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Since you have a 2 car garage, I would try and keep the two different tool styles separate. However, you can build a shop bench in between the bays to give you more space, and a place to attach the carts so they don't roll away when in use. The main problem that you are going to have is dust from the wood, unless you build lots of cabinet space to keep the dust out of the metalworking tools.

You will also need multiple flip top carts for different tools, as you get two tools in the same space as one. You may even be able to make a tri-top cart for 3 smaller tools, like a bench grinder, bench sander and planer for example. You can also make a shelving system to hold different tools that sit into a recess in a bench, and then store in a floor to ceiling shelving unit. The SCMS and bandsaw can be built into the same area and you can use the bandsaw table, and use the drill press table as well, as a long stock holder to cut wood on the SCMS.

What yon can also do is make scale cut outs of your tools and make a floor plan of the garage and then have everything put into place before you build anything.

Under the assembly bench, you can make storage cabinets for different tools. The table saw can be stored under the assembly bench as well.

This is just one idea to get the creative juices flowing.

Hope this helps.
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post #4 of 13 Old 05-22-2013, 09:28 AM
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You've got good advise from Bret and Stog - think about separating the operations and space for work flow. Obviously, because you are setting up 2 shops in the space of one, tools will need to be mobile, either on wheels or a bench set up that will accommodate easy swap out of tools. Take a look at Chris' bench he just finished building

There are all kinds of workbenches to consider but the bench will be the center of your shops. If it were a woodshop, then like Bret said, the ts would be the center. One thing is certain. Whatever set up you end up with, you will change it. I've had my shop for about 12 years and I am presently enjoying my 14th perfect set up.

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #5 of 13 Old 05-22-2013, 10:46 AM
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How about getting a bigger garage???
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post #6 of 13 Old 05-22-2013, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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My shop is purely hobby in nature, but my projects aren't all "small" in nature. When I moved into this house the Garage was barely functional as a garage, the previous owners had built simple 1x12" shelving around 2 of the walls, and supported them every 8' with 1x4" supports simply nailed to the front from floor to top shelf.

They are/were great for frustrating me. Just wide enough that they come up too short to store my stuff on, and when they were wide enough they would sag from the weight...

I need to keep the shop as flexible as possible so that I can "reconfigure" for different projects. My first/second project are to organize the shop, and concurrently I am also remodeling my kitchen as well.

Once the shop is organized and Kitchen is finished, and functioning well I will begin working on (re)building my home office/hobby room which will be book cases, desks and such. And I am also planning to build my 3rd airplane which is metal/wood and fabric.

So what I am planning on doing is when I am jigged up to build cabinets for the Kitchen I build a few for the Garage as well to replace the shelving as I go. So far this approach has been frustratingly slow and manages to keep the shop feeling cluttered. And I feel like I spend more time looking for tools than I spend actually working.

Basically I finished and hung my first cabinet this past weekend. With my current way of working there is no way I am going to start taking my kitchen apart. My cabinet turned out "OK" but far from being even adequate for inside the house.

Right now most of my metal tools are piled in a corner and covered with the exception of my bench top lathe which I use off and on for little things. My woodworking tools are not much better. For a temporary solution, I built rolling stands for the Miter Saw.

As a temporary table saw I am using a cheap Ryobi 10" saw sitting on it's flimsy stand (main reason cabinet quality suffered). I need to make another trip back to Iowa to pick up my table saw, but that trip won't be for a few months. And honestly right now I wouldn't be able to fit it in the Garage anyway. If I am going to get any level of quality from this saw I am going to need to build a solid top/stand for it. And even then it is going to be falling short on a lot of things.

That layout is pretty similar to what I was thinking about. The two main things I need to worry about dust with are the Mill and the Lathe. I keep both covered when not in use, but dust does fine it's way in no matter what I do.

My assembly stand right now is 2'x8' with 1' lips that I can swing up to give me more space, and it's on castors to allow me to roll it out of the way to make space when needed. I am also going to need for it to be 16' in the near future though, so I was planning to simply build 2 more stands like the first except 4'x2' so that I can store them a little easier, and attach them to the main stand when needed.

Right now my pressing need in the Garage is easy access storage so I can get my tools out of the way, but accessible. I also need to get my nails/screws/Glues somewhat organized and out of the way as well. Right now the tools are crammed/piled onto the existing shelving.

What do y'all think about this: Along one side of the Garage I am planning to hang 24" deep and 36" tall with tops 12" below ceiling, and lighting attached to the bottom of the cabinets. I can store longer items on top. The first 8 feet of one side of the Garage. I can roll my assembly table under this set of shelves when not in use, or while working on smaller projects.

I want my Band Saw, Drill Press out of the way unless needed, so I was planning to build a cabinet that goes from floor up to level with other cabinets and maybe 36" wide that I can put the Drill Press inside of w/ shelving above it, and along the sides next to the drill press I would build sliding drawers which would store all the drill press related tools. The drill press would be able to be used inside the cabinet for small things, and I can slide it out when I need more space around it. My only real concern is stability when its outside the cabinet. I want to do the same thing for the Band Saw.

I liked your idea for the multi-use tabletop that I can insert tools as needed. I was planning on something like that for one of the extensions for the assembly bench, but every time I sat down to try to draw up my idea I couldn't manage to make it work without a lot of short filler stands for the tools. Maybe I am missing, or not thought it through though.

The tools that would be ideal for this type of insert would be my small table saw, planer, jointer, router table, sanders, small miter saw etc. I would want all of them to fit such that the bench top matched to their respective bed heights. I have thought about 2 different ways to do this, the first would be to put flat bottoms on all of them that slides into grooves on the table. My second idea was to build the table with a single bottom, then build bases for each tool that sat on that bottom and put them at the right height.

Problem with option 1 is that each tool has a different height, and the slots would conflict in some cases. I'm also concerned about stability of this approach. Storage would be easiest for this.

Problem with #2 is that I take up a lot of storage space for all of the stands for each tool. Stability would be good though.

Lately I have seen a lot of the flip top benches, and they look nice and seem to be functional, but I'm not all too sure I could build them to work into the way I do my projects.

I also have issues with storage of materials. I usually buy Plywood as needed for projects, but flat-wood tends to pile up, and right now I am having a lot of issues for this. I thought about hanging shelves from the ceiling, but I am concerned that the rafters may not be strong enough.

What I have thought about is to use galvanized pipe that runs the width of the Garage with supports attaching to rafters every 4 feet, and running these cross pipes every other rafter, and using the space above the Garage door for storage. What do y'all think about this?

I built an air filter using an old furnace fan and air filters, it helped, but not much. I just bought a Cyclone Collector, but I have no place to put it. Attic isn't easily accessible and anything outside is not an option. And putting it on wheels and moving it around isn't practical either.
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post #7 of 13 Old 05-22-2013, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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I wish I had seen this a couple of months ago. I like the layout of the top...

Originally Posted by BernieL View Post
You've got good advise from Bret and Stog - think about separating the operations and space for work flow. Obviously, because you are setting up 2 shops in the space of one, tools will need to be mobile, either on wheels or a bench set up that will accommodate easy swap out of tools. Take a look at Chris' bench he just finished building
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post #8 of 13 Old 05-22-2013, 11:34 AM
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Grizzly has a free shop planning tool that I found immensely helpful.

Here's my two car garage layout, of which my tools can only occupy half:

Last edited by knotscott; 05-22-2013 at 04:17 PM.
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post #9 of 13 Old 05-22-2013, 02:43 PM
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Wow. Seems like a lot of you guys have the whole garage for your use. I have to share my metal and woodworking stuff with washer, dryer, a few household things and spouse's car. For me the key is wheels/rollers/more wheels/more rollers. Everything, including work bench, can be rolled out to work and then back out of way (of aforementioned car, washer, dryer ...............
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post #10 of 13 Old 05-23-2013, 12:03 AM
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I thought you mite be interested in Chris' bench. He basically built his bench using "Fine Woodworking" magazine's New Fangled Workbench plans. Those plans inspired me to build my bench which is much different but as versatile. I wanted to use my starter bench and transform it. Check it out!

I always dreamed about those fancy European benches but they have always been out of my budget. Part of the European style bench attraction has always been their looks. They are beautiful... but a bench needs to be functional more then beautiful. Hope you find what is best for you and when you do, please take a few pictures and let us see.

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #11 of 13 Old 05-23-2013, 09:10 AM Thread Starter
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I can still implement the elements of his design into my bench, but I will need to either scrap my top and try to salvage the plywood, or just wait until it's time to replace the top. After I get the garage more organized I will have a better feel for how well my bench will work in the long run. I may need tear my bench down and rebuild it, but that sort of depends on the final layout of the shop.

I build my bench out of 4x4 treated wood lag bolted together (no glue/no nails). I alternated the direction of the wood to build up to the top. and I used 2 layers of 3/4" plywood for the top. I haven't added any of the accessories for assembly yet, those will be added as I need them.

I wanted heavy enough that it could take a good pounding without distortion, but portable enough to roll around the Garage to where I needed it. And I wanted to be able to take it apart and be able to salvage as much as possible if I decided that it needed to be rebuilt. I used 6 heavy duty castors for rolling, and so far in the month since building it, I have found a few things about it that doesn't work well.

If I roll it out of the garage I need to use a jack to lift it back over the 1" threshold so I really try hard not to roll it outside. I also need a way to level it, and to "lock" it down so it doesn't move on me. I nearly hurt myself last night trying to move a carcass around.

Not much to do about the weight, but I am thinking that I will make cork screw jacks for 4 corners and center front and back. This should solve both the movement issue and the leveling issues.

For what it's worth I also build stands for my Miter Saw and Milling Machines using this same method. It has worked well for the saw, but I haven't been able to even get to my mill since putting it on the stand and rolling it into a corner out of the way.

I like the way his top's center can be removed in smaller pieces as needed. I could see that coming in handy. I could make a down draft sanding top, and I could put my router table top, and a few other tools as well.

I also like the skirts w/ the T-Tracks. I would never have thought to put T-Tracks into my table top at all. I've already ordered a set for mine, and they should be here early next week. I am trying to figure out a way to jig up my router to cut the trench for them now so that I can keep them trued to each other (any suggestions?)

Any suggestions for a set of braces that I could use to lock the skirts up quickly when I need then, and keep them stiff enough that I could use them for clamping when needed? And still hinge them down out of the way when not needed? The way my table is all my skirt is good for is to increase top area for supporting larger items. It's useless for any real clamping force because of the simple braces I have.

I tried a couple of different ways to lock the tops to the table so I could use them for clamping, but nothing I tried would lock them in place tight enough that they wouldn't lift up when I clamped anything to them.

I'll post pictures of it tonight when I get home if I get the chance.
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post #12 of 13 Old 05-23-2013, 12:03 PM
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As for cutting the channels to accommodate the t-tracks, a good straight edge guide should do the trick and to keep them parallel to each other, I would use a couple of story sticks. By story sticks, I mean 2 sticks of exactly the same length. Cut your 1st channel and place your sticks on each end. Butt your straight edge against the sticks and it is parallel to the channel. If you checked my bench. I had 2 deep channels cut into my original workbench to accept the pipe clamps, but instead of using my router, I used a skill saw.

As for the skirts, I'm having a hard time picturing your set up so post a couple of pictures and I'm sure somebody can help you out.

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post #13 of 13 Old 05-29-2013, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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I finally have pictures of my work bench. I took off the table extensions that run the length of the table, and are hinged. I am going to replace them with 2x12's so that I can have a better clamping surface.

The second picture is of the table I built for my Compound Miter Saw.

When I am working I roll the bench and any tools I might need, then when done I roll them back out of the way... I still have a long way to go for organizing things before I have a workable layout, but for now it's a work in progress.
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