DIY People: Two-Car Garage Workshop
Mike Doerner managed to take a two-car garage
that was little more than room for storage...
into this streamlined workspace!
Decorative pendant lighting and
pegboards add style to function.
"I worked on this shop during
rainy weekends," says Mike Doerner. "I really didn't think it was anything
special. Now, you're out here taking pictures of it."
Mike's ongoing transformation
of a two-car garage into a showplace workshop really is something to see.
Well thought out, organized and spotlessly clean, his shop is a reflection of
Mike's love of woodworking and his zeal for organization.
"The quest for perfect order
is something that compels most high-end woodworkers; itís a
characteristic of an analytical mind. Since I am also an artist, aesthetic
arrangment, or composition of my tools, guided where each was placed on the
wall. But practicality is the main reason every tool has its place: if you
can't find your tools, you can't work on the project." explains
Doing double duty as both a
full-time cabinet shop and a garage, planning and organization is a
necessity. Most everything is on wheels, so workbench, storage cabinets,
and floor machines can be moved out of the way when his wife's car rolls
"I kept the costs down by
using scrap wood for most of the trim and beadboard panels you see," says
Mike. "Of course, I had to purchase 2 by 4s for the main bench frame, and
plywood for the top, but other than that, it's all cast-off material from a
cabinet shop I used to work with. I spent the savings on quality
Here are a few tips from Mike
on building your own garage workshop:
- Use styrofoam panel
insulation on garage doors, between wall studs, and even between ceiling
joists. The sheets are easily cut and installed with construction
adhesive and help muffle the sound of air compressors, table saws, and other
machines. Some R-value is also added to the shop for temperature
regulation in all seasons.
- If your shop is connected to
your house (basement, drive under garage), caulk every seam where dust could
migrate into the residence, especially around HVAC ducts in the subfloor
- For a rock solid workbench,
attach the framing to the house frame. Use the space underneath for a
power tool storage shelf and add sliding doors made of beadboard plywood.
- Many woodworkers use
expensive, metal benchdogs to secure material on their workbenches. Mike
prefers drilling a series of 1/2" holes and using assembly dowels for
benchdogs--a bagfull is only a few dollars, and won't ruin your handplane.
- Mike created a mobile
workbench with a number of unique features, including covers for the tool well
that can be flipped over and used as a fence for short or long stock.
The carved lion's paws for feet were an afterthought.
- The table on Mike's radial
arm saw is only 14" on the left side of the blade, instead of building a long,
space consuming outfeed table/fence (that would get in the way of material
coming off the table saw), he made a hinged support that he can swing up when
making repetitive cuts--out of scrap plywood, of
Mike says he keeps thinking
his shop is complete, but then another idea strikes him. Recently, he
installed decorative pendant lighting over his main bench--the lighting was in a
discontinued bin at a local homestore. "A workshop is never really
finished; there's always something more you can do to improve it," explains
Mike. "That's really the fun of it."
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