Garage Workshop: How to Set It Up

Written by Lillian Connors
19
Sep

Besides housing your car, a garage is a great place for you to store your tools and equipment. However, chances are that it’s far from an ideal place for starting your next DIY project. Here are some tips on how to reinvent your garage into a safe and functional workspace you can show off to your buddies.

Clean it out first

Remove all the extra household items that can’t make stuff or become material for making stuff. In a perfect scenario you wouldn’t have to trip over kids bikes or empty boxes to reach for the painting supplies, however, in the real world, useful storage is hard to come by and even harder to keep. Consider painting a demarcation line in your garage, separating the “household” from the “workshop” area. If need be, build a second shed in the yard for gardening tools, outdoor furniture and seasonal items. Plan for a workbench that won’t be used as storage in between the projects.

Design the workbench

Whether you purchase it or build it yourself, the work table needs to withstand the abuse of your home projects. The legs and base need to be sturdy and the whole table stable so it can’t be knocked over. Make the top durable and use materials appropriate for your types of projects. In case you lack sufficient space, you can build a fold-down workbench that deploys only when you need it.

Build the tool storage

One of the first investments in your garage workshop is going to be the tools, so you need to figure out a way for protecting your investment. Hardware stores offer a bevy of high-quality tool chests with neat organizers and even sturdy locks. For adding storage to the workbench, look for smooth rolling ball-bearing drawers. If you’re buying used, make sure there’s no rust and dirt that could spread corrosion to your tools. Prevent the tools from sliding around by installing rubber drawer mats. A wall pegboard is useful for organizing your space as it gives you quick access to the tools you use very often.

Tools and machines to consider

Whether you’re a young homeowner just starting out in the big world of DIY or a retired professional, you’re going to match the choice of your tools to your budget. If they’re to see occasional to medium use, a hobby machine like a bandsaw or orbital sander is fine, but if you think you’ll be using a particular machine for extended periods, then you can consider a professional-rated tool such as this contemporary automatic saw with a length stop and feeding systems that make it a simple, automated and high-yield workstation.

Provide adequate task lighting

Garages aren’t usually projected as very bright places, which makes setting up task lighting one of the priorities. While track lighting is easy to install and gives sufficient overhead lighting, if the light source is behind you, you’ll need another source to prevent shadows on the workbench. In this case, a simple table lamp with a protective shade and an adjustable head is perfect for delicate work or whenever you need strong focused lighting.

Allow plenty of electrical outlets

Extension cords across your garage floor scream accident and trip danger, so make sure your workshop has enough power outlets to charge your tool batteries, as well as power your corded tools. Besides hand-held tools, you need a few outlets for lighting, heating, AC and ventilation units, CNC machines, but also for entertainment such as jobsite radios, which you can find in many workshops. Chances are that DIY electricians’ work is regulated where you live, so make sure you hire a licenced electrician to rewire your garage for the workshop needs.

If you don’t need a space for your car, a garage makes a natural place to set up your workshop. If you’re ready to start, having your own adapted personal workspace will make a huge difference to the way you work and the way your future DIY projects turn out.