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Idea Shop 5: One-car Garage Shop

The challenge: Create a one-car-garage shop equipped with loads of tools and lots of smart storage at an affordable price.

When we designed the shop you see here, we wanted to create a full-featured shop in a compact space. We started with a third stall of a 3-car garage, a feature found in many newer homes. You may not have this type of garage at your house. That's okay. Wherever you place your shop, we know you'll find a whole world of great ideas in this one that you can easily put to use.

Floor plan

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As the floor plan shows, we incorporated all of the major tools needed for a complete woodworking shop into this 15 x 22' space. Plus the shop offers ample storage space, work surfaces that double as bases for benchtop tools, and a serious dust-collection system. Beyond that, almost everything else is mobile.

Rearranging the wall components is just about effortless. We changed from the original configuration (top photo) to this one (below) in less than 20 minutes.

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We walled off one 15x22' bay from the rest of the garage to create shop space, and then covered the drywall with a more durable, attractive surface: beadboard pine plywood.

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Projects

You may have noticed that all of our shop fixtures share a similar look. Sure, that consistency makes for a great appearance, but the real reason for their resemblance lies in our goal to make them as easy and affordable as possible to build. The workbench bases, flip-top cabinets, and router-table base, for example are essentially identical in construction. Master building one, and you quickly can create them all. The same holds true for the wall cabinets-three sizes, one basic design.

We built almost everything from three materials: medium-density fiberboard (MDF), medium-density overlay (MDO) plywood, and soft maple. you'll find these durable, inexpensive, materials in home centers. Add simple hardware and an easy-to-renew clear finish, and you get a high function on a low budget.

Workbench

A top made of two layers of MDF banded with maple provides a generous workbench surface that can stand up to years of hard use. It's perched atop two basic cabinets (built with the leg option) that house loads of tools and shop supplies.

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Wall cabinets, racks, and cleat system

Adding new tools or supplies to your workshop is always a good thing. But sometimes, finding a place to set up a tool or store more supplies means juggling the existing layout of wall cabinets or tool racks. With its interlocking hanging cleats this system makes them easy to hang and a cinch to reconfigure, transforming a major hassle into a minor task accomplished in minutes. In this project plan, you'll learn how to build racks for bar and pipe clamps, a perforated hardboard panel for hanging hand tools, and wall cabinets with either clear acrylic or hardboard doors for see-through or covered-up storage. Featured in three handy sizes—12"-deep for general storage, 8"-deep for hardware, and 7"-deep for tools—all the cabinets share identical construction details.

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Mobile drawer cabinet

Inexpensive materials and basic joinery make for speedy construction of this hardworking shop cabinet. Even the drawers won't slow you down. With their special side/slide hardware, they practically build themselves.

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Lamp holder

The Idea Shop 5 wall cleat system works great for supporting more than large cabinets and tool racks. This easy-to-build light support fits and locks onto the same cleat, and can be located near any number of machine operations.

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Mitersaw station

Our mitersaw station with its big, sturdy tables and built-in fence system is a superb setup for making dead-on cuts. The design makes it easy to custom-fit the station to most any mitersaw, while the wall-cleat system makes it easy to mount.

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Flip-top work center

This cabinet forms the core of many Idea Shop 5 projects. Here, we've mounted two cabinets side by side and capped them with flip-tops to create a work surface one minute, a tool base the next. 

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Dual-purpose sanding center

Like all of the projects in Idea Shop 5, this one works to make maximum use of minimum space. It provides sturdy support for a couple of tools, offers ample storage, and rolls to wherever you need it. Plus, this work center is easy to build. 

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Tablesaw/routing center

This do-it-all work center combines a table-mounted router and a contractor's tablesaw in one package. Both bases feature built-in storage, as well as dust-collection. Plus, the whole setup rolls easily around the shop. Both the saw and router table sit on modified versions of our "basic cabinet".

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Mobile base

This simple-to-build rolling platform offers sturdy support under any tool. We'll show you how to size and build one, no matter what size you need. 

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Your Ideas

With Idea Shop 5, we've shown you how to create a wide variety of versatile shop fixtures using just a few modular, easy-to-build components. We know, of course, that you'll take the ideas from Idea Shop 5 and run with them, creating workshop wonders we haven't even imagined. When you do, we want to see them. Take a good-quality picture or two, write a short explanation of how and why you built the project as you did, and email them to us at woodmail@woodmagazine.com. Who knows, you might even see your handiwork in a future issue of WOOD magazine!

 

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