We turned a two-car garage into a nifty shop—that still holds cars!

In IDEA SHOP 1, we turned a 14x28' outbuilding into a serious woodworking shop, working from the concept that everything was more or less permanent. But we know that many home woodworkers have their shop in a garage (usually occupied by a vehicle or two). So we took a standard 24x24' double-car garage and designed the space to accommodate both a woodworking shop and the family transportation. To accomplish this, our project team had to think mobility, double duty, comfort, security, and cost. But in the end, one great similarity with our first effort stands out: bunches of terrific, easily adaptable ideas!

Floor Plan


Reference center

Keep reference material close at hand with this two-project setup. Simply swing the table up when you need to take a few notes or consult reference material. When you're not using it, collapse the brackets and the table folds back against the wall. The cabinet, with its drop-down door, provides nesessary storage for books, magazines, tool catalogs, and other shop related papers. Fit the table with an inexpensive stool, and you've created a comfortable workstation.


Benchtop planer center

When a project requires thin stock, our benchtop planer saves us the time and trouble of having to special-order material. But, having to lift it onto the workbench every time we need it can be a backbreaker. To solve this problem, we designed the thicknessing center shown here. For continuous support when planing long boards, we've included infeed and outfeed tables that adjust up or down. To maximize shop storage space, the tables fold down when not in use. Finally, we designed the planer platform so it raises or lowers to suit most benchtop models. Aligning the tables with the planer guarantees a smooth, even flow of stock through the machining process.


Tool Mover When the design for this tool mover came in, it was like a dream come true. At the time, we had just started work on IDEA SHOP 2 and needed a method for moving heavy tools around that was as easy on the back as it was on the pocketbook too. This two wheeled mover is a winner on both counts. The metal pin at the end of the tool mover fits into the hole in the angle iron tow bracket mounted to your wheel tool base. By lowering the handle, the mover's wheels act as a fulcrum, lifting the tool base with a minimum of effort. (Plans for the tool mover are included with the thicnkessing center plans.)


Mobile bases

To make our jointer, bandsaw and other stationary machines mobile, we placed them on mobile tool bases.


Tablesaw base with storage

It's sad but true that the space beneath most tablesaws goes to waste. But that needn't be the case, as you can see here. Our cabinet stores a plentiful supply of saw blades, router bits, and other woodworking gear on the sliding trays. Plus, the entire cabinet is easy to move around in your shop, thanks to a pair of casters. Just store it against the wall when the cutting is done.


Drop-leaf mobile workbench

Here's a rock-solid workbench that's mobile. We built it so we could push it out of the way when the time comes for moving vehicles inside. The workbench features, fold-down leaves for efficient against-the-wall storage. Folded out, the benchtop measures 36 x 58". Included with this plan are the drawings and instructions to make the tool mover for moving the workbench around your shop.


Drill-press table

Quality workmanship depends in large part on the accuracy of your tools. With this in mind, we set out to make your already hardworking drill press into the ultimate precision-machining center. This setup will allow you to perform numerous machining processes with impressive precision.


Sanding cabinets

Left in the open, sandpaper will cup due to humidity. To keep this perennial problem in check and keep your sandpaper organized and away from dust, we came up with this multi-purpose cabinet. We've made room for sanding belts, a sandpaper cutter, a mini shelf for your sanding blocks, a holder for your scrapers, and clips to hold sanding discs in place.


Roll-around plywood cart

Carrying plywood any distance quickly can turn into a wrestling match, but you'll win hands down when you use this mobile storage rack. And building it won't bust your budget either. All you need is plywood, dimensional lumber, casters, and wood screws. Swiveling casters allow you to turn the cart in any direction and back it up to a wall for space-saving storage. Full 4x8' sheets fit on the front of the rack. Inside the slats, you can store cut-off pieces.


Shop clock

Like all of the other projects we designed for IDEA SHOP 2, this wall-mounted clock had to meet two criteria. First, it had to perform its task well. And, second, it had to be an attractive addition to our workshop. To address the first, we selected a clock face with large numerals so that you can tell time easily from anywhere in your shop. And, as for the second criteria, we think you'll agree this clock is good enough to grace the wall of any workshop.


More great ideas from Idea Shop 2

The sander, jointer, drill press, and planer find homes in the far-left corner of the shop. The lockable cabinet stores drill bits and other accessories. The sander and planer bases were shop built.


The shop vacuum, from its position in the right corner of the shop, collects dust from a run of clear-plastic pipe. With a mobile base, the bandsaw can be positioned anywhere in the shop. Above the heater is the enclosed exhaust fan. The compressor hose cannections are for spraying.


Like a "now you see it, now you don't" magic trick, the woodworking shop disappears when it's time to bring vehicles back in. Fluorescent fixtures provide plenty of light, and the white paint on the ceiling and walls enhances it. Epoxy floor paint proves durable and resists grease. Electrical drop cords with twist-lock plugs supply power to machines. For air tools and vehicle care, there's a compressor hose on a ceiling reel.