My girlfriend and I closed on our first house at the beginning of July, so we’ve been busy packing up our worldly possessions, moving and planning. While the house is lovely (built in the early 1900s, with good bones and a park directly adjacent), I’m more excited about the garage. And by garage, I mean the soon-to-be incredible workshop.
I’m not quite sure when the garage was built, but from the looks of it, I’m thinking it was around the same time as the house. Structurally, it’s in OK shape, though there are very few plumb corners. My first projects in this garage are going to be the decidedly not fun ones: shoring up the structure, running electric, doing a little demolition to the various shelves and storage cabinets hung haphazardly throughout and developing a plan to insulate the shell. I also need to figure out a solution for a level floor that doesn’t take up too much headroom.
For me, the biggest hurdle will be how much to insulate and heat. I’m in Minneapolis, so it gets quite cold for extended periods of prime woodworking time. I’ve had a drafty, uninsulated 2 car garage space to use for the last few years, and it’s usually bearable through early November. But November to March, it’s too cold to be working without gloves for an extended period of time. Also, from November to March, we need to be able to park one car in the garage. So there will be some compromises.
The fun stuff is just around the corner, though. Right now, the plan is to have a dedicated spot for my table saw and workbench, and keep the rest of my shop relatively mobile until I get into a groove. Dust collection is another consideration, and I’m planning to install a centralized system, with drops for the table saw, jointer and planer. I’ll use a shop vacuum to collect dust at the miter saw.
There’s also the matter of security. I did have a break-in and lost a few tools at my last place, and my house and shop is still in the city. Right now, I have a couple wireless cameras that work pretty well (I can always check in on my shop from my phone as long as I have service), and a deadbolt on the door. I don’t have any tools that are irreplaceable, but I have quite a few that I’d be bummed to lose. So I’ll also have a locking tool cabinet and will have to be vigilant about putting things away at the end of each day.
But all-in-all, I’m completely stoked to have a space to call my own. If you have any advice for a garage shop or things you wish you’d done before you started setting up your tools, please comment. And, I’ll keep you updated on the progression of the buildout. For now, though, it’s back to moving.