A quick search on Pinterest for “workshop plans” or “workshop layout” will bring up detailed illustrations for all sorts of plans, sophisticated to simple. More complex plans are available for carpenters and woodworkers using their shop on a regular basis, but we are going to focus on the bare necessities someone would need for a basic workshop. This would be a space where all of your tools are centrally located, and where you have a well-lit clear surface to work on the occasional project or perform a repair.
Five Essentials for Any Workshop
Every workshop must include:
- Power source
- Climate Control
A Place to Work
Your work surface can be as simple as a countertop, a table, or a butcher block island on wheels. There are also plenty of workbenches on the market. Some double as a sawhorse, like the WORX Pegasus Multi-Function Work Table and Sawhorse. For $119, it comes with a clamping system, folds up for storage, and is lightweight yet strong. Other options combine workstation and storage in one, but it could come with a price. The Seville Classics UltraHD 12-Rolling Workbench (on wheels) has 12 drawers and a large cabinet built in, for $609.
If you don’t choose a workbench with built in storage, don’t worry. There are hundreds of options for adding storage to your garage. For a simple setup situated on one wall or corner of your garage, cabinets with shelving and room for a classic peg board should do the trick. Installing a row of cabinets as you would in a kitchen maximizes vertical space (although you can install them above and below, having them higher up offers more flexibility). Mounting a pegboard offers the most flexibility of all, as you can utilize hooks as well as small shelves or cubbyholes (made of PVC pipe) installed on the board. Two basic options are the Hardboard Pegboard (found at Lowe’s), or the Dorman Hardware Pegboard (from Amazon). Pegboard hooks and bins are sold separately, but they will be found in the same area.
You won’t get much work done in the dark, so it’s essential to have a power source supporting lighting other than the overhead garage light. Consult an electrician if your current situation involves a dangerous daisy chain. You’ll want a safe and secure power source to support lighting as well as a heater or fan, and of course any power tools you’ll be using. Be sure to purchase power strips compatible with the tools you’re planning to use.
You won’t realize how important lighting is until you’re struggling to complete a project with a small desk lamp, or an overhead light that doesn’t reach the corner you’re in. The GE Basic 18-inch Under Cabinet Fluorescent Light Fixture will mount under your cabinets and over the countertop, if that is your setup, and it only costs $18. You might want to avoid fluorescent, however, and utilize the energy-saving features of LED lights. These Hyperikon 4-foot LED Tubes are compatible with old fluorescent light fixtures, but there are overhead and flush mount options as well.
While climate control isn’t as much of an issue in California, especially if your garage is insulated, certain projects require precise temperature and humidity levels. If you’re housing plants in the garage, working on painting projects, or are just looking for comfort, you have options. For air conditioning the garage, a window unit is best. Do not try to tap into your home’s air conditioning system and extend it to the garage. Connecting the two can allow dangerous fumes from the garage to enter the house through the ductwork, and in general makes it harder to keep your home cool.
Insulating and weatherizing is the most important step if you’re concerned about keeping the garage warm. An electric heater is adequate for the job, especially in climates that don’t sink below freezing too often. Electric space heaters come in three different types: convection, radiant, and combination. Convection heaters pose less of a fire threat than radiant.
By focusing on these five elements, you could have a fully functional workshop set up in one weekend. This basic setup is easy to expand upon if your projects become more complicated in the future. Set up shop, and be sure to contact Sacs Garage Repair if you need assistance insulating, weatherizing, or installing a new garage door.