Blood, Sweat, and Sawdust

Going against the grain

Tag: garage workshop

Workshop Complete

It’s done; at least as done as a shop can ever be.

I will blow insulation into the attic space and build some storage units.  Aside from that (and the inescapable shop evolution) It is finished.

Completed Workshop

With the help of my awesome father, I moved everything I had in storage into the new workshop.

Clamp Rack

Now I can start building.  Speaking of building, I built an awesome clamp rack.  This one can hold more clamps than my old one and takes up less wall space.  I got the idea from Brad at Fix This Build That.


I also installed a wood rack and fire extinguisher.  I’m considering adding a second extinguisher on the other side of the shop.  You can never be too careful.

I also made up a custom dust fitting for my Minimax Jointer/Planer.  I used a 4″ Fernco fitting and a 5-to-6 inch reducer.  The Fernco fitting fits snug over the 120mm European port.  The 5″ side of the reducer fits over the Fernco fitting.  I used silicon adhesive and HVAC tape to secure the Fernco to the reducer.

For my first project, I will build a custom router table complete with a Jessem Mast-R lift and dedicated motor.

Thanks to everyone who helped me with this project.  I will have a few follow-up posts that relate to the shop build, so stay tuned.

For the rest of the workshop build, check out the garage workshop build index.

Drywall for the Garage Workshop: Part 2

Completed Drywall

I am no drywall expert.  Many experienced professionals have detailed the process of taping and mudding.  So, I won’t go into too much detail about the process and techniques.  Instead, I will cover some of the lessons I learned doing this as a DIY homeowner.

A quick overview of my process

I pre-filled all of my large gaps with Sheetrock 90 bond.  Then, I embedded drywall tape in all of my edges and inside corners using general purpose mud.  At the same time, I lightly skimmed over all of my screw dimples and let the mud dry for 24 hours.  Then I filled in all the beveled seams with Sheetrock 90 bond, and let that cure for another 24 hours.  I gave everything a light sanding and finished up with a thin coat of general purpose.

Lessons learned

  1. Use the correct tools.  A narrow knife is perfect for embedding tape, but too narrow to feather out your mud on your final coats
  2. Mix your compounds thoroughly.  I failed to do this on one of my coats and it required extra sanding
  3. Learn the proper thickness for your compounds.  Too thick and it is hard too work.  To thin and it falls off your knife.  Filling gaps is easier with thick mud, but feathering edges on final coats requires thinner mud.
  4. Keep a bucket of water and a large sponge close by.  This is great for keeping your hands and tools clean.  It also allows you to quickly add a little water to your compound if it starts to dry out.

Now that they drywall is complete, I need to move quickly to trim and paint everything.  Stay tuned.

For the rest of the workshop build, check out the garage workshop build index.


A Serious Garage Door for the Garage Workshop and Other Updates

Garage Door Outside

Did I need a new garage door?  No.  However, adding insulation and conditioning won’t do much good if I kept the drafty uninsulated door that came with the house.

This was a long time waiting.  I ordered the door the day after Thanksgiving.  A representative called me the day before the scheduled installation and informed me that the door was backordered.  No worries.  They upgraded me from the R13 door I had purchased to an R18 door, at no extra charge.

Garage Door Inside

The door sections are two inches thick and filled with polyurethane insulation.  Everything about the door is beefy.  Oh, and the windows are nice too.  I haven’t yet decided if I like the cross inserts yet or not.

Garage Door Assembly

Unfortunately, I couldn’t be there for the installation, but my wife did and excellent job of supervising.  These door sections are very heavy.  I’m not sure how the installer got them into place all by himself.

I am very happy with the new garage door.  It’s of higher quality than I’m used to.  The new seals excel at keeping out the drafts.  The natural light is greatly welcome.  The polyurethane insulation keeps out the noise.  And I’m sure that it will make the mini-split’s job a lot easier down the road.

In addition to the garage door, I was able to frame in a side door and get started on my electrical.  More on that later.

Side Door Framing

Electrical Rough Wiring

For the rest of the workshop build, check out the garage workshop build index.


Planning a Garage Workshop

Planning a garage workshop is intimidating.  Working with limited space is frustrating.  Knowing where to compromise is the key to success.

Create drawings.  Create many of them.  Make one for each of your key systems: structural, machine locations, electrical, dust collection, lighting, etc.

Planning a garage workshop

Drawing 1 – Initial Layout

First, I created a two-dimensional structural drawing.  I drew it to scale and included both existing and future doors, windows, etc.   Then, I added all of my current and future machines.  Any demo work might show more hangups, so don’t hesitate to revise your drawings  if anything comes up.  Keeping things up-to-date will make sure that problems don’t snowball later.

Planning a garage workshop

Drawing 2 – Revised Layout

In my case, removing drywall revealed a sheer wall in a location where I had planned a new exterior door (bottom left of Drawing 1 ).  Moving the door meant relocating a few machines.  This opened up a space close to my workbench at the bottom for hand-tool storage (Drawing 2).

Planning electrical

Drawing 3 – Electrical

With the structural work outlined and machine locations established, I started outlining my electrical needs.  I included power for each of my existing machines as well as machines I plan on purchasing in the future.  If you plan on using an electrician, this drawing will give a clear picture of your expectations.  If you plan on doing the work yourself, it can help you create a shopping list.

workshop light plan

Drawing 4 – Workshop Lighting

Good shop lighting is often overlooked when planning a workshop.  Shoot for around 100 lumens per square foot at the work surface.  I am using 8 x dual-bulb T-8 led fixtures.  This will nearly quadruple the light I had in my old workshop.

Workshop 2-Ducting

Drawing 5 – Dust Collection

Finally, I plan on adding a stationary cyclone dust collection system in the future.  All of my drawings reflect this.  I created a drawing that included duct work for this future system.  This affected the layout of machines, electrical, and lights.  Creating this drawing illustrated just how important it was to plan out every system and check how each system worked together.  Without it, implementing a ducted dust collection system in the future could have been much more difficult.

I used Grizzly’s workshop planner to create my initial drawings, and then edited them in MS Paint.

For the rest of the workshop build, check out the garage workshop build index.



My Garage Workshop Build

The past few months have been very busy.  In addition to the holidays, we moved into a new house just before Thanksgiving.  This keeps me from building furniture, but also provides a perfect opportunity to build a new shop from scratch.   No longer limited by the rules of a Home Owners Association, I can now install that mini-split air-conditioning unit I’ve always wanted…among other things

In the following weeks, I will detail my progress.  I will detail any helpful tips I discover along the way.  Stay tuned for more of my garage workshop build.



Part 1: Planning a Garage Workshop

Part 2: Workshop Demolition

Part 3: The Garage Door

Part 4: Workshop Electrical

Part 5: Installing an Exterior Door

Part 6: Insulating a Garage Workshop: Part I

Part 7: Workshop Lighting

Part 8: Hanging Drywall

Part 9: Taping and Mudding Drywall

Part 10: Paint and Trim

Part 11: Ductless Mini-split Air-conditioner

Part 12: Dust Collection: Part 1

Part 13: Dust Collection: Part 2

Part 14: Dust Collection: Part 3

Part 15: Garage Workshop Complete





Putting the Sweat into Blood, Sweat, and Sawdust

Temp Gun

The heat has been unforgiving.  I have a new appreciation for a good rust removal strategy, as I am constantly sweating on my nice hand tools.  I am careful to keep the refrigerator stocked with ice-cold beer.  The sheer amount of cold beer consumed is straining the budget.  I have to find a way to cool my muggy workshop; one that doesn’t break the bank.

I’ve been using my infrared temp gun to track any possible sources of heat infiltration.  Most of the garage is well insulated, but there is a small uninsulated attic space towards the front of the garage.  It happens to face south, so I this is my main suspect.  I plan to buy a few rolls of radiant barrier for the roof and south-facing wall.  I will report back.  Hopefully, this will help someone else suffering a similar situation.

I would love to buy a small mini-split, but I’m not sure how much longer I will be in this house.  What have you done to cool your hot shop down?

Stay tuned.