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Thread: A Stowable Workshop?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Punta Gorda, FL
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    3,014

    A Stowable Workshop?

    It's looking like the next place won't be very workshop friendly. Where we're looking to buy, no out buildings are allowed. So the garage has to be the workshop. But it's Florida and I'm not a big fan of keeping the cars out in the sun 24/7. Now I'm looking at a stowable workshop - something that I can easily set up after moving the cars out of the garage and easily stow away at the end of the day.

    I'd have to do without the table saw with router table, the lathe and maybe even the DC & related pipe.

    The workbench would have to be against a wall in what would hopefully be an over-sized garage. And the bandsaw would be mobile and stored in some corner. Those would be the big items I can't see living without.

    Pretty much everything else would have to be stored in cases. I'm thinking I'd need a track saw, a collapsible router table, some modification on the mitersaw and planer setups I now have and a wall of shelves. I have a Festool CT 26 that would have to act as the DC unless I managed to find a spot for the DC I now have.

    Does anyone work like this? If so, how have you made this work so this setup is conducive to woodworking? In other words, you aren't discouraged to take on projects because of the hassle of setting up and breaking down the work area at the end of the day.
    “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness..." - Mark Twain

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Bedford, NH
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    1,286
    I'm sorry to hear of your predicament, but I suspect you'll soon tire of having to manage your tools in this fashion and unfortunately that may lead to losing your interest in woodworking. I'm hoping you can explore other alternatives, even if it means additional cost to rent a building, or even another housing option for yourselves if woodworking is really important to you. Perhaps you could combine your woodworking interests with other local woodworkers & share the equipment. Hope things work out better for you.

  3. #3
    Depending on the size and arrangement of the garage (and your vehicles), maybe it would be possible to orient conventional tools (even a table saw) so they are along a wall and still connected to some form of DC, and power. And if you need more clearance, you can pull them out slightly from the wall.

    I think the key would be to make it convenient to use the tools without necessarily having to arrange them into a different configuration.

    I did that in my garage for a few years (before moving things to the basement because I wanted year-round access), and it worked pretty well. I had the table saw against the back wall in the spot between the cars, and could feed long material no problem but would pull it out if needing to cross-cut wider stock. I had a small bandsaw midway on another wall. I didn't have planer at the time but could have easily placed that along the third wall. I had an air compressor in one corner, and a drill press in the other.

    So basically all I had to do before working is remove the cars.

    Oh I had a bench instead of a planer on that third wall, but a planer could have easily lived at the end of the workbench.

    You have to have some sort of shop. I can't imagine doing some of the simpler home maintenance things w/o the shop tools. I suppose a circular saw and other hand-held power tools could do the job, but not as nicely and you'd still need room to work.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Griswold Connecticut
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    6,719
    Are you allowed to install a car cover over the drive, or park an enclosed trailer in the driveway?
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Monroe, MI
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    11,896
    I consulted another member here who I know locally about setting up shop using similar techniques to what I've seen him do on his large remodel projects where he does a lot of built-ins. Hopefully he'll see this thread and post--don't feel right reposting what was a private email.

    In the end I didn't do it because there wasn't really anything we wanted for the new house that didn't need to be done right away so we ended up purchasing the cabinetry and furniture we wanted.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    West Lafayette, IN
    Posts
    6,474
    I'd much rather have my car outside than move tools around all the time.

    But on the other hand you likely will only have to move a few tools depending on what tasks you are working on so maybe it wouldn't be that bad.

  7. #7
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    Mar 2006
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    SoCal
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    I vote for a car port.
    Take me to the hotel - Baggage gone, oh well . . .

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Between No Where & No Place ,WA
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    1,247
    Bad news about no outbuilding/shop. I would also check the restrictions to determine if there is any prohibition on leaving a vehicle in the driveway over night or after a certain period of time. A friend looked at a development in La$ Vega$ and found that his vehicles(s) must be garaged overnight and off the street/driveway by a certain time. Trailers were also prohibited from being parked/stored on the property.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
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    9,896
    Consider an imaginary garage. Say the cars pretty much fill it. Where's the stowage space? Above the cars, particularly above the hoods. There's quite a bit of airspace. So now you invent an elevator sort of thing. It comes down to floor level so you can pull stowed tools out. Maybe you also do some of your work while in the elevator while it is on the floor; no reason to give up on that space. At the end of the day, everything goes back in the elevator, and up into the air.

    Maybe you don't have to invent the entire elevator. For instance, there are lifts for home garages that put a car far enough in the air that you can walk under it. Or for another instance, there are hydraulic lift tables from sources like Grizzly. Maybe one of them can lift high enough to get over the car hoods. Or for a third instance, there are the rigs that carry window washers on skyscrapers. I think they're scaffolding, ropes, and electric motors.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    In the foothills of the Sandia Mountains
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    15,952
    My garage shop hasn't had a vehicle in it in 15 years, I had a 20'x22' carport installed. It keeps the cars out of the rain, snow, & sun (for the most part) but they do get dusty - maybe not a problem in Florida. It's a one time investment that will help your resale value.
    Please help support the Creek.


    My wife asked me to take her to one of those restaurants where they make the food right in front of you. So, I took her to Subway and that’s how the fight started.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Punta Gorda, FL
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    3,014
    Thanks for the quick replies. I know the carport is out. They have all sorts of building limitations because preserving the view is the goal. It's primarily a boating community and if things work out, I'll have my dream: a small house and a small sailboat in my back yard. Woodworking would be limited to whatever the house or boat needed.

    Many of the garages are over 550 sq/ft. The realtor said screening over your overhead garage door is highly sought. So I guess working out of the garage must be common. The big thing to me is humidity and how it will affect your hardwood stock. Plus, how motivated would I be to take on any project if the heat and humidity were high?

    We're only in week one with showing our house, so maybe something more conducive to setting up a shop will be available once we get a buyer for our house.
    “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness..." - Mark Twain

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Orlando, FL
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    280
    Julie,

    You are right to be concerned about leaving the cars outside all the time. I have lived in central Florida for 25 years and the sun will destroy the finish on cars or pretty much anything else that stays outside all the time. I have a perfectly running 2001 Audi that is exhibit A. It has a bad sunburn and is getting repainted this fall. I would urge you to park inside when you can. If that's not possible, strongly consider a car cover.

    The deed restricted communities are a blessing and curse at the same time. Thankfully, I live in one that has reasonable rules and low annual dues. Make sure you carefully read the rules and are sure you can live with them. Homeowners associations always win in court. You might want to check carefully about the no outbuildings rule. I thought we had that and it turns out that is mainly to keep somebody from building a large cottage/shop/MIL suite or whatever in the back yard. Small yard sheds are OK and can be very useful. I built an 8x12 shed with overhead storage in my yard. A lot of wood is on the rafter ties in that shed. Plus it keeps all the lawn tools out of the garage. Also, attached additions are usually allowed as long as they are "architecturally similar".

    As to the garage/shop. I only had one car when I acquired the tools, and I gave up the second parking space to the tools. They don't take the entire second space, just most of it. In my case nearly everything is on wheels. My Jet 18" bandsaw, my drill press and a metal lathe are the only tools that are not on wheels. I felt the bandsaw and drill press were too "tippy" to be on wheels, and the lathe just too big and heavy. The lathe is located along a wall, and the bandsaw and drill press are at the front of the garage. When I pull the car in, the hood sticks a bit under the bandsaw and drill press tables. I bought a small but capable saw (Ryobi BT3000) and built it into a 72" long cabinet/workbench/storage with a torsion box bottom. I also built a copy of the "Ultimate Tool Stand" to house a router, chop saw, and additional work top space plus storage. The tool stand was also on a torsion box base. I have a portable DC unit http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...able-SDD-build that is moved to wherever it's needed. A jointer, and a performax 22-44 sander are the only other tools that have a floor "footprint". My planer and oscillating sander live inside the ultimate tool stand when not being used and on top when in use. Lots of other things such as a grinder and clamps are mounted on the walls. I also have stuff hanging from the ceiling. Wood storage is on racks along the top of the garage walls.

    I can move the tools I need out, use them, and then restow at the end of the day. However, I often set up and leave it that way for a short while until I'm done with a project. I do park the car under a big tree in front of the house for shade when it's outside. Welcome to Florida. It was 100 in Orlando yesterday, a bit hot even for here - down to 74 in the evening after the rainstorms.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Florida's Space Coast
    Posts
    389
    Are there any homes for sale with 3 car garage?
    Put in a partition wall and make the 3rd bay the shop.
    Steve Kinnaird
    Florida's Space Coast
    Have built things from wood for years, will finally have a shop setup by Sept. 2015 !! OK, maybe by February LOL ……

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Beaverton, OR
    Posts
    444
    We have 2 car garage that is 20'x26.5' that one car parks in and the other out in the driveway (we don't get much sun). Unfortunately the house is only 1200 sq. ft. so the garage is the catch-all and contains the laundry, furnace, brick chimney, and water heater. In the end the garage is more like 18' wide and 26.5' deep which gives us about 6' down one wall and 6' across the end to use and still leave enough room for the car to park comfortably. We like to keep our trash and recycling cans in the garage plus we have storage of general household goods and laundry storage which eats into some of what is left. My current arrangement leaves me with an 8'x2' workbench along the back wall, air compressor in the back corner, and jumbled into one area along the side wall are my table saw, jointer, and dust collector all on wheels. Lumber goes on the wall and a shelf holds bench top tools such as the planer, grinder, drill press, band saw, and belt/disk sander.

    I am at capacity and there is no room to put a router table or get a full sized version of my benchtop tools unless I first get rid of something else. If I could start over again I'd get a nice 17"-18" band saw and skip the table saw and jointer. Sheet goods can be handled with a quality track saw, dados with the router, and jointing can be done with a hand plane. If space allowed it I'd add a router table and bump up to a full sized drill press.

    If I need to do any significant work my wife's car goes into the driveway for the day or weekend and I pull out all of the tools that I need for the project, putting them back away when no longer needed. The garage also runs 10F above ambient all afternoon and until sunset so a free hour on a weeknight does not turn into anything significant due to the time and effort to set up and put away the tools plus the misery of sweating even before beginning to exert myself. You tell yourself you're not going to let that discourage you from getting work done, but it does happen. I believe I have seen some woodworkers in FL using an enclosed and conditioned porch, that might be an option.
    Last edited by Steve Meliza; 06-20-2015 at 2:25 PM.

  15. Quote Originally Posted by Julie Moriarty View Post
    But it's Florida and I'm not a big fan of keeping the cars out in the sun 24/7.
    I chuckled a little when I read that because when I moved to Florida, my first thought was that with no snow or ice there was no need to put the cars in the garage and I could have the entire space devoted to being shop space with no concession to cars inside and no regrets about the cars being outside. I personally would much rather have the cars outside than deal with space sharing, especially here in Florida. It is a judgement call though so as with most things YMMV.

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