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Thread: Smaller shop, how do you roll?

  1. #1

    Smaller shop, how do you roll?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm new. I am trying to plan a shop in my garage space. It is a 2 car garage, fairly typical, not a lot of room if I parked in it for anything else. I have no need to park in the garage.

    One quadrant of the garage has workout equipment in it, a wall mounted Rogue rack and plates, dumbbells, etc - this is on the front left quadrant. On the back right, there are fridge/freezer and a bit of room where a drill press and/or bandsaw on a rolling base could probably live. The other two quadrants are completely clear. I'd like to get a drill press, bandsaw, table saw with extension tables, combo planner/jointer, combo sander in the space, along with dust collection. I am not certain if there is anything else I should consider adding at this time.

    My question here is, when you have a small-medium space like mine, do you tend to keep everything on wheels and roll it to one of the larger open areas to use? Or do you dedicate one area for something that is less convenient to move, like the table saw and just keep the other stations on rolling bases against the wall, moving them out into the open as you need them? I believe I has sufficient space for the stations, but not sure how to manage workflow. I'd appreciate any suggestions.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Well, obviously the first thing to do is free up the the wasted space full of exercise equipment and replace it with hand planes and other Neanderthal tools and get your workout the old fashioned way

    But to your actual question, yes I would put everything on wheels that you can. In a small space, layout flexibility is key. Some operations need more clearance than others and sometimes you need to move everything for a larger project. My shop is a dedicated 24 x 28, and I have everything on wheels except the wood stove, fridge, and the floor drill press, and one old workbench made from a 1912 kitchen cabinet.

    The other thing is that no matter what layout you choose, and how many times you draw it and move cardboard cutouts on a drawing, you will find a better layout shortly after you put the tools in place. Clearance issues that are painfully obvious in real life often don't show up on paper. Plus the nature of what you do can change over time (and then change back) and it is easier to experiment with different setups if everything is mobile.

    Eventually you will figure out what works best most of the time and will leave the tools in that configuration most of the time. I have a "standard" layout that I use for my shop 95% of the time, with things moving around when I have larger pieces that I regularly work with. Some tools I pull away from the wall to get better clearance. They tend to be less used tools like the mortiser, or lighter tools like the 14" bandsaw and router table. I try to have the heavier tools like the table saw stay in one place as much as possible/convenient.
    Last edited by Andrew Seemann; 02-26-2021 at 2:27 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Posts
    208
    Hi Randal,
    Welcome! I have a one car garage workshop so am envious of your spacious area!
    I keep my TS, BS and Jointer/ planer on mobile bases but they generally are in place to be able to work with 4’ boards or less. For longer stuff I may need to move the particular machine. My dust collection is a short cyclone style on casters and gets moved to each machine although I do hope to run some ductwork eventually. The drill press is a bench top as is my router table.
    There is no doubt that it is a tight fit and requires patience and planning not to get frustrated some days but I’m lucky to have it and it generally works for me. I am constantly looking for space efficiencies and have rearranged things several times. You probably will too before you find what works best.
    Best of luck!
    David

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Lebanon, TN
    Posts
    1,194
    I have a slightly larger space than you, but everything is still on mobile bases.

    About the only tool that doesn't get moved is my tablesaw, although it still sits on a mobile base that used to get used daily when I had a smaller two car garage that needed to be used for the wife's car.

    I had a fold down outfeed table for the saw. The outfeed table had fold down support legs with adjustable feet. The minimize me having to constantly adjust these each time I rolled the saw out, I put some markers on the floor so I could place the saw in the same spot each time.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Waterford, PA
    Posts
    782
    Even though my space is larger, everything is mobile. The TS and J/P rarely get moved, but on occasion need to be to accommodate longer stock than I normally run. Making everything mobile with the possible exception of your work bench gives you the most flexibility.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bucks County, PA
    Posts
    758
    My shop is ~16x24, so fairly close to that of a typical 2-car garage. It's a basement shop though, so the ceiling height is low, and one "wall" is where the HVAC equipment is located and therefore unusable by me. My shop is also where our cat's litter boxes are located, so that floor space is not something I can take advantage of.

    Almost everything in my shop is mobile. My (sliding) table saw has wheels, but never moves. My drill press is a floor model and doesn't move either, unless I want to rearrange the shop layout. My workbench doesn't have wheels, and due to shop size it stays up against a wall, but I can move it if I have to. I also have some old kitchen base cabinets against one wall that are used for storage and for placing things (i.e. junk) on top of. My dust collector is also wall-mounted; it's located to the right of the table saw.

    Everything else is mobile. That consists of my jointer/planer, router table, band saw, and drum sander. Each of those sit up against a wall or otherwise out of the way. I have to move each one out individually in order to use them, and then move them back out of the way to make room for something else. I only have one dust collection hookup along that wall of the shop, so each tool has to be placed within range of that hose line when I want to use it. I also have a mobile assembly table in my shop that's frequently being moved around to make room for tool usage.

    This scenario does impede workflow, but at this point I'm basically just used to it. It can get frustrating if I'm using the router table and realize I now have to cut something on the band saw, so I have to move the router table out of the way, slide the band saw out of its corner and into the open area, plug it in, etc., and then reverse the whole process to use the router table again. Another annoying factor is that since I have a sliding table saw I can't always leave the assembly table or one of the tools behind the saw and then go use the saw. The sliding table might hit the tool. So that's more juggling that goes on.

    So the advice is to keep things mobile, but try to setup your workflow / process in such a way that you don't have to move things around all the time when working.
    And there was trouble, taking place...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Cashiers NC
    Posts
    481
    My shop is 16x24. I recently added the four foot bump out. I have a 32 “cabinet saw with two foot outfeed. I add a Bora centipede for more outfeed when needed. The saw is roughly in the center of the shop. It is on a mobile base but I rarely move it. The planer, bandsaw, router table, drum sander, belt/disc sander are all on mobile bases. I move the planer when sawing sheet goods. The mortiser is on a mobile base but lives up against the wall. The drill press, workbench and jointer are not mobile. My cyclone is in an outside closet. That really helps with the noise. It isn’t crowded unless I am working on a large project. You will move machines around until you find the sweet spots then much less. It is nice to have the mobile option.
    Charlie Jones

  8. #8
    While my shop is substantially larger than yours, it is not strictly my workshop. I have my GuideBoat in there this winter and the Precor Elliptical and spin bike (currently used as hangers) and soon to be sold. I also service the tractors and equipment in there. All my gear is on mobile bases and are positioned depending upon the project I am running. I think it kind of depends upon what work you are doing. I just like and need the flexibility of space.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Black Oak Ark.
    Posts
    167
    For sure everything mobile if possible . I'd suggest not skimping on the casters , mobile bases , etc.. - buy good ones . In the end , it's not that much more to get quality the first time . Just my 2 cents .

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Lebanon, TN
    Posts
    1,194
    With restricted space and needing mobility, I also like to build the mobile bases and just add casters and utilize the space beneath the tool for storage.

    Large wood lathe, that gets moved for use and put away when done.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgZ5uo34Ez4

    My floor standing drill press
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwxVUMacRt0

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    21,104
    Blog Entries
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Seemann View Post
    Well, obviously the first thing to do is free up the the wasted space full of exercise equipment and replace it with hand planes and other Neanderthal tools and get your workout the old fashioned way
    In addition to Andrew's sage advice . . . Your floor quality will drive your caster decision. A typical suburban garage floor finish; arcs of hand float marks and pretty smooth, is what I am used to and indeed what I put on my new shop build floor. 3" dual locking urethane casters have worked well for me going on 20 years. Frequently found on sale at Woodcraft or Peachtree there are Amazon versions which, while thinner gauge steel and lower overall quality, are cheaper and work well enough so far (about 6 months).
    I always forget . . . Is it the letter "S" or the letter "C" that is silent in the word scent?
    - Glenn (the second "N" is silent) Bradley

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Eastern Iowa
    Posts
    618
    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisA Edwards View Post
    With restricted space and needing mobility, I also like to build the mobile bases and just add casters and utilize the space beneath the tool for storage.

    Large wood lathe, that gets moved for use and put away when done.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgZ5uo34Ez4

    My floor standing drill press
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwxVUMacRt0
    Is that a Victim?
    Comments made here are my own and, according to my children, do not reflect the opinions of any other person... anywhere, anytime.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Westfield IN
    Posts
    64
    I disagree with the wheels on everything. I have spent half my working life in a 24 x 36 shop. My colleague works in there also. Together, we produce large pieces of architectural woodwork.

    For most years, nothing was on wheels. I am naturally lazy. If something has to be drug out, plugged in, hooked up and then turned on, I won't do it. I'll find a lessor way to do it and the work would suffer. I have all the corded tools plugged in under the bench, ready to use, hopefully without changing a bit. All the large pieces can be moved if really necessary, but we can open doors and even windows to get things thru the equipment.

    We have a wood floor, with many years of glue drippings on it. Recently, I agreed to add wheels to the joiner and big Scmi shaper. The joiner now wiggles and feels like it on rubber stalks. Nothing like the solid, staid machine it should be. But it sort of easy to move. Then you have to put wedges in place to make it solid. Poor lazy me. And the shaper is so heavy, it cannot be moved any easier than when it sat on the floor, and the wheels increase the height to where things are just a bit too high for my comfort.

    Wheels? Not a fan.
    I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.
    - Kurt Vonnegut

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Winterville, NC (eastern NC)
    Posts
    2,172
    Wheels are your friend. Get some mobile bases rated for the weight of each machine. My shop is 16 X 32 and each machine is on a mobile base except the sliding table saw-it weighs around 1000 lbs so everything revolves around this puppy. Even some my bench top machines are on a cabinet with mobility.
    Grizzly offers a line of mobile bases for many different capacity machines. Or get some Harbor Freight furniture dollies for the smaller tools.

  15. #15
    Thank you, everyone, for the insights. My garage floor has been redone and treated with polyaspartic (sp) coating over epoxy, without the chips that provide it some needed texture, it would be smooth enough to skate around in your socks. Wheels should move no problem.

    I see some mobile base options that are "parked" on one side, then you step on a lever to get them up on wheels, Rockler Power Tool Mobile Base Hardware for example. Perhaps that would provide the more solid feeling while still leaving the option for wheels.
    I agree I like the feel of things directly on the floor, but as I need to a couple other things in my garage, I'm going to keep things on mobile until perhaps we build an addition.
    Does anyone keep some equipment in a nearby shed? I have an option of putting a 200 sq foot shed about 12 feet from my garage, I could certainly carry pieces that far on any nice day.

    Thanks again.



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