If you have a large garage, chances are that there’s a bit of extra space there even after parking your car. With the remote working system becoming more common nowadays, many folks have thought about turning that extra space into something useful. In fact, some folks may not even have a car or prefer to park in the driveway. In that case, the whole garage is at their disposal.
Many people already use their garage as a kind of storage unit or even just a dumping ground for anything they don’t want in the main part of the house (but can’t throw away either). If someone has a bicycle, a pair of skis, a sled, or something other little-used equipment, the garage is usually where they’re stored until needed.
If you have a bit of time on your hands and are willing to invest some money as well, you can turn that garage space into something very useful. Some might just be content with putting up some shelves and organizing the things stored there. Others may want to make a complete transformation and turn the garage into a movie theatre.
However, there’s a lot to be said for converting your garage into a woodworking shop as well. This is both a practical step as well as a possible lucrative one, especially if you plan to make a business out of your woodworking. If nothing else, you can hone your DIY and woodworking skills to create useful items for the home.
Is the Garage the Best Space for a Woodworking Shop?
When someone plans to set up their workshop, the location is one of the most important factors to consider. A garage is a common choice here, but many also consider the basement of their home as a good place for their workshop. Yet another option is an outbuilding that’s not attached to the house, such as a shed or a specially constructed workshop.
There are upsides and downsides to each workshop location. If you have a choice, make sure to consider the ventilation, electricity setup, and accessibility of the space. There are a few other factors to consider here. Below is an overview of the factors considered while setting up a workshop in the garage, basement, or an outbuilding.
Location of Workshop/ Factors to Consider
Easy to ventilate with just a door or window
Difficult to ventilate
Easy to ventilate
Attached to house, so easy to access (unless there is no directly connecting door)
Conveniently accessible from home without issue of getting dust or debris in the living spaces
Direct access to plumbing, electricity, and telephone lines
Easy access to the rest of the house
Not directly accessible from house; might be both an advantage and a disadvantage
May need to install own setup
Already linked up to the home electrical system
Needs a separate setup
Heating or Cooling System
May need to install own setup with insulation
Probably included in the whole home’s thermostat system
Needs a separate setup (space heater or air conditioner/fan)
Medium, not much foot traffic but is attached to house
Low, might be often frequented by other family members/friends
High, situated away from house
Cost of Setup
Relatively high; will need to pay for electric and heating/cooling setup along with flooring and window installation
Low, electricity outlets and flooring likely to be in place already
Would need proper windows and lightning fixtures installed
Might already have proper lighting to work in
Lack of natural lighting
Would need complete lighting setup (though windows might already be in place)
Likely to be low, especially in winter if structure is not insulated and cars are parked inside
Ease of Setup
Relatively easier to bring in large items inside and out due to the large door
Easy to install shelves and boards
Easy due to electricity, plumbing, and telephone line/Wi-Fi signals available
Difficulty may arise with hanging shelves and storage lumber if there’s moisture in the walls
Easy only with a large investment
How to turn Your Garage into a Woodworking Shop
In many ways, turning the garage into your woodworking space seems like the most logical idea. Not everyone has an outbuilding or shed available, and even fewer people can afford to build a whole new structure on their property. Using the basement for such purposes may also be tricky, as many families already utilize that space for gatherings, playing games, watching television, or just hanging out. The garage, on the other hand, is the most likely area to be unused except for storage and parking space. This is why many people have also thought about turning their garage into an office.
So now that you’ve made the decision to turn your garage into a woodworking shop, how should you go about it? The number of things to do might seem overwhelming–you have to clear out the space, get the right flooring, think about ventilation, electricity, and so much more. Start by checking out the following ideas; they might help in streamlining the porches and get you started on the transformation:
1. Use Epoxy on the Floors
Once you’ve cleared the floor of any debris and large items, sweep away the dust and get some epoxy paint. Paint your garage floor with this paint, making sure that there are no greasy or oily stains on the surface.
Epoxy is a tough kind of paint with a glue base. It’s meant to cover the floors so that their surface is smooth, strong, and able to withstand heavy weights. This way, you can work on projects and drag around heavy equipment without risking wear and tear to the concrete floors.
Here’s one epoxy coating that you can get and apply to the garage floor yourself:
This epoxy coating kit gives you high solids solvents that are suitable for any garage floor. The result can be used for foot traffic in just a single day, and ready for vehicles in four days. If you like, you can also add decorative chips for a more unique finish.
- Makes floor resistant to chemicals, standing water, wear and tear
- Helps the floor to withstand heavy equipment
- Lays on thick
- Easy to apply
- Some reports of the finish not being uniform
2. Get a Woodworker’s Bench
A proper woodworking bench is necessary if you’re really serious about this step. It’s best to have a vise with the bench, so that you can hold some pieces steady while working on them.
A bench like this will also be a handy place for your tools, or just to lay out your projects while they’re still ongoing. With its sturdy top, you can put all kinds of items on it without risking any cracks or breaks.
This workbench comes with a shelving storage system. While it doesn’t include lumber in the package, the shelf links and workbench legs are sturdy enough for long-term use. You can make the workbench in almost any dimension, with no angle cuts needed.
- Highly customizable
- Easy to assemble
- Resi is flexible yet strong
- Sturdy when assembled
- Wooden screws might break easily
3. A Portable Tool Trolley
You can hang your tools up on a pegboard (discussed further on) or on nails hammered directly into the walls. Other options include getting some shelves for the tools, or simply store them in your work bench, a tool bag, etc. However, a portable tool trolley will enable you to have your tools handy no matter where you’re working in the garage. If the garage space is a large one, a portable trolley is all the more convenient. Go for one that’s lightweight but hardy, with casters that can retract back when required. The following cart is a suitable option for woodworking in a garage:
This tool cart has a large capacity of around 350 pounds. It’s made of steel that’s durable enough to withstand all kinds of tools on the trays. There’s also a hanging rack for tools as well as a board that can hold screwdrivers plus pry bars.
- Large capacity
- Push handles
- Drawer is easy to open and close
- Casters lock for safety
- High price
A pair of sawhorses is essential for woodworkers and carpenters. They’re useful for a variety of tasks; a sturdy base for your table saw, painting doors or wooden decorations, and so on. Here’s a twin pack of sawhorses that can start you off with any project:
These sawhorses can take on 275 pounds each, which allows you to get working without any worries. They have an anti-slip EVA surface which helps to give stability plus support to your work.
- Heavy duty construction
- Highly durable
- Large weight capacity
- Folding design for compact storage
- Easily portable
- No installation needed
- Doesn’t have a high-quality appearance.
A pegboard is great for utilizing vertical space and also organizing whatever you need at a moment’s notice. It’s also a relatively cheap investment, so spring for this board if you don’t have the budget for several drawers. Here’s one good example that’s available on the market right now:
This pegboard is an extensive one, with more than 70 pieces in total. You can get a more basic model, but the bins and cups are a nice touch. These will help in organizing all kinds of supplies, especially the nails and screws.
- Available in many colors
- Convenient for tool storage and ongoing projects
- Easy to install
- Some pieces might seem flimsy
6. Get Adequate Lighting
Garages usually don’t have large windows, so you might want to put some in to make use of that natural light. For most woodworking tasks and for working at night, however, you’d need to set up some task lighting. This is quite easy to install, but you do want another light source for more illumination and to really focus on your projects. A strong work lamp that’s adjustable is the best bet for focused lighting when you need it. Here’s one that might fit the bill:
This lamp has an 8.5-inch aluminum reflector that helps in giving out a lot of bright light. It’s suitable as a worklight for your woodworking space as well as many other uses. You can use the clip to set it up anywhere in the garage and adjust it to focus on your current project.
- Adjustable ball joint for helping to focus on one area
- Inexpensive option
- Provides a very bright light
- Cord might be a bit short for some
7. Heating and Cooling
Garages usually aren’t hooked up to the central cooling or heating system in most homes, so you will have to look for alternatives. The best way is to get insulation in those garage walls, but there may not be the time or budget for such an undertaking.
The next best alternative is to get at least one space heater and a portable or window air conditioner. With these, you can be fairly comfortable and productive in your woodworking space.
A space heater like the one below might do well for most workshops:
This ceramic space heater has a maximum power of 1500 watts. It can heat up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit within a short 3-second span; you don’t have to worry about warming up before starting on your latest project.
- Quick heating
- Reliable technology
- Compact size
- Multiple functions
- 1 year manufacturer warranty
- Thermostat is a bit limited
Your woodworking space in the garage might still be a work in progress, but the ideas above will be very helpful in making it happen. We’ve only covered the basics here, as that’s all one needs to get started on projects. You can also use a lot of the same ideas for setting up the garage as a craft room.