I started woodworking at our old house in the basement. It was a decent set-up, but it was cramped, loud, and dusty for the house. When my wife and I decided that our house was too small for our growing family, it was understood that we also needed a garage and space for my shop. After a year in our current house my wife gave me a home depot gift card for my birthday and told me to “Go for it!”
Our garage is about 22′ wide and 24′ long. I built an L shaped divider wall inside the garage to allow space on one side for garage tools and kid toys. Luckily, the previous home owners had built large 2×4 plywood shelves in the back of the garage so I had some storage space already built in. Even better was that the high school where I work was getting rid of some plywood and library bookshelves, so I got those for free. We live in Rochester, NY so I needed to do some work to make it winter working worthy. I insulated all the walls and covered the ones in the shop portion with OSB plywood and put in a door and new windows (I love Craigslist for things like this!). I framed out my divider between the storage space and the workshop and covered that with the plywood from the high school and used a bi-fold door I bought CHEAP from a local outlet store. I raised several rafters in the garage, added support for my overhead air filter, and wired in old fluorescent lights from my school. I put in a wood floor over the concrete, partly to keep my knees comfortable and partly to protect dropped tools and projects. This was the hardest thing to figure out the best way to do. Marc posted his work on his shop floor after I did mine, or I would have copied his ideas. Instead, I used pressure treated decking, Ram Jetted those to the concrete, and covered them with 4’x 8′ OSB sheets and polyurethaned the whole thing.
I used the library bookshelves and wood and turned these into a pegboard storage shelf and a support area and shelf for tools. A fortuitous cabinet find on the side of the road turned into a perfect miter saw stand and another one turned into an outfeed table for my table saw. For my table I was lucky enough to have a friend who happens to own an optics shop and he had just purchased a new 60 inch butcher block table top by accident and he gave that to me. I used it to build a functional workbench with sliders on the bottom so I can move it around. Because I have 2 young kids I also used the top to one of the library bookshelves to make my kids a matching workbench and I hung up the tools their grandparents gave them.
My last big purchase (not from the gift card – that was all gone!) was a new Rigid table saw. I did a lot of searching for the perfect saw to replace my 10 year old $110 Skil saw. This saw is amazing and it is a joy to use. Using different sets of resources I placed most of the stationary items against the outside walls and my movable things against the inside walls. There is a space off the side of the workshop that serves as wood storage and extra tool storage.
Overall I’m really happy with my shop and I’ve already built 2 beautiful projects in it, as well as a few smaller items. My biggest problem this past winter was that I didn’t insulate the ceiling and my little space heater just doesn’t cut it when its 10 degrees outside. I had to add some insulation in the middle of winter just so i could work out there. Next up is a much better heater purchase and finishing the ceiling insulation.