I’m a 35 yr old Corporate Banker by day with a wife and 3 small daughters who rule the roost at my house. Most evenings, after the girls are put to bed, I retreat to my garage to woodwork which is my only hobby/stress reliever. Two+ yrs ago I decided to clear out my 2-car garage and transform the space into a woodshop. At the time my only tools were a Bosch contractor table saw and miter saw and a couple cordless drills. So virtually every tool you see I acquired in the last 2 yrs. The garage had one dim light and one outlet with only a single receptacle. I started by adding substantial lighting and a 100amp sub panel. I’ve since added 40 additional outlets including 220v. Next I built the storage unit, mounted a TV and framed in a beverage frig. I then floated the concrete floor and installed laminate to provide some cushion.
For large equipment I went with Powermatic table saw, band saw, and jointer & planer both with helical cutter heads. All on casters for mobility/storage in my small shop. Hand power tools are mostly Festool. The tool I am least proficient with is the hand plane and yet I absolutely love the history, beauty and feel of planes, so I built a display case for my Lie Nielsen and Veritas planes. In Fresno the heat reaches 110 most summers, so I put up a ceiling fan, insulated my garage panels, installed a whole house fan, and added ductwork for zoned A/C with an independent thermostat. I’m a novice at electrical but I tackled all the power/wiring myself on everything pertaining to the garage including the sub panel and wiring up my 240v Quincy reciprocating screw 80gl compressor & condensation dryer. Space is limited so I designed everything to roll up against the walls when not in use. My most ambitious project was cutting through drywall, 5 load bearing studs, and stucco to create a 5’x2′ hole in my exterior wall. I built temp wall/ceiling support to carry the load while I reframed the structural header support and built the recessed dust box which houses both my Kapex and Bosch Miter saws (I plan to hook the dust box up to my 5hp ClearView Cyclone dust collector but haven’t decided on a design for the duct system yet). The box is both for dust collection and frees up substantial shop space by allowing the saws to sit deep behind the original wall. The unit works in tandem with the floating outfeed tables designed specifically to maximize floor space by allowing various tools to roll/store beneath them.
I often work with sheet goods and grew tired of running full sheets thru my table saw so I invested in a Powermatic vertical panel saw. I set up two router tables, one with an Incra lift & fence and the other has a woodpecker lift. Both have a 3 1/4hp Porter Cable motor. Having 2 tables makes rail/style assemblies a breeze and drastically reduces my setup time by not having to change out bits (wish I would have skipped buying all the tables, lifts, motors, and router bits and purchased a shaper right from the start). Now I can’t justify the cost of a shaper with what I’ve already invested in the router tables/bits. I use pocket holes for much of my face frame joinery and grew frustrated on large projects so I purchased the powered automatic Kreg machine which makes pocket holing a joy.
I have a sizable investment in this woodworking hobby of mine, but I’ve never charged a dime for the many projects I’ve built for family and friends. The satisfaction comes from the appreciation I receive for what I’ve created and if I were to charge for what I build, then it becomes a job. And with a second job comes added stress which defeats the purpose, so for now I’m blessed to have it solely as a hobby. Couldn’t even begin to count how many hours I’ve spent over the last 2+ yrs creating this space. I hope you enjoyed the tour. Long live The Wood Whisperer!