Vodo’s Newbie Garage Shop

Shop Tour - Submitted by James from Idaho
Added on February 26, 2013

I just got into woodworking last August 2012. The house I purchased in 2008 came with a ghetto mailbox–a tire rim with cement in it on a post. I finally got around to re-landscaping my yard and I wanted to replace my mailbox with a real one.

After a few weekends of frustrating hours designing what I wanted, I decided I clearly needed better tools to do a decent job. I spent HOURS on forums looking for advice. I found websites like the Wood Whisperer, LumberJocks and Sawmill creek and spent even MORE time there. The mailbox turned out very nice and elicited my favorite comment, “That’s the nicest $2000 mailbox I’ve ever seen!”. From this point I started watching Woodworks with David Marks and I went crazy. Within about 2 months I had transformed the garage into a “shop”.

I started by demolishing the old “shelves” that a previous owner of the house had just tacked on the walls, they were essentially cast-offs from a kitchen remodel. The garage was insulated, so I dry-walled all but the ceiling, put up pegboards, shelves, and a clamp rack. If I had to start over, I might have gone with an all-one-brand setup. Instead, I have been trying to find quality machines in my price range with good reviews and good value. My first “project” will be as many have done, a torsion box assembly table. Then, a workbench since right now all I have are these cobbled-together, wobbly 2×4 tables that I made 10 years ago. I also added extra electrical outlets, 2 new fixtures and a lot of daylight bulbs, plus a heater so I can work during Idaho winters.

As a fortunate boon, I was able to salvage the “tops” of 53 armoires from the hotel I manage, including all the hardware, hinges, knobs, etc. plus enough board feet of veneered MDF to fill an entire room in my house. I just need to get the shop in order so I can cut it down into usable stuff. Which means–torsion box assembly/outfeed table since I don’t have a big table saw. I don’t have a lot of hand tools yet or clamps but I’m working on it.


Bosch 4100-09 10-Inch Table Saw
Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer
Shop Fox W1741 8-Inch Jointer
Grizzly G0555X 14″ Bandsaw
Bosch 1617EVSPK 2-1/4-Horsepower Plunge & Fixed Base Router
JobMax Work System
Air Compressor
Ryobi Drill Press
Rigid 16 Gallon Shop-Vac
Hitachi NT32AE2 18-Gauge Brad Nailer
DEWALT D26453K 3 Amp Random Orbit Sander