2020 was the year for baking and woodworking. Hardware stores made a killing selling power tools, and not a few garages were haphazardly turned to woodworking workshops. Of course, starting woodworking projects in your garage is fairly easy. However, turning a garage into a proper workshop will take a bit of effort.
If you are using your garage as a workshop, you’re going to need some space. Even if you can move your cars into the driveway when starting projects, you’ll still have to make space for a shelving system to organize your tools, materials, and sundries. Long-span shelves are great options, and a couple of them can solve most of your storage problems. Move all your cars to one side of your garage by using a car lift, and you should have enough space for a couple of tables and two to three modular shelves or wall-mounts.
Installing a car lift in your garage is fairly easy if you have the ceiling space (most garages do), and they’re not as expensive as you may think. Expect to spend $3,000 to $4.000 on your car lift and installation, which should require one to two days. Once you have enough space, you’ll also need to install adequate lighting. Keeping your workshop well-lighted ensures you don’t miss out on small details or mess up your paints. Air cleaners and dust extractors are a must for every workshop. Woodworking involves a lot of dust, and you don’t want your projects to leave a mess, especially sawdust that can get into your cars.
Make It Safe
Once you turn your garage into a workshop, you’ll need to upgrade its safety protocols. Kids and power tools can be a dangerous combination. Words of caution won’t be enough, so you’ll need to keep your garage locked up when you’re not there. Purchase a couple of safety glasses before starting any project, as sawdust and flying splinters can lead to permanent eye damage. If you plan on bringing in guests or helpers, add a few more glasses and make them a requirement for entering your workshop.
Opt for work boots to protect your feet. Lumber can be heavy, and dropping a heavy piece of wood on your toes can haunt you for months. You’ll need dust masks when you’re sawing or grinding. Sawdust can be extremely flammable, and a small spark could lead to a small explosion. Power tools will have grounding wires to prevent sparks, and installing them shouldn’t take more than an hour. Water can mess up your projects and electrical outlets, so opt for a CO2 fire extinguisher in case of fires in your workshop.
Every woodworking workshop will need a table saw. Most (if not all) of your projects will involve using one, and it would be the most used equipment in your workshop. You’ll need a miter saw for angled cutting, but you can reserve that for a later purchase. Make sure to place cover guards on your saw’s start buttons to avoid accidents and false starts.
Another basic piece of equipment your workshop should have is the drill press. A drill press will make joining wood a lot easier in your first few projects, although you might start relying on glue once you’ve attained a bit of expertise. Make a few trial runs on your equipment before starting a project. Practicing on spare wood will allow you to get a feel of your equipment, ensuring better runs when they count. Get an electrician to route your workshop’s wiring into a central circuit breaker. You can keep the switch locked up when you’re not home to ensure the kids won’t be playing around with dangerous equipment.
Woodworking involves more than just power tools and lumber. You’ll need a stock of nails, screws, and glues, a well as lacquers and paints. In your first few projects, you’ll probably use nails and screws to join your wood. Eventually, you’ll move to glue once you start precision-crafting fitted pieces.
Carpenter’s glue or gorilla glue should cover most of your project needs. Gorilla glue has a shelf life of two years once opened, so make sure you’ve graduated from basic nailing and screwing before buying them in bulk. Woodworking requires a lot of wiping, whether it’s for removing excess glue or wiping down lacquer or paint. Bulk rags, particularly lint-free ones, should cover your workshop needs for six to 12 months. They’re also more environment-friendly than buying new towels or wipes.
Turning a garage into a proper workshop isn’t that difficult. Make space for tables and shelves, ensure a degree of safety, get the tools, stock up on sundries, and you’ll be turning out projects in no time.