Here at Front Range Raynor, we know garages. After all, we proudly provide garage door repairs and parts for folks here in Fort Collins, Colorado and across the Front Range. And, as experts in the field, we’ve stumbled upon some excellent uses for that highly potent space in your home: your garage. You can turn your garage into the ultimate man-cave. You can create a space for your teenage kids to hold jam sessions for their band. Or, you can create the ultimate woodshop. Today, we’re going to talk about that ladder idea: transforming your garage into a working woodshop. If you’re a wizard with woodworking tools and you love the smell of sawdust, you’ll love our ideas to turn your garage into a cathedral for your favorite hobby. Here’s how you can make the most of your garage as you transform it into your personal woodworking shop:
Space Is King
If you’re converting your garage into a workspace, it’s likely that you’ll need to conserve as much working space as possible, to make it easy to maneuver around large projects. So, you’ll need to keep space in mind as you start building in workbenches and organizing your tools. Try to keep all of your working spaces against the walls of your garage for starters, and hang as many tools as possible on your walls — this will give you plenty of floor space to navigate around, and your tools will be handy, yet out of the way. In addition, you should prop your work tables and larger power tools (e.g. your table saw, band saw, chop saw, etc.) onto casters, so that you can move them around at a moment’s notice. Get locking casters so that you can keep your equipment in place and steadied when you need it, or get “stomp” casters that you can activate by pressing a pedal with your foot to lift the equipment.
Make Vacuuming Easy
Next up, you’ll want to ensure that your new woodshop is easy to vacuum. I remember my grandfather’s workshop, which tended to be filled with about a foot of sawdust (he had a lathe for table legs and chair legs, and he ran a cabinetry business). You could follow that man with a vacuum and you’d still have sawdust pouring down like snowfall. My takeaway was that easily accessible vacuum outlets will prove their worth in a small space, especially if you’re constantly running saws, planers, jointers, sanders, or a lathe. Create a system of suction pipes outfitted to a centrally operated vacuum to suck up all of that sawdust that can be inconvenient and hazardous. Don’t forget to build in a clean air supply fan too, or else all those fine particles could end up in your lungs.
It’s an unfortunate truth, but most garages are pretty poorly lit. You may have a small window, a few exposed light bulbs, and, if you’re lucky, a set of windows spanning the length of your garage. If you’re going to be putting in hours in your workshop, you should have proper lighting to make the environment safe, and a bit more enjoyable. Install additional lighting overhead to make your space more warm and workable. If you’re feeling bold, you can install a new window on a wall of your garage, or you can upgrade your garage door with a windowed model. When the warmer months roll around, you can always open up your garage door and bathe your work in natural light.
Personalize Your Woodshop
This is a fun one, and it’s absolutely worth the time. While you may be going for a bare-bones, sanitary workshop (perhaps woodworking is your profession), some personalization can prove inspiring, if not simply pleasing to you as you work through project after project. Tack up some of your old license plates throughout your workspace to show off your travels. Or place all of your old skis on the wall, to display your passion for the powder. The possibilities here are endless, so start dreaming!
If you have neighbors, or you’ll have people in the house as you work, then you may need to soundproof your garage. You can invest in soundproofing panels that you can tack to your walls to drastically reduce how much sound travels. You can also hang up blankets around the walls of your garage, or go with the egg-carton technique. Just start collecting egg cartons, cut them in half, and tack them to your walls to create a free sound dampener.
Often, woodworkers take wood when they can get it — and that’s a good idea to save money and to keep a handy supply of materials just a few feet away from the saws. However, if you’re stocking up, you’ll need adequate storage. Consider building in shelves along the upper parts of the walls of your garage to keep spare wood out of the way — yet dry and handy when you need it. You can even invest in ceiling mounted shelving that will truly keep your supply from becoming an obstacle. Just be sure you’re hitting supportive studs when you install the bracing system for your ceiling mounts and wall shelves.
We’ve already touched on this topic a bit, but flexibility can be huge to help you save space while making the most of your tools, tables, and equipment. If you’re building a work table, for instance, you can put it on casters, and install folding extenders for longer projects. This will make your table excellent for big projects, and, when you need some space to move around while you have wood glue drying on that big project, you can unlock the casters, roll your table to an open corner (or into the driveway if it’s a sunny summer day!), and get to work on the next thing on your docket. Make your equipment, tools, and tables as adaptable and mobile as possible, so that you can rearrange and rework your wood shop to fit your current project.
If you’re woodworking year round, you’ll need some heat in the winter. Now, a portable heater may do if you have an especially small garage, but you should invest in a more efficient model if you’re heating a larger space — even a two-car garage should be heated with an energy-efficient heater, or your energy bills will spike. You should also consider insulating and weatherproofing your garage to make it well sealed. You can install new weatherstripping on your garage door, and you can insulate your walls. Don’t forget to add caulking around your windows, and consider investing in double-pane windows or windows with a high r-value if you have money to spare for the upgrade.
Count on Front Range Raynor for Repairs and Upgrades
Now that you’re on your way to transforming your garage from a mere carport to a state-of-the-art woodshop, it’s time to make sure that your garage door is in working order. Whether you need to upgrade your garage door to a more efficient model, or you need to fix your door because of a kickback incident that sent a 2 x 1 straight through the thing, we’re always here to help with that. Again, we provide garage door repairs and parts out of our Fort Collins location for folks throughout the Front Range. Feel free to reach out to us if you need service or parts!