Better use of space

I am king of my space in my shop.  Well, almost king of my shop.

After all, I do have to accommodate a washer and dryer. And, I have to store various picnic implements. And, there’s always that overflow of household products from the run to the wholesale store. But, other than that, I am king of the shop.

Yup. All 24 x 22 feet of it. Wait a minute… that’s not that big of a space after all.  By golly, I had better be able to use the space in my shop effectively, or I am going to be in a world of hurt.

That’s exactly where I am right now. My shop is a great place to stop and work a spell. There is my bench, a front bench area where I can stage materials and a side bench area where my plane till hangs out and I have storage underneath. I’ve built lots of great stuff out there, but one place has always presented a challenge for me – the area behind my bench.

Yeah, this is not the place I am most proud of.  I have always had trouble with this area – it’s cut off from the main work area and you have to round the bench to get there.  It used to hold wood in a big stack behind the bench, now it seems to just hold a crapload of stuff I’m not sure where to put. The shop vac. A rolling stand I built for my portable drill press. Saw horses. The works.

While I’m thinking about this, I also realize that there is another tool I would love to get more use out of – my miter saw. That baby has been sitting under the workbench between the spindle sander and the recycling bin for years now, just collecting dust until I am ready to use it.  But, what I would really love to use it for is cutting long boards down to size. Maybe set it up someplace where I can set up a fence with a siding stop on a measuring tape…

Wait a minute… I’m getting a picture… how about building a miter saw bench/work station. With storage underneath and shelves above. Someplace I can keep the miter saw set up, maybe drag out a few pieces of tooling and use them there as well… I like it.  Of course, this means I’m going to have to get rid of the shelves that I have already built, but that won’t be a problem. In fact, I would be able to cannibalize some of the parts of the existing shelves to build the new unit.

The shelves are built with these Simpson Strong Tie connectors and common 2 x 4 studs, with a few strips of 3/4″ plywood.  And screws. Lots of screws.  But, if I was able to pull these shelves apart, I could easily reuse the wood to build my miter station.  And, of course, the ties could be used in the new storage/workspace area to help build a solid unit that could take a lot of abuse.

There are lots of plans out there using those Simpson Strong Tie connectors, and I’ll spend the next few weeks drawing up some plans for the new station. I’ll want to make sure that my new work area has all of the bells and whistles I’ll need to get the best use out of the saw, and I’ll move my bench a little farther into the room to gain access to the area between the bench. Heck, I’ll throw in some more storage shelves and a ‘garage’ area underneath the work station to hold my shop vac.

Yes, it’s looking like a new project may be in the works here.

4 thoughts on “Better use of space”

  1. Excellent idea Tom.
    I think you are going to be surprised at how much room you pick up.
    That area behind your bench looks deceptively big for what is piled there.
    (Man, you drop something small in there…forget about it!) lol

    I am always wrestling with the idea of coming up with a few more square feet of space here and there. Especially with the rainy season coming, and limited driveway apron work room.
    My shop/garage is smaller then yours and I’ve found the best use (so far) is to put my benches and storage racks against the walls and put all my larger tools on wheels to move in and out of the center work area.

    Those Simpson Strong Ties look like they offer some serious support, and it’s smart to reuse what you can, to hold down costs and take advantage of material you already have.
    I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
    (Iggy will be in on the design phase, right? Wanna keep the shop monkey happy!)

  2. Are you kidding? Iggy’s trying to decide where to put the blender to make the banana daiquiris….

  3. Also, look up!…..Shelves higher on the wall for seldom used items or a rack suspended from the ceiling for lumber storage.
    A problem I have (and I think most of us do) is keeping things that we don’t use a lot but can’t git rid of in case we do need it. By using shelves higher on the wall, an item can be seen and retrieved even if it takes a step stool to get it. 🙂


  4. That’s a great idea. Make sure that you put the saw onto an adjustable platform so the bed of the saw is level with the bench. Stop by and I can show you the setup I used. It works really well.

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