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S19 E29: Ultimate Garage Workshops

Tom Silva travels to Chicago to transform a garage into a woodworking shop; Richard Trethewey travels to Akron, Ohio to install a heater for a garage workshop; Tom and Kevin O’Connor build a tool storage shelf.

Previous episode: S19 E28 | Next episode: Posting on September 26, 8pm ET

In this episode:

The team tackles a few projects that will make any garage workshop high-performing. We start with Tom Silva traveling to Chicago, Illinois to help a homeowner turn her one-car garage into a woodworking shop.

The homeowner enjoys woodworking and wants to expand her skills by creating her own workshop. The only place she can put it is in her one-car garage, so the space is a bit tight. She can’t take over the whole garage because she still needs to park her car in there, especially when it snows. To create a flexible workshop for her, Tom builds a foldable workbench that can attach to the wall of the garage. Placement is key—he puts it on the side wall so the table lines up with the backdoor. This way, if she has long pieces of wood to cut, those boards can come across the outfeed table and through the door opening.

Another issue Tom finds with the garage is lack of ventilation. He points out that she probably doesn’t want to keep her garage door open all the time when working. To add some air movement, Tommy installs a box fan in the only window. The fan will help pull hot air out of the room and it will filter some of the dusty air made from cutting wood.

Then, Richard Trethewey travels to Akron, Ohio to set up a garage workshop with a new heater. The homeowner has turned the detached garage into a full-fledged workshop, where he would like to work all year long. Working in there during the summer is comfortable, as he can open up the garage doors and have a breeze come in. But winters are another story.

It gets cold in Ohio, and the garage needs some sort of heating solution. The homeowner has already done some work towards that goal. He’s already had a plumber run a gas line from the main house to the garage. He also fished a low voltage line for a thermostat control in the wall but is unsure what the best style heating system would be for the space.

The homeowner has thought about putting a conventional furnace up in the attic space of the garage, but Richard isn’t a fan of that idea for a few reasons. He likes to avoid air-based systems whenever he can in a workshop space. The filters can quickly clog with sawdust, making the system run less efficiently. Richard wants to install a gas-fired radiant heat panel. They can usually be found in warehouses and loading docks, and they’re also a good choice for a garage or workshop. They use radiant heat, which heats the objects in the space, not the air. The homeowner will be able to come into the garage on a freezing cold day, turn on the heater, and feel warm rather quickly.

Later, Tom and Kevin O’Connor are in the workshop building a tool shelf out of leftover lumber from other Build It projects. When you get started with a power tool collection, it can get unruly pretty quick. To solve this, Tom and Kevin are building a simple tool storage shelf that anyone who owns tools can easily build themselves.

They build a shelf that is made up of dividers to keep things separated: a larger section for trash bags, safety glasses, etc.; narrow slots for jigsaws, circular saws, grinders, and other tools; the lowest divider is used for an open shelf that can store battery chargers; and at the very bottom, the pair cut out fingers from the board to hold drills and drivers. The tool shelf is perfect for anyone with a workshop that is looking for a little more organization.


How to Set Up a Garage Workshop

Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva heads to Chicago to transform a garage into a woodworking shop.


How to Heat a Garage Workshop

Ask This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey travels to Akron, Ohio to install a garage heater.

Where to find it?

Richard installed the High Intensity Radiant Workshop Heater, manufactured by Mr. Heater.

The other materials Richard used to install the heater, including the gas piping, the flexible gas line, and the plywood to hold the bracket for the heater, can all be found at home centers.

Expert assistance with this segment was provided by Echols Heating and Cooling.


Build It | Tool Storage Shelf

Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva and host Kevin O’Connor build a tool storage shelf out of leftover lumber from other Build It projects.

Where to find it?

Tom built the tool storage cabinet out of leftover materials from previous Build It projects, including ¾-inch oak plywood, 1x12-inch select pine, and ¼-inch birch plywood. These can all be found at home centers and lumber yards if you don’t have enough material in your scrap pile.

To cut the boards to the correct dimensions, Tom used a TS 55 circular saw from Festool. He then secured everything together using GRK #9 2-inch multi-purpose screws from GRK Fasteners and some wood glue from Gorilla Glue.

The kit that Tom and Kevin referenced and used as inspiration for their tool storage organization was the M18 18V Cordless Combo Tool Kit by Milwaukee Tool.

Original Air Date: Sep 19 2021 Season 19; Ep.29 23:42


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