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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

Steps:

  1. For the folding workbench, build a frame out of 2x4 lumber approximately 4 feet long by 3 feet wide. Include two additional 2x4s for center supports.
  2. Attach a 2x4 ledger to the long side of the workbench using hinges. This ledger will screw into the wall.
  3. If you’re also using the workbench as an outfeed table, it should be slightly lower than the top of your table saw. Once you know that height, cut two 2x4s to serve as legs and attach them to the inside of the front of the frame using hinges.
  4. Use a masonry drill bit and concrete screws to fasten the ledger of the folding workbench to the wall.
  5. Cut ¾” plywood for the bench top, and allow 1 1/2-2” around three sides for an overhang for clamping. Attach the workbench top to the frame by countersinking screws.
  6. Attach a gate latch to a spacer block and then to the wall, allowing the bench to stay out of the way when it’s not in use.
  7. To store tools, use a piece of pegboard mounted to some wood spacers to allow it to sit slightly proud of the wall. Use a masonry drill bit and concrete screws to fasten the peg board to the wall.
  8. To help with ventilation, mount a box fan in the window opening by first attaching a 2x4 to the window casing; hang two hooks off of the bottom. Then drill two holes into the box fan to receive the hooks.
  9. To make for a softer work area, lay down interlocking foam pads on the concrete.
  10. Some of the recommended tools for a small workshop like this include a table saw, a compound miter saw, a plunge router, a hand planer, a palm sander, two drill/drivers, a jigsaw, and a pocket hole jig.