The shop

Overall view of shop

My shop shares space with our car in a 1 and 1/2 car garage. Why 1 and 1/2? Our house is located on a 20 foot wide lot in a very urban setting. That's correct, the entire lot is 20 feet wide! The garage is in the rear of the house and is accessed from an alley that runs behind the houses that front onto the street. Technically, it is possible to fit two cars side by side in 20 feet, and we have in fact done that on occasion. However, as the volume of "stuff" accumulates in our garage, in particular the volume of woodworking equipment, we have resigned ourselves to having sufficient space for just one vehicle. Even so, I have built mobile bases under my power tools so that they can be rolled back against the wall at night when we need to pull the car into the garage.

When we first moved in, the garage space was completely empty. My first acquisition was an Hitachi sliding compound miter saw, which I placed on the floor and used to build a basic 2x4 and plywood workbench. I still use this workbench and it is visible in the photographs. The Hitachi SCMS has since moved up off the floor to a bench of its own just to the right of the larger workbench. This isn't an ideal location since there is no support to the right of the saw (I typically use the hold down to secure the outfeed), and I have to clear the front half of the workbench whenever I crosscut a long board. But it has worked ok so far.

Initially the garage had a single 15 amp circuit, and I soon added an additional 20 amp circuit. I use the 15 amp circuit to power six 4 foot flourescent fixtures and two ceiling mounted radiant heaters which I purchased from Lee Valley. The 20 amp circuit powers all the rest. Since I really only use one major power tool at a time, this has worked fine so far. I obviously can't run any 220 equipment, and I might have problems if I tried to install a dust collection system. But so far so good.

New table saw station

Soon after building my bench, I bought a Jet contractor's saw. For a long time the saw rolled around on a metal stand supported by a mobile base, but I recently constructed a more versatile unit loosely based on a plan I saw in an issue of Shop Notes. It is visible in the accompanying photos. I am very happy with it, the only downside being that I filled up the additional drawer space pretty much instantly! This project is only half complete - the next phase will be to add a router table to the right of the saw in the space now occupied by the sheet metal extension table. When that is done I will be able to keep my router permanently mounted in the table, which will save me a great deal of set up time whenever I want to rout.

Also visible in the photos is a Jet bench top drill press which rides around on another mobile base that I built from plans in Workbench magazine. Overall I have been very pleased with the solid quality of Jet products. In fact if Jet wants to send me any complimentary equipment in exchange for this endorsement I would be very cooperative - a bandsaw perhaps?

Workbench, SCMS, and drill press station