HOBBY WORKSHOP GARAGE
What can be for a wife the high end kitchen; can be for many husbands the hobby room or workshop garage.
A garage can be much more than the place where you park your car or stash your junk. These ultimate garages show how a heavy-duty upgrade can turn one into a very nice and useful home addition.
It's 2007. You're a Hollywood screenwriter temporarily out of work and spending three hours a day pounding pavement for the Writers Guild Strike, leaving plenty of spare time. How do you fill the hours? If you're Jack Olsen, you undertake a total garage overhaul.
With a budget of $3200 and very little experience, Olsen culled his clutter and transformed what was a dusty two-car, 400-square-foot garage into a method man's lair. Olsen organized the space according to a triangular scheme, with each point of the triangle representing a different activity: welding and metal fabrication, carpentry and servicing his 1972 Porsche 911. "Oddly, once you start to think of the tasks you do, the design of the place begins to dictate itself," Olsen says. For example, he says, "You can't get the car filled with sawdust and metal shavings. If you're welding, you can't have sawdust around it because it'll start a fire."
Before the strike, Olsen had never tried his hand at carpentry or welding, but to make up for inexperience, he did plenty of research. He read Web forums, discussion boards and tutorials before he ever started laying tile, welding long arms for lighting fixtures or designing a corner sink and cabinetry. And the garage, he says, is the perfect place to learn on the fly.
Cake Pan Pendulum Lights
Though these pendulum lights may resemble automobile parts, Olsen made them from wedding cake pans he found at a restaurant supply store. The pans are aluminized steel, the same anti-rust material used in car exhaust pipes. Instead of hanging the lights vertically, which would have obstructed the path of the garage door, Olsen welded long arms and suspended the pendulum lights horizontally. "I had to measure how much the long arm would sag under the weight of those lamps and pre-stress it in the other direction so when the weight came on, it would still be level," he says.
Welding Table in Ready Position
Once Olsen realized that the Porsche was taking up more than its fair share of floor space, he came up with a clever idea for that area's use when the car is out of the garage. He created a welding table that folds up and down and doubles as a home for his clamp collection. "I actually took the better part of a day drawing on the floor with chalk and putting a puzzle together, laying out all those clamps, thinking 'I have to do this in a way that I'll never want to redo it,'" he says. He fireproofed a strip of plywood by covering it with aluminum sheet, added on machine screws, L-brackets and large nails, and reproduced the chalk puzzle on the sheet. Now the tools are organized and kept out of the way when they're not needed. "And once it's clean, you don't spend half the time looking for that tool you misplaced. You're much more efficient with your time."
"People have theories about where your elbow should be relative to a vise," Olsen says, "but I think you should try different benches at different heights and see what's most comfortable." He found 37 inches to be perfect for his stature and cut all 9 of his work surfaces to that height, which made it much easier to bridge long lengths of metal across the surfaces when building things like wrought-iron fences for his backyard. "It's too unwieldy to hold up 18 feet while you cut 2 feet.”
The surfaces vary from inch-thick steel plate to plywood to maple butcher block, whatever Olsen was able to get "secondhand as a bench." He even has a heavy steel bench that pulls down from the ceiling. "I used pulleys and cables and a wench to suspend it above my car, which is like a really bad idea in earthquake country," he laughs. "I don't suggest it."
A Simple Cabinet Transformed
Olsen bought this Strong Hold 12-gauge-steel tallboy on eBay and reinvented it as a sink nook. He used a jigsaw, a metal-cutting chop saw and a metal-cutting blade for circular cuts to slice the tallboy into segments. The back of the cabinet became the counter-top, the bottom and top turned into a short stool, and the other parts became the wall and sink cabinets.
"I had no idea what it was going to look like at the end," he says. "It's like trying to find a way to make something out of almost nothing. It wasn't clear if I was going to have enough metal to do it or if it'd even fit."
Submerged Hydraulic Lift
Olsen's hydraulic lift eludes even the shrewdest of eyes at first, stowing away in the floor until he brings it up to lift his Porsche. He picked up the hydraulic lift secondhand for $450; it was cheaper and smaller than an auto lift. That made it perfect for the tightly packed garage and perhaps for his Porsche, too, as the car's underbelly is flat.
To see if it would work, Olsen first determined the car's balance point by propping it onto a piece of wood, studying the lift table design and got some feedback from structural engineering professionals on discussion boards. "You're always nervous about using something for a purpose other than what it was strictly designed for," he says and his lift was previously used to elevate both people and heavy items in industrial settings.
But since no one tried to dissuade him, Olsen dove right in and figured out how to submerge the lift into the garage floor. "I had 3000 pounds of clay and concrete that I had to dig out of the garage floor and 2000 pounds of new concrete that had to go back in," he says. "I had never done any of that before, so it was a learning experience." He even tiled the top of the lift table to make it completely flush with the garage floor and added a heavy steel physical stop and In Use warning lights as safety precautions.
The 8 Essentials for Every Garage—How to Get Started
WHETHER YOU'RE MOVING INTO A NEW HOME WITH YOUR FIRST GARAGE OR LOOKING TO KICK THINGS UP A NOTCH, THERE ARE A FEW BASICS TO GET BEFORE YOU DEAL WITH ANYTHING ELSE. EQUIP YOUR GARAGE WITH THESE ESSENTIALS TO MAKE IT A HAPPIER AND MORE PRODUCTIVE PLACE.
The more tools you own, the more important organization becomes—few things are as frustrating as spending an hour looking for a tool you need for a 15-minute project. For new homeowners, this six-drawer Craftsman ball-bearing chest holds plenty of tools and offers room to grow. Its 26 x 12–inch footprint doesn't take up too much room on a workbench, and its shallow drawers make the chest more space-efficient.
DIYers with a larger haul of tools should consider a roller-cabinet-and-chest combo that's at least 16 inches deep and 26 inches wide. For a step above what you might find at big-box stores, try Strictly Toolboxes' aptly named Extreme toolboxes.
Finally, when you reach advanced DIYer status, it might be time for an advanced tool chest. Lista mobile tool cabinets are overkill for most garages, but these cabinets are the pinnacle of tool storage—and they're built like tanks.
Pegboard, a garage staple, is by far the most economical way to store individual tools and pieces of equipment. There are different hooks available for hammers, extension cords and other tools, but you can also follow PM's guide to making your own tool hangers. For an upgrade to something tougher, there are very nice steel panels available from Wall Control.
Open shelving and enclosed cabinets such as those by Gorilla Rack and Gladiator offer greater flexibility for storing odds and ends. Some metal-frame shelving systems can be configured as either single free-standing shelving units or as shorter double-wide units that also serve as a quick and easy workbench.
Wall organization systems, like Gladiator's Geartrack and Rubbermaid's Fast Track , are perfect for keeping larger items, such as lawn and garden tools, out of the way. However, wall-mounted organizational systems are costly. If you're not ready to splurge for such a setup, opt for individual tool hangers, which are cheap and readily available at hardware stores. These vinyl-coated hooks come in a variety of shapes: J-hooks to hold bikes overhead, L-hooks for ladders and U-hooks for hose and extension-cord bundles. The best I've seen are the E-Z Ancor Tornado hooks.
Automobile enthusiasts: Lista garage workbenches, garage mobile cabinets and garage storage systems let you create the ultimate auto repair, maintenance and tinkering workspace right in your home-away-from-home – whether it houses a collection of vintage cars, a tricked-out ride, or just the family sedan.
Hobbyists: The ideal way to make your hobby workshop a true personal getaway is to equip it with Lista workbenches, storage cabinets and other storage solutions. That way, all your tools and equipment will have a customized, organized, secure home of their own.
Home shops: Whether you build furniture or just rewire lamps, Lista's lineup of workbenches and storage systems allows you to work in an environment where everything is organized, protected and, well, damned good looking. With the durability that makes your shop an investment, not just a purchase.
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Garage size – this is primarily a factor that must be considered. Will you use the garage for the sole purpose of storing your vehicle ? Or you want to use as your own studio? What about children? Maybe you want to have a safe place for them to play and stay at? If this is the case, it is important to leave enough room spacious garage and free equipment and dangerous devices. Are you planning to have it as a handy storage room for future accumulation of personal belongings and essentials? All these questions will help you create a design that will be enough to solve all future problems of household storage you’re likely to encounter. interior design garage.
Featured Customer Garage Enhancement Project
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