View Full Version : Garage workbench and storage ideas

Mark Jones
08-21-2003, 08:54 AM
I guess I'm a few steps ahead of Joe Reed. My garage is built, lit with fluorecent lights and presently the floor is covered in boxes of parts, tools, etc.

I've now the time to start building a workbench, shelves and cabinets to store my automotive "stuff". The area I would like to dedicate to the workbench and such is somewhat limited to a floor space of 6x18 (I want to keep most of the space for the cars). Any suggestions on design/size of workbench/shelves/cabinets to build? Any pictures of what you have built that you could send my way to help me build the best workbench and storage?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions you have.

tony barnhill
08-21-2003, 09:03 AM
Mark....in one corner of my garage, i have a 20x20 room that's used for woodworking, engine rebuilds, etc....around 2 sides, I built workbenches using an idea from Popular Mechanics magazine...they work equally well with wood projects or engine projects....a series of 2x4 uprights with cross bracing for shelves & top...then heavy plywood on tops & shelves & particle board on back & sides...they're built in 8' sections & screwed together....for heavier work, one area can be covered with metal...
...out in the garage itself, I have one of the Craftsman heavy 8' workbenches - the one with a back & built-in lighting..
...oh, my table saw is a great place to work on larger MG projects (as a matter of fact, it has Jerri's '70 GT engine sitting on it right now)...just cut a piece of metal to cover the top after you've lowered the blade all the way & have pushed the rail to one side

Mark Jones
08-21-2003, 09:42 AM
How deep are you work benches Tony? I have a lot of leftover subfloor particle board (OSB) from the house construction that I saved from the dumpster It's amazing what they will throw out.

tony barnhill
08-21-2003, 10:02 AM
Mark....they're 28" deep everywhere except one place that's 36'x36'

08-21-2003, 11:13 AM
Don't know if this will help but Ikea has some shelf that are 3 to 4 shelves per unit at about 19 bucks. Also Canadian Tire for the plastic containers. Works quite well. I have not been to N.S. for about 10 yrs ( family there ) So I don't know if you have an Ikea but you should be able to get the shelves at the Home Depot too!! graemlins/canpatriot.gif

08-21-2003, 02:20 PM
I use a lot of steel ďwireĒ shelving. You see it a lot in restaurants, commercial kitchens and industrial cleanrooms. Itís great stuff, goes together quickly and easily like playing with tinkertoys and you can reconfigure it any time you want. You can easily hang tools from it, it doesnít collect dust and if it ever needs cleaning you can hose it down. One of my shelf units has casters so I can move the whole thing around.

The things that donít just sit out on the shelves mostly get stored in translucent plastic bins with folding lids. You can see through them just enough to know whatís inside but they donít look cluttered.

I used the wire shelving to build my workbench too. It had to conform around some dryer vent ducting so normal wood cabinets were going to be a big pain to install. I assembled the wire frames around the vents, didnít even need to disassemble the ducting, set a maple countertop on it and rolled a tool chest underneath it for drawer space. It ended up costing less than a custom wood cabinet and the whole thing can be disassembled and moved in minutes.

Wire shelving and bins are available at Costco, Home Depot, Lowes, Target, Ikea and a bunch of other places. Industrial suppliers carry the more expensive US made products that are available in many more sizes and configurations.


Larry Kronemeyer
08-21-2003, 09:45 PM
Borders and Amazon have a great little how to book on building and setting up your dream garage.
I used it for storage shelves for parts and a used old metal kitchen cabinets for wall cabinets, and built my 16' workbench and 6' manual desk.

Mark Jones
08-21-2003, 11:04 PM
Gee, I wish I would have known about that little book back in January during the design phase of the garage.

tony barnhill
08-22-2003, 09:01 AM
I also went down to a local apartment complex when they were remodeling & bought every old 'upper' kitchen cabinet they had for $5 apiece!....they now go all the way around my 20x20 workshop...some still have doors on them, some I took doors off so I could see contents, some are stored in the atic of garage for future projects...really helps with storage & locating things - if I'd just keep my place clean!

Put them up first, install lighting under them & then build your tables.

10-27-2003, 04:32 AM
I've got a heavy 4X8 table in the middle of one of my shops. It's great because I can work on all sides for big jobs. I use carpet matts to throw down on certain areas to protect whatever I may be working on. Also have a metal desk in one end with a set of bookcase shelves that set on top against the wall for the small jobs where I'd rather be sitting down to work. Freestanding wire mesh shelves line the walls of a 6X15 storage room. Flourencent lights above. In my other shop, my workbenches are 7X32 with a shelf all the way accross the back for storing rubbermaid boxes of parts/stuff

10-28-2003, 10:53 AM
Good grief! I thought I was the only one to use ther table saw for such other projects.I do also put a sheet of metal on top.When the sides and front are poen up I have lots of space to clutter.This winter I must find more of the floor.
Winter cane yesterday with 4 Inches of heavy wet snow.Could only push the shovel a few feet.Even the snowblower would ice up the outlet and it would need cleaning every 5 minutes or so.
I figure thats it for LBC driving.

tony barnhill
10-28-2003, 11:07 AM
chuck...yep, big piece of metal to cover the entire saw & its extensions....right now the engine is just sitting on the saw under a towel...&, I'm using a corner of the saw table to paint small pieces (cardboard box cut in half protects everything around it....
...glad to hear winter's coming to Manitoba! Means Spring is just around the corner...& Spring means my trip to Alaska!

10-28-2003, 08:10 PM
I have several shelves and some old hospital cabinets for storage. One heavy bench for the vice and my "light duty" bench. The light bench has a 2*4 on the wall, 2*4 frame with a fire resistant plywood board on it, the legs are angled to the wall to keep the floor clear under it. I put some angle brackets up for bookshelves.

10-31-2003, 03:28 PM
You must be one of the few with a eternal positive good outlook like myself.Winter means I can work on car stuff much more.Plus we can go skiing much more than in the summer time.
Life is so sweet. graemlins/canpatriot.gif

11-07-2003, 02:21 PM
Lots of great ideas here. I built my work bench and storage unit a few weeks ago, just by buying the wood, etc. and going crazy on a weekend. It is better then I would have expected. I have storage for all my tools, big and small, a small hidden storage area for all screws, bolts, screwdrivers, wrenches...... An area for all power tools, and a large spot for all of the engine parts I have taken off of my TR7. And of course, a spot for the kids hockey equiptment. (daughter is a goalie). So, I figured everything was ideal.
The problem is... While everything has a spot assigned to it... Whenever my 14 year old son is out working on his skateboard or whatever else it is he is building, somehow, somone comes into the garage when he is done, and takes the tools out from there assigned positions , (where her returned them) and leaves them all over the garage floor, and out on the front lawn. Of course, I assume he left them laying around, but to my relief, he says " I put them away" when I ask him.
How can I catch this "OTHER PERSON" who is doing this to my neatly organized garage work area?


tony barnhill
11-07-2003, 02:39 PM
Ah, I once had that 'other person' in my garage...I had my daughter spend a weekend - a long one for me listening to her complaints -with me straightening out my garage & tools...afterwards, I put everything under a lock to which I had the only key! Suddenly, that 'other person' went to someone else's garage....
...Now, Jerri & I are the 'other person' because I can't find anything in my garage no matter how much I add onto it!

11-07-2003, 08:07 PM
your problem is that your garage has it's own zip code graemlins/devilgrin.gif

11-08-2003, 07:46 AM
My garage is a 20X24 area in a storage unit bld I own. Right now everything is just laying around o the floor. I have one table. But you guys have inspired me. I am going to build a work bench this week with shelves underneath. I think I will go with a corner spot and go about 8' each direction. That would give me 16' for bench top for tools and 16' of shelve underneath.
What is the ideal height. I am 6'1" and I don't like stooping over. I'm thinking about 4' high would be ideal.
Big benefit from having my shop away from home. No one can bother me when I am working and I have the only key so nobody can mess with my tools.
Disadvantage. The mess is all mine.

11-08-2003, 10:52 AM
"What is the ideal height. I am 6'1" and I don't like stooping over. I'm thinking about 4' high would be ideal."

Rob, I am 5'11", and I have found that the 44" hight I did mine is just ideal. No stooping, and no stretching. How did I come up with 44"? Actually my wife did, and of course, I constantly remind her that she was right.
Have fun.


11-15-2003, 03:28 PM
I finished my work bench this morning. I have one section 8'X2' 41" high. The second (L section) is same size but only 39" high. I went with that because I felt like that was a good height to work with my bench grinder. I also have bench top drill press. The higher bench works great with that.
I have two shelves underneath the top. So I have 32 Sq. Ft. of countertop and 64 Sq. Ft. of shelves. This is really going to help clean up my shop.
I also bought a few plastic bins with hinged lids from Costco for $4.90 each. Great for keeping parts.
By the end of next week I'll be so organized it will be scarey.

Jim Weatherford
11-16-2003, 04:46 AM
Garages and work area seem to go together, but for whatever reason I've never been able to get a car into the garage!

With the coming addition of my new '74 Jensen Healey that has to change, so... my current project is to build out my garage, into a true work space and garage and... B&W Darkroom.

My garage is 22'X 22'so I sectioned of a 8' wide section and divided it at the 10' line, so, my darkroom will occupy an 8í X 10í of the area. The "storage part garage will be to create and other "room" using the remaining 8í X 12í. These spaces will be fully finished, painted and plumbed. I also haunted the used restaurant equipment houses for the wire shelving units. The remaining 14í X 22í will be garage.

Additional storage has been completed overhead (the structure was "improved" to allow the additional overhead weight, and in earthquake area here itís not such a bad Idea. I have enough space across the back (14í area) to put in a 10í X 2í workbench (I donít like deep benches anyway) it is planned at 44í high to help save my back and Iím 6í2" anyway so it will work fine for a workbench.

The 10í length will allow a 4í "cubby" for my roll-around tool box. I have the availability to obtain scrap stainless steel and will cover the work surface for beauty and durability. I will have lighting throughout using 4' shop lights 4 in the shop area and 2 above the bench! I will also have a portable task light and one hand held unit. I like lots of lighting! "I can't fix what I can't see." philosophy in play here. The final touch will be adding "RaceDeck" brand flooring to finish off the project.

[ 11-15-2003: Message edited by: Jim Weatherford ]</p>

02-09-2005, 12:30 AM
Here's my shop, FWIW.