Text Resize

  • -A
  • +A
  • Your rating: None (4 votes)

    Roll-Away Workshop





    by Bill Endress

    After many years living in central Florida, I received an invitation to relocate to Tucson, Ariz. Having been an active woodworker for 18 years, I placed adequate shop space high on my list when it came time to buy a home. While it would have been nice to find a house with a separate workshop, my wife and I settled on one with a spacious 23-ft. by 23-ft. two-car garage.

    This presented me with a challenge: create an efficient and comfortable workshop that could accommodate big projects but still make room for the family cars. So I began laying out the basic requirements needed to share my tablesaw with my parking space.

    two car garage workshop

    roll away shop

    two garage workshop layout


    The primary requirement was to keep at least one car in the garage at night, even if a half-finished project occupied floor space. The flexibility to park two vehicles in the garage on occasion also was essential. The challenge was balancing these requirements with the elements of a good shop: one that is attractive to work in, easy to clean, and has plenty of organized storage. My philosophy throughout was “a place for everything, and everything in its place.”

    Making due with limited space
    To have plenty of workspace and be able to cut long boards with my radial-arm saw, I knew I would build a long workbench along one of the garage walls. I began sketching idea after idea, looking for inspiration in books, magazines, and on TV woodworking shows.

    While paging through magazines, I came upon an article for a roll-around tool-storage cabinet designed to be tucked under one wing of a tablesaw. It dawned on me that I could use a similar concept to save space in my garage. Beneath the workbench I could house roll-around cabinets to store tools.

    The more I thought about it, the more advantages I could see of this system. With the rolling cabinets built to well-planned heights, they could serve as infeed and outfeed supports for the tablesaw, planer, and miter saw. Work areas also could be adapted to accommodate different projects just by rearranging the rolling cabinets.

     roll away shop 


    Workbench serves as a garage for rolling cabinets
    Constructing the main workbench was the first task. Because of space limitations, I decided to build it in two sections and bolt them together. One section is 8 ft. long, and the other is 6 ft. long. After some measuring of tables and kitchen cabinets, I determined that a worksurface 30 in. deep and 37 in. high would be most comfortable. The workbench was fortified with a 2x4 frame to support the substantial weight of the radial-arm saw. I also installed two electrical-outlet strips on the bench, one on each side of the saw. They’re mounted along the front edge to keep power-tool cords from extending across the top of the worksurface.


     

    rolling cart
    Each rolling cabinet has the same overall dimensions: 26 in. deep by 22 in. wide by 321⁄2 in. high (the chopsaw, planer, and scrollsaw cabinets are shorter but follow a similar construction method). Locking swivel casters account for 3 in. of the height. The basic construction allows for variations in the placement of drawers and shelves. Each cabinet is constructed from 3⁄4-in.-thick plywood and finished with two coats of water-based varnish.

    Cabinets are built for mixing and matching
    It was both fun and challenging to design and build the cabinets. Once I knew the workbench measurements, it was easy to back out the dimensions for the rolling cabinets. To keep it simple, the cabinets follow the same basic design but are configured differently, according to their functions.

    Some cabinets have drawers, some have shelves, and some are built to hold large power tools. All of the cabinets roll on swivel casters. Handles are attached to the cabinet faces so that they can be maneuvered around the garage. The handles, drawer pulls, and cabinet-door handles are all matching brushed chrome, giving the final profile of the workbench a handsome look.

    Configure the cabinet for various uses While confined to set dimensions, Endress designed the rolling cabinets with various arrangements of shelves and drawers so that each one serves a different purpose.
    rolling cart
    Sliding shelves store power tools visibly and in reach. Endress built two of these cabinets—one with a left-facing handle, the other with a right-facing handle—to form a large surface when side by side.
     
    rolling cart
    Shallow drawers hold hand tools. An open area below the top of the cabinet keeps tools within reach but out of the way. The cabinet’s top has enough overhang for attaching clamps.
     
    storage cart
    There’s no such thing as too much storage. Two tall, open shelves are used for storing large objects such as a toolbox, benchtop grinder, and belt sander.
     
    rolling work station
    Scrollsaw sits at a comfortable height. The scrollsaw is mounted to this low rolling cabinet so that it can fit below the workbench when not in use. However, it’s just the right height to use while sitting comfortably in a chair.
     
    rolling cart
    Router table holds parts and accessories. This rolling router table is equipped with a router lift. The lift is offset to accommodate drawers, bits, and accessories. Dust-collection ports are built into the fence and cabinet back.



    Storage cabinets double as worksurfaces—The cabinet used for storing power tools has six sliding shelves that pull out to the left for storing sanders, a jigsaw, and other tools. A second cabinet is built in a mirror image with shelves that pull out to the right. By butting these two cabinets together, a continuous worksurface is created while leaving the shelves accessible.

    A third rolling cabinet has five drawers to hold hand tools. A shelf underneath the top of the cabinet is open on three sides, providing a place to set tools and keep them out of the way. The opening also is useful for clamping workpieces to the tabletop, as clamp heads can be tightened against the top’s overhang.

    The fourth rolling cabinet simply has two shelves that are accessible from three sides. One shelf holds two toolboxes, and the other holds my bench grinder and a small belt sander.

    The height of the cabinets is consistent and makes them ideal to serve as infeed and outfeed tables for my miter saw, planer, and tablesaw.

    Stationary tools get wheels, too—The first four cabinets provide adequate storage for my hand tools. But I also needed storage for my assortment of power tools.

    The scrollsaw fits below the workbench, sitting on a low, rolling cabinet. While it seems quite short at first glance, the cabinet is just the right height to use the saw while sitting comfortably in a chair.

    The router-table cabinet also is on wheels. The table is equipped with a router lift. The lift is offset from the center of the worksurface, leaving room for drawers on one side of the cabinet to hold router bits, collet wrenches, and a laminate trimmer. Two more drawers below the router are large enough to hold another router, associated tools, and auxiliary baseplates.

    Following the same design, I built rolling cabinets to hold my planer, miter saw, and tablesaw. Rather than getting stored out of sight, these cabinets fit along the walls of my shop and can be moved easily. The cabinets for these tools also have plenty of storage for any accessories.

    Dust collection is easy to incorporate—The only tool in the shop that doesn’t have dust collection built into its cabinet is the miter saw. Try as I might, I haven’t come up with a good dust-collection system that allows me to store the cabinet against the wall. When using this tool, I usually set it up by the garage door so that the dust generated is thrown outside the shop.

    To keep the shop clean, I settled on a 1-hp mobile dust collector that can be attached to one tool at a time, and it has been adequate so far.

    Wheels roll in any direction and lock securely—I used four 3-in. locking swivel casters (available at hardware stores) on each rolling cabinet, which enables them to move in any direction.

    When all four wheels are locked, the cabinet becomes a stable platform. Unfortunately, due primarily to its weight, moving and locking my tablesaw into place on its low cabinet was a struggle. It always seemed to go in the opposite direction I wanted it to go. On a whim, I decided to try higher-quality, heavy-duty casters from Woodcraft Supply Corp. (www.woodcraft.com). What a difference quality makes! Not only can I move my saw with little effort, but the locking mechanism also is much easier to operate.

    Wall cabinets reduce clutter
    After taking up as much space as I could afford on the ground, I looked to the walls for more storage. I designed the wall cabinets to accommodate my work habits. I did not want deep cabinets, as things tend to get shoved to the back and become lost. I wanted my cabinets just deep enough to hold racks of storage bins. I also did not want them so high that a ladder would be necessary to access the top shelves. This led to a final dimension of 8 in. by 30 in. by 30 in. for a double wide cabinet, and 8 in. by 15 in. by 30 in. for a single wide cabinet.

    Cars and projects live in harmony
    When I first came up with the idea of a small garage shop based on a mobile storage concept, I wondered how it would work out. After using the shop for more than a year, I continue to be amazed at how easy and how much fun it is to work here. All of my requirements were met, including the ability to park two vehicles in the garage when the shop is not in use.

    As with any shop, there are lessons learned for building the next one. In hindsight, it would have been a good idea to plumb the workbench for dust collection and compressed air. But overall I am quite pleased with the current mix of rolling cabinets. If I do add new tools to my shop, I'll build rolling cabinets designed specifically for them.

     

    Mobile tools and cabinets improve workflow
    With the cabinets and tool stands built to corresponding heights, they can be arranged for use in a variety of combinations. The four-station arrangement shown here will accommodate a workflow that includes benchtop planing (1), ripping on the tablesaw (2), crosscutting on the miter saw (3), and routing at the router table (4). After an operation has been completed at one station, the outfeed table is rolled to the next station, where it becomes the infeed table.

      workflow  

    workflow
    (1) Room for rough cutting. Endress starts his workflow by milling boards at the thickness planer. Rolling cabinets support the stock on its way in and out of the planer and can be moved to support boards of various lengths.
     
    workflow
    (2) Support for long or wide stock. The planer outfeed table becomes the infeed support at the tablesaw. A second cabinet catches the board on its way out.
     
    workflow
    (3)Instant miter-saw station. Like the other power tools in this shop, the miter saw is built on a rolling cabinet designed so that the saw-cutting worksurface is level with the tops of the other cabinets.
     
    workflow
    (4) Comfortable routing station. After transporting a stack of freshly crosscut material from the miter saw, Endress goes to work at the router table

    Originally published in Fine Woodworking magazine (FWW #167)


    Bill_Endress

    Comments

    Comment viewing options

    Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
    daniell17
    daniel artenie writes:

    I just renovated my garage, I made a few cabinets from oak wood and the rest of the stuff I bought it from different stores. I even bought some peg board hooks from http://www.americanstorefixture.com/pegboardhooks.aspx because I really like to have my tools hanging out in the garage.

    latashiaholley
    Albertina Kingsmill writes: I am usually to blogging and i genuinely appreciate your content regularly. This content has truly peaks my interest. I will bookmark your web site and maintain checking achievable details.
    michaelmaloney
    Michael Maloney writes:

    Mobile cabinets are always very practical to have around. They not only provide so much storage space in one area, but can be moved all over the place to cater to your storage needs. This is especially useful in your situation, whereby the cabinets need to be pushed away to make way for either one of your cars. I think such a concept will also be ideal for the living room which can serve as a mobile server table for guests, then chucked aside in the kitchen when not in use.

    user-2414956
    Donald Landis writes:

    Bill,

    The use of the rolling cabinets is brilliant, but how did you build your worksurface? you said you built an 8 foot and 6 foot section and bolted them together, but can you share the plans? I acn't see from the pictures how you are supporting the work surface.  I am also working in a 2 car garage that we alos must use for vehicles, and I want to incorporate your plans into my new design this winter.

     

    Don

    juanalesandro
    juan alesandro writes:

    this wood working amazed me. I always come here to see what is new designs. They’re mounted along the front edge to keep power-tool cords from extending across the top of the worksurface.

    sebbal
    Sebastian Balcerzak writes:

    Wow, marvelous blog structure! How lengthy have you been running a blog for? you make running a blog look easy. The entire glance of your website is great, as smartly as the content material! Tanie Noclegi Warszawa - Barbara Balcerzak

    Aalupalak
    Aalu Palak writes:

    Home accessories - Home Accessories & unique gift ideas for the contemporary & design led home including vintage home & decor accessories, stylish home kitchen accessories.<br>
    carpet tiles uk  - remier Supplier of Carpet Tiles in the UK. Over 100,000 Discount Commercial and Office Carpet Tiles stocked, with Fast Next Day Delivery.<br>
    garage doors surrey - We offer a huge selection of garage doors from the UK and Europe’s leading Garage Door Manufacturers.<br>
    floor tiles - Browse through our Kitchen Tile, Bathroom Tile, Wall Tile and Floor Tile collections to find the perfect design for your home or office.<br>
    oak flooring - Oak Floors Online: Specialists in quality solid & engineered oak flooring. Great value real oak for a hardwearing, rustic & authentic looking wooden floor

    juanalesandro
    juan alesandro writes:

    I wanna take part to this workshop.I have huge interest on wood work.advertisement flags

    hatchemoto
    Hatchemoto Mishimur writes:

    This site needs to learn how to block Scrapebox spammers.

    hatchemoto
    Hatchemoto Mishimur writes:

    Been looking at a lot of shop design for my small space. Going to borrow many of these ideas. Many thanks for sharing...

    smongeon
    Sylvain Mongeon writes:

    Very nicely done. Did you adjust for the slope of the garage floor in any way so that your equipment was more or less level or did you just accept the fact that your cabinets would exhibit a slight or varying angle? Here in Canada we usually slope the garage floor away from the house. Also, did you incorporate any heating or cooling capability in the design or is your weather such that it was not a consideration?

    THisWoodShop
    Mo Theron writes:

    Nice shop

    warner12
    David kumar writes:

    Nehru Place Laptop Prices  My business is find home elevators this topic as i am working away at a enterprise project. Thanks posting comparative information and its now becoming much better to complete this particular project.

    preetisingh
    preeti preeti writes: There is a special air cleaner just for tools that are mostly sanding dust; this cleaner is different from a D.C. Dedicated Server
    etortorich
    Elizabeth Tortorich writes:

    I loved your mobile workshop.  You certainly appear to know what you are doing,  I have a question,  is there a ratio (formula) of width to height to length to have a rolling cabinet which is stable?  I would like to use some "repurposed" upper kitchen cabinets to make a craft storage cart but I don't know just how wide I need to make the base so it will not be top heavy.  Could you nelp me out?  Much appreciation.

    CarolynP
    Carolyn Piro writes:

    This looks awesome.  I need to build a movable cart for a "store" for my son's classroom.  

    He participates in a self contained program, but they are building a mobile store to sell things to the other kids, like pencils, etc.

    Is there a way I could get a copy of your plans?  I would really appreciate it!  My father has a great workshop that I could build one of these over the summer.

     

    Carolyn

    Kids Cowboy
    dfdf fdgfd writes:


    Exporting and manufacturing Living Room Chairs such as two three seater living room chairs and seater living room chairs.our chairs are widely used by the international clients.

     

    bmace
    Brad Mace writes:

    Can anyone explain how the bench they all store under is built?

    hatchemoto
    Hatchemoto Mishimur writes: From the article: "One section is 8 ft. long, and the other is 6 ft. long. After some measuring of tables and kitchen cabinets, I determined that a worksurface 30 in. deep and 37 in. high would be most comfortable. The workbench was fortified with a 2x4 frame to support the substantial weight of the radial-arm saw. I also installed two electrical-outlet strips on the bench, one on each side of the saw. They’re mounted along the front edge to keep power-tool cords from extending across the top of the worksurface."
    bruwno
    bruno kudrecki writes:

    what a great idea!enlightened I love it, this is just what i need to do in my very small garage.

    thank you very much for sharing.smiley

    Login or register to post comments