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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Newt’s Workshop


Papa’s Toy Repair Shop

I started with a 12x24 foot storage building that I had purchased with another piece of property. The previous owner had used it for his tractor repair shop and was not much interested in woodworking. Having it moved to this location, we leveled it and my son-in-law and I added the porch to the front. I had a 200 amp service pulled in to service this as well as three RV spots I had put on the property for our family when they visit.

My first endeavor once I had electricity was to begin the process of tearing out the existing overhead storage, wiring, and workbench. Keep in mind that I have no other place to store this stuff so it was a clear one side and complete it and then move stuff back to other side event.

My desire was to have enough electrical sockets throughout so as to never have to hunt down an extension cord. After completing the wiring I had 12 circuits, with three 220V outlets and fourteen 110V outlets. As well as my six overhead fluorescent lights, outdoor lights, under cabinet and toilet lighting. After installing all the electrical I added my plumbing in the walls. This was for a sink and toilet I planned to install later. I also added special bracing in the wall for my roll-out plywood storage rack.

I started down one side installing all the electrical, sealing the exterior wall and installing bat insulation then covering with 1/4” luan plywood to finish. I also had to build my back wall for my dust collector/compressor closet and toilet partition. (Some may think adding a toilet was unnecessary, but for those of us that are approaching senior adult status, we understand the importance of this addition.) Providing extra insulation around the dust collector/compressor closet provides for quiet operation while in my shop.

After completing the framing for the toilet partition and closet area, I installed an overhead storage area above them. This provides adequate space for storing my empty tool boxes and things that I may need in the future but do not use on a regular basis.

Providing adequate framing to the roof area that was originally laid out on 36” centers required a number of additional 2x4 bracing to accommodate the 4x8’ sheets of plywood. I left the ridge area open at this time planning for my compressed air piping to be installed later. I also had to provide extra bracing in the corners for the installation of the plywood as well as in the roof area where I planned for a retractable air hose reel.

Each time I would complete an area then I would prime and paint it before going on to the next area. That includes priming and painting the floor. For most of us, storage area around our houses are prime and thus was the case with me. It was a hassle having to move stuff every time I wanted to work on a new area, but it was just one of those necessary evils for the poor man’s workshop.

Needing to begin providing some storage as I continued, I went ahead and installed my material storage area which consisted of an overhead rack for small lengths of material as well as my roll-out sheet storage rack. The idea is to provide a rack that will hold up to six sheets of plywood, but eat up as little room as possible. Hinging the rack on one end and putting large casters under the rack so it pivots out to the door opening, let’s me load and unload the rack through the door way and yet push it against the wall when not in use.

Once the whole shop was wrapped with insulation and covered with 1/4” plywood, I finished painting all the walls, ceiling and floors. My brother showed up one weekend and we installed my compressor and piping to my overhead retractable hose reel. Then covered the piping with plywood and painted it as well. The reel is installed just above my double doors so as to utilize the 25’ hose inside as well as outside when needed.

My mother bought me the dust collector I had wanted for Christmas and I installed in the closet above the compressor. The closet is just the right height to accommodate the compressor and dust collector with little room to spare. Just enough room to roll out the compressor if I need to and just enough elbow room to clean the bags on the dust collector when needed.

I wanted to make sure that I had as many comforts as possible so installation of a sink cabinet and under cabinet refrigerator would provide all I needed to enjoy a little refreshment while working and also a place to clean out brushes and wash my hands. I also provided overhead cabinets for a place to keep some goodies. The under cabinet lighting was all that was needed to make this area a welcome place to fix a cup of coffee or a glass of ice tea.

I was finally able to move my table saw in place and using 2x4’s and plywood on sawhorses for out feed. This gave me the opportunity to continue the cabinets and work bench down the east wall taking my design from New Yankee Workshop’s Miter Saw bench and storage. Still in need of cabinet doors overhead and drawers under. Also will have under cabinet lighting when completed.

I decided to try and catch as much big dust and particles before they went through my dust collector. I built my own separator using a 20 gal. trash can and built a top with a 4” inlet and outlet. Having this as part of my cabinet, I have found that this saves me a lot of time not having to work the particle bag out of the dust collector closet.

The exterior had to be modified with the window being removed and adding a build out to house the miter saw. By doing this it let me keep my miter saw bench narrower giving me more floor space. I also added a 12,000 btu air conditioner, that is plenty with all the insulation that had been added. The other modification on the east exterior wall was the addition of the door for the dust collector/compressor closet. Because I hadn’t purchased the dust collector when building, I needed about an 1-1/2” extra room so I just built the doorway out and made the fit. The last exterior addition was to add a door to the back of the work shop just for ease of access and during spring and fall days I just open up the doors for a little flow through ventilation.

Limited time and limited finances has turned this into a two year process and I have a lot that I still need and want to do, but I am very excited at what I have so far. It is certainly compact and not much room for visitors, but I am finding that it is a great place to work. Finally I don’t have to clean the garage and pull out my saw and tables just to do a project.

Jim Newton

P.O. Box 995

Riverside, Texas 77367


  1. i am very envious of your shop!! looks great

  2. Hi there. Nice blog. You have shared useful information. Keep up the good work! This blog is really interesting and gives good details. clothing racks, slatwall display.