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From “garage” concept to multi-materials workshop: ideas, layouts? Answered

The common concept of a “garage” (the ’man cave’ stereotype) is a place to work on cars and/or motorcycles. How could this be adapted to be a place, under a single roof, to work on small engines, and projects chiefly involving wood as the material, and ones made from steel and/or other metals?

Situation: I’ve now got two separate and pretty compact spaces on my rural acreage for working with wood and for working with metal (including work with small-engine equipment). These spaces are located at inconvenient distance.  I’m wanting to conceptualize how I might combine functions under one roof.

Needn’t be said: no one wants to get sawdust into the area where torch flames or electric-welding sparks could cause a hazard. And you wouldn’t want to get engine lubricants or solvents mixed up with wood projects, or near flames.  There are people who have done this combo successfully, but few available layout diagrams or photos on the internet - I’ve searched, a lot!  I need input, hopefully including some illustrations of examples.  I’ll only be able to afford a modest investment, possibly 16x24 ft building or a bit larger, with a bay door. (Part of what a bay door would facilitate would be taking welding processes just out of the shop, to work on outdoors during fair weather.)

I know that just a few decades ago small-farm shops were often multi-purpose, and used for "bench carpentry", also for maintaining or servicing the truck or tractor, welding bailer components back together, etc. They often had a tablesaw and a bandsaw - besides the hoist, welders, cabinets of wrenches… certainly both a woodworking vice and a “bench vise” for metal.

Can you help?  Thanks.

(For you who think my question sounds familiar, sorry: I'm just trying again with a new subject line and rephrasing some of my explanation.)


I'm still interested in this topic, so I thought I'd post on it again.

I'm looking for ideas expressed in visuals. Do you have a "combination shop" - e.g., wood & vehicles; wood, metal, electronics; wood, metal, vehicles; metal, vehicles, electronics??

Got pics? Floor plan/diagram?

Here's a floor-layout diagram sent to me by a guy calling himself Sammy D., which represents the shop that he's built and set up for himself. He said the interior space is roughly 25x27 feet. It's a multi-function shop. You can see the indication of the bay door at the bottom right. This is the sort of thing I've been interested in, even if I'd be constrained to build something that's somewhat smaller. Thanks, Sammy.


1 year ago

In my area, North East Montana, the most common farm building is the metal pole barn or a metal Quonset, The building with the curved roof. A simple frame with steel panels is the least expensive and the most durable. To make it multi purpose they simply build a dividing wall.

Here are a few pictures


Once the frame is established you can do whatever you want on the inside. A friend of mine owns one where a shop was built in one end. has a garage door and entrance door and the ceiling provides a loft space above it. You don't need to put a roof on it because the steel roof provides that. It is insulated so it can be heated.

A lot of what you want to prevent - migration of dust - is handled by good dust extraction on your woodmachines.

So Steve, have you combined the sorts of functions I was outlining in your own workspace? If so, tell me how... and how about a few pics?

Not anymore. I am currently not well set up at all. Someday, I'll get back to where I was.

I suppose for their projects a lot of people here have either A) a simple adapted situation (kitchen table, home desk, etc), or B) a compact situation (electronics workbench and related tools, etc). But there must also be Instructables members making things and fixing things like I was talking about: compact-scale carpentry, metal fabrication, small-engine repair and machines.

Tell me about, and show me, your shops.