$750.00 Garage Workshop




Introduction: $750.00 Garage Workshop

The problem- I had  so many tools stuck in boxes and bags for so many years that I ended up  buying duplicates because I  forgot what I had. I needed a shop that would allow me to  keep my tools organized and readily available.  I have a limited income, so going out and buying finished cabinets and storage units was out of the question. I am a McGyver by inheritance.  My mother and father were both raised in the war years where  things were in limited supply. They taught me how to create with my mind and then create  by using what I could find.

I  have just basic wood shop skills that I got in high school.  But I wanted to have a nice workshop when  I was able to set one up.Since high school my interests have run a wide spectrum. I have built guitars, amplifiers, stereo cabinets, Several kit cars, and I even built my own house. So I figured I could build my own  shop. I first  organized  the shop plans for what I would be using it for.
1. Auto repair and customizing
2. Wood working
3. Electronics fabrication and repair.
4. Welding
5. storage of yard tools

Now that I have my garage all set up I figured I would share how to make the garage of your dreams on the cheap.

What tools you will need ( but not limited to)
1. Skill saw
2. Jig saw
3. tape measure
4.  Shop yardstick
brill and various bits
5. 2 foot level
6. Speed square
7. 2 foot square
8 Table saw

Safety glasses, ear protectors and a clean workspace to lay out the  items to work

Here are some finished photos of my garage before it was finished

Step 1: Layout

Figure out what you will use the shop for and designate areas of storage and counter space to allow you to do that task.
Figure out how much space you can take away for the storage of family vehicles and still be able to walk around the vehicle(s).

Step 2:

Fabricate base cabinets, wall cabinets, tool storage,  and work cabinets

I used 4 types of cabinets in my garage

The first was  Base Cabinets. These cabinets had to be easy to make, level, provide dust free storage, and be multi functional.
 These were simple boxes made out of particle board to be  supported by  treated 2x4 bases, not unlike kitchen cabinets.

 The second was wall cabinets. These cabinets too had to be easy to make, level, and be adaptable for many functions as well as  be able to support what I planned on putting in them.

The third cabinet style was roll around. These had to be able to  roll under the work top and provide a work top and caddy for whatever  function I was using them for- welding, engine dis assembly, project work table, or tool caddy. Smaller rollers (2inch) were  not easily pushed across  the workshop floor and would hang up on extension cords, so I decided to use 3 inch rollers.

The last type of cabinet was for tool storage, parts storage, and chemical storage.

Step 3: Base Cabinets

These cabinets sit on top of treated 2x4  frames and are bolted together as a unit. the basic box was either 16 wx22dx27h inches tall or 24wx22dx27h. A single sheet of 3/4 x 4x8 particle board will provide 6 sides and 2 bottoms. I cut the cabinets out and put them together as a stand alone unit. I used 2 inch drywall screws and wood glue  to hold the cabinets together pre drilling a chase hole of 3/16 and a pilot hole 1/8 inch.  A  pice of 1x4 was used at the back top to hold the top apart as well as a 2x4 laid sideways at the top front. I leveled the base 2x4 structure and then set the base cabinets on top of this. the base structure was  made to fit the span of cabinets  and 20 inches wide to allow for a toe kick. The cabinets were screwed together and then fastened down to the base as well as thru the back plate to the wall. The back of the cabinets were covered by 1/8 inch perforated board as a means of keeping mice out and letting the cabinet breathe.

Step 4:

Wall cabinets were made similar to the base cabinets except I made a channel 3/4 inch in from the back edge to allow 1/8 perfboard to slide in as a backer.  The cabinets were made 48wx11 3/4dx 24 tall. I used a 1x4 laid flat against the rear edge and to the top side to provide support strength. In some of the wall cabinets I made  special tool holders for  spade bits, air fittings, and shelves as needed. One sheet of particle board provided enough material for several of these cabinets. Again, drill a 3/16 chase hole and pre drill 1/8 inch pilot hole for the screws. Particle board does not like to be fastened by forcing a drywall screw thru it.

These were hung by finding out how high I wanted them and measuring 3 1/2 inches down and using a chalk libe I  set the position. I screwed 1x 4x 36 inch cleats to the wall and used the 1x3 at the back of the top of the cabinet to be  my helper when I went to hang them on the wall.  After the cabinets were hung I  made a face frame out of 1x2 wood. I  bought cheap door hinges and  cut  doors for the front out of  bc 3/4 inch plywood. MDF board would work just as well and make a finished front.

Step 5: Counter Top

The counter tops were made by  using 3/4 particle board cut at 24 inches wide. Underneath I  used scrap wood from cutting the base cabinets to  ring the  perimeter with glue and screws to hold them together. The top of the work bench need to be very sturdy so I used a 2x4 frame 22x 8 ft or cut to size to hold the  counter top. This was screwed to the wall and screwed to the  cabinet thru the flat 2x4 facer.  I had a local sheet metal shop cut and bend a sheet metal top for the work bench putting a 1 1/2 channel at the front to cover the particle board top. This gives me a worktop not subject to damage and is easily cleaned. I ran copper lines thru the 2x4  platform for the top and put air chucks every 4 ft  on the face of the cabinets to allow for  easy use.

Step 6: Tool Cabinets

One of my pet peeves has always been trying to keep my power tools clean from sawdust and debris. I constructed a  6 foot wide by 22 inches deep cabinet that had shelves made to fit my  drill press, my band saw,  my chop saw, and  my various other power tools. A drawer  section was made in the middle to store power tool attachments for my routers and  other things related to power tools- wrenches,  guides, jigs etc.

 the size of this cabinet was dictated by some bifold doors that I picked up at a garage sale for 5.00 a set. This cabinet also sits on a 2x4 treated  lumber base cut slightly  smaller that the base of the cabinet. I made a face frame for the front of the cabinet and faced the  front edges of the shelves with  1x2  lumber..

I made 2 more of these types of cabinets both were 4 foot by 11 3/4 deep. The height was determined by  garage sale bifold doors I got for 5.00 a set . I put a 1/2 osb backer on these cabinets to attach to the wall and to help suppourt the shelves. One of the cabinets was for my auto supplies-jack stands, cleaners, rags, anti freeze, battery charger,  oil, and  spark plugs wipers etc. Shelves were measured and set to allow the most storage  for the  items needed. The other cabinet was set up to store yard tools- rakes, hatchet, shovel,  hoe,  machete, axe etc

Step 7: Rollarounds

I made 5 roll arounds made like the base cabinets only I inset 3 inches on the backs and  set up an extension cord storage and 4 gang outlet box. I also  put  26 gauge metal tops on these and drawers on both sides to store  nuts , bolts, screws, or in the case of the welder table I  used the drawers for rods, cloves, magnets, cleaner, tips and extra tools that i would use. Plus store the small oxygen and acetylene bottles and extra hoses.

I also made a roll around for my table saw with drawers and a small cabinet to store all the  jigs and accessories that are used with a table saw. On the back of this roll around i mounted an extension cord rack wit h a 4x4 4 gang plug. This allows me to roll the table saw anywhere in the shop or even out onto the driveway to use the saw.

My auto shop roll around was made similar but I  put the extension cord on one of the sides  so I could use  more of the  cabinet for  tool trays and parts storage. The bottom shelf was set up to  store my jack stands, floor jacks, and jack handles.

Rollers, drawer parts,  handles, and  doors were found at garage sales and purchased over a  few years. But if you have the money  buy em at  Home Depot.

I will submit some more drawings and pictures as I find time. As always , a garage is a work  in progress and is subject to each persons idea of what they want and need. I had very little funds and needed  to finally get organized.

 Some things that were left out-
I made a base cabinet to  store my mini fridge
I made a tall cabinet  to store my woodworking  tools
I also made a lumber  cart roll around

I am still not done, but I have spent under 750 to have a well organized workshop that my buddies complain about.  Something about raising the bar? And the the comment-"don't let my wife see this..."

Some of the guys reading this will say that particle board is not strong enough to store things. To them i will just say- most kitchen cabinets are made of  particle board covered with a vinyl facing, in these cabinets  your wife stores a lot of heavy dishes and pots and pans. suspended from  the wall and ceiling. How long have they survived kids crawling in them? I am going on 10 years with some of my cabinets and they have held up way better than I would have thought..

I have been collecting coffee cans from work and from friends to get my small parts under control
The red and black Folgers cans work out the best.  If you see something I missed or have a question, please  tell me. I am open to new ideas.

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    "They taught me how to create with my mind and then create by using what I could find."

    The BEST way of learning, IMHO.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I am currently building a 1966 ford gt replica with a 3.8 liter gm engine mounted mid ships


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Just out of curiosity, why wouldn't you run a Ford motor?


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    do you buy the "body" of the gt40? because i always want to build a replica, maybe a gt40 or a mustang.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I found several on ebay at the right price and bought them quickly


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Not all particleboard is the same. Buying better quality board will lead to shelves that can support more weight without sagging. Some kitchen cabinets made of Home Hell type cheapy OSB looks antique in less than a year. That money is just WASTED. But better quality board will stand up to use if the temperature and moisture aren't too extreme.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Ahh, A GT40. Man after me own 'eart! Good luck. Best car I've seen except MAYBE the Factory Five GTM. A classic either way.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    at one time I had 4 in my yard, had to thin down the herd to 2


    9 years ago

    Store bought cabinets got nothin on you! Your shop turned out great, now if only mine looked as nice. It gave me some ideas though. Thanks


    9 years ago on Introduction

    For more ideas check out my tool storage--



    10 years ago on Introduction

    Great use of space and cabinetry! My wife and I are looking at homes with garages and this is pretty much what I had imagined.

    Nice wheels too, but I think it'll be harder to convince the lady that we need a project ride compared to cabinets.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Looks fantastic!

    Also, I'm curious. What is that vehicle you're building? That looks pretty awesome as well!

    Lectric Wizard

    Nice setup. What would we do without coffee drinkers, couldn't store anything .... Cheers!