Shop Update: End of Phase 1

Written on 02/07/2017
Marc Spagnuolo

The garage is now officially a "shop" and I'm ready to make some sawdust!

I’m officially done with Phase 1 of the garage to shop conversion and I’m ready to start building. I wanted to bring you up to speed by showing the various changes I’ve made up to this point for those who’ve been following along with my progress. None of these things warranted a standalone video so I figured I’d lump them all into one recap. I’ll publish an official shop tour soon that will likely contain some redundant information with regard to this video.

Moving Stuff Around

One of the most challenging tasks was putting stuff away and maneuvering tools where they need to go. It reminded me of one of those cheap little slider puzzles I played with as a kid where you can’t move one tile without moving a tile next to it. Eventually I was able to get the tools into a relatively decent configuration that allowed me to begin laying out the electrical plan.

Clamp Racks

I installed all of the clamp racks from the previous shop in a corner configuration. It’s quite breathtaking. This includes the Parallel Clamp Rack, the Utilitarian Clamp Rack, and a couple of Rockler Clamp Racks. Getting the clamps off the floor made a huge difference in feeling like I could move around the space.

Electrical Outlet Installation

I have a total of five circuits in the shop: 2 for the heaters, 1 for the cyclone, and 3 multi-wire branch circuits for the power tools (one along each wall and one down the center of the ceiling). As stated in the video, I will only address questions about the electricity privately for those who need more information. Feel free to discuss, debate, or yell at each other in the comments but I won’t be participating.

Because some of my primary outlets were run in the ceiling, I had to employ extension cords in my setup. Most extension cords are made with 14 gauge wire and are really intended for a 15 amp circuit. So I made my own extension cords using 12 gauge wire and 20 amp plugs and receptacles. Running tools off extension cords isn’t ideal, but having properly-sized wiring can help keep things safe.

Ductwork Installation

Because I already covered Nordfab Ductwork Installation in detail in the last shop, I didn’t feel inclined to do it again. But I did want to show you my current configuration and how I adapted the system to this shop’s unique needs

Air Cleaner Installation

My air cleaner worked quite well in an 1800 sq ft space and I can only imagine how much more effective it will be in a 950 sq ft space. What can I say, I get excited about clean air. I installed the unit on the ceiling a few feet from the wall with the air blowing in the same direction as my heaters. I often use the air cleaner to help mix the air for even temperature distribution.

Lumber Rack

Not much new with the lumber rack. I used the same heavy duty Closet Maid stuff I had in the old shop. Only difference is I used the material from the previous owner’s garage cabinets as shelving material for each level of the rack. It’s nice to be able to repurpose that stock since I felt really bad about dismantling those cabinet. A sheetgoods rack and a rolling scrap storage cart are definitely in my future.

Garage Door Track Removal

Two of the three garage doors are now completely non-functional. I had the tracks and the openers removed which really opened up the space and gave me much more headroom. I have all of the materials in storage should I ever need to reinstall them. I didn’t mention it in the video but we had to use simple L-brackets to hold the top door panels in place. Those normally rest in the curved section of the rail and when that was removed, the door had no support. The L-brackets worked like a charm.

Paint Color

Paint color for a shop is just as much a personal decision as it is inside your home. So if you’re a big fan of chartreuse, go for it. But if you boil it down to practicality, it’s hard to beat white and off-white. Lighter-color walls help reflect ambient light back into the space creating a brighter environment. And while vivid colors can certainly help set a mood in a room, they can also reflect the light back in such a way that skews the perceived color in the space. So if you’re trying to judge wood colors and stains, you might find your judgement is slightly off. But again, unless you film in your space like I do, the wall color probably isn’t nearly as important and you should go with the color you actually want to see on the wall.


Remember the rubber floor tiles I installed in my old shop? Well, they made the trip to Colorado. And because the shop is smaller, I was able to essentially go wall to wall. The heavy tools are still sitting directly on concrete but all of the walking paths in the shop are covered, which is really nice on the feet.

Wall Art

Finally, I have much of my wall art back up. My walls may be off-white and boring but the stuff I hang on those walls doesn’t have to be! So my superhero posters and other decorations are proudly displayed on the wall. My shop is not just my place of business but also my creative space, my sanctuary, and the room in the house I probably spend the most time in. So it should reflect my personality and inspire me.

Thanks for following along on this new adventure. It’s been fun but it’s now time to make some sawdust!