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A Tour of Tom Harris' Shop
The Four-Car Shop
Retirement has its rewards.

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Having just 'found' your website and spending much of the morning looking at the various shops and projects found there, I just couldn't resist sending some pictures of my new shop.

We moved into our current house about a year ago, and one of the first things I did was to have a four-car garage built about 50 feet from the house. I divided it into two rooms; one (which I call the shed) is for my boat, lawnmower and gardening stuff and the other is what I call the shop. A friend and I wired it, sheetrocked it and insulated it. I did the painting that's been done so far.

I must be doing something right because almost every guy who sees it wants one like it. I've worked in single- and two-car garages all my life and have waited almost 40 years for a shop like this and, now that I'm retired, I'm trying to get everything in it that I've always wanted. I don't know of anything else I need or want in it at this time, but I'm sure something will turn up.

The shop is insulated in the walls and ceiling and is always 15 degrees cooler/warmer than the adjoining shed. The shop has wall outlets every 4 feet around three sides and they are located 4 feet above the floor. There are 8 circuit breakers for the shop and plenty of amperage. You'll also notice a ceiling fan above the workbench and a large floor fan (orange) on the west wall floor. There are two banks of 2-light fluorescent lights in the shop--north bank and south bank. Each bank has 3 lights. There is also a 2-light fixture over the workbench on a separate switch.

Tom Harris's Dream Shop

This picture shows the workbench, the tool box on the wall, the toolbox on the cabinet, the nuts and bolts shelf, and the cabinets along the north wall. Eventually the workbench and toolboxes will be painted to match the other cabinets. All the cabinets are actually combinations of 2-ft. cabinets. The one on the north wall is three 2-ft. cabinets (two with drawers and one with a door and shelves) to make 6 ft. total.

Tom Harris's Dream Shop

This picture is the west wall with its two windows. The two cabinets up against that wall are on Shop Fox wheel units so that they are portable. The cabinet on the right has the metal-working tools; i.e., metal vise, grinder, and anvil on the top. Underneath are the tools and accessories that go with those tools. The cabinet on the left is the 'wood' cabinet and has the belt/disc sander and router table on it. All the tools and accessories for it are stored underneath.

The cabinet in the foreground next to the table saw is the same height as the saw and is also on wheels. All the table saw accessories and tools are in this cabinet. In addition, I have a Rigid jig saw stored in it. There just wasn't room anywhere else and it fits there just fine.

Tom Harris's Dream Shop

This picture shows the Shopsmith that I inherited from my Dad. It has the jig saw mounted on it and it also has the 4" jointer with it. It also has wheels. Next to that is my band saw which is also on wheels. The file cabinet is one we had left over from the move and it, too, will be painted to match.

The cardboard box on top is the stereo which hasn't been mounted yet. The DeWalt planer is also mounted on a cabinet with wheels and all the tools and accessories for the planer are in the cabinet. It too will be painted in the same color scheme. The air compressor is due for replacement and will be placed in the shed next door for noise abatement. The white buckets are scrap buckets.

Tom Harris's Dream Shop

This picture is most of the south wall. There are four 2-ft. cabinets on the floor. One of them is 3-in. shorter to accommodate the CMS. Two of the cabinets are drawer units and two are door units with shelves. The upper cabinets are only 8-in. deep and are for storage of things that I don't use that much or things that need to be out of the way.

At the left in the picture you see the separator lid on the metal trash can. Behind that you can see just a little of the red bin on the Craftsman shop vacuum. It does a great job. In the 6 months that the shop has been in working order, I've emptied the 30-gal. trash can four times--each time into my mulch pen for the garden. Behind the vacuum setup is the overhead door--single-car size--and the two sawhorses.

Tom Harris's Dream Shop

This photo shows the sliding shelves I built under the workbench once I had all the stuff previously stored in there out and into their own cabinets. There are three sliding shelves on each side of the workbench and all the power handtools are found there. You also see the paint buckets back in the corner. I haven't finished painting the outside of the shop either. Got one coat on it to carry it over the winter and will do the other coat about April.

Tom Harris's Dream Shop

In the last photo you see the entry door and the clamp racks. I'm still building my supply of clamps. To date, the ones I have do just fine. You also see the 'fridge' on the wall. This has water, sodas, and beer for my neighbor who drops by once in a while to shoot the breeze. I also keep gardening seeds in the frig and it's up out of the way. The trash can is under it, so not much space is wasted. The door on the left side leads into the shed. The air rifle under the fridge was left there by the grandkids and definitely doesn't belong there.

As you can see, it's not quite done yet, but getting there. As the weather warms up, I'll be going back out to get it finished. I need one more cabinet for the Shopsmith tools and accessories and another cabinet in the shed side. Then, after the painting, it'll be "done." Yeah, right. In my dreams.

Tom Harris

Posted 25 February 2003

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Presented courtesy of Ellis Walentine, Wood Central Publishing