Project: Toolroom

So here I am in a new place, with new space, but no place to work! No workbench, no tool storage, no shelves…. I was sad. So I started plotting, and made note of the 8′ x 7′ room off the garage here….

It was cluttered, a little messy, but it had potential, and, the best part, no one was concerned about me turning it into my lair… mwaahahahahaa… oh, wait, uh, I mean, a tool room. Yeah, definitely a tool room. Also, storage.

I mulled it over for a week or so, and came up with a couple of key concerns:
1) Whatever I build needs to leave the water heater accessible so it can be repaired or replaced without tearing out what I built.
2) Nothing can be built in front of the electrical panel. NFPA code says the 36″ in front of the panel must be clear at all times.
3) I need to be able to store small, medium, and large things without having to fight with them.
4) I don’t have a lot of space to start with, so i’ll need to keep things small.
With those things in mind, the plan came together very simply; shelves go on the right, and a workbench on the left.

Once i’d salvaged the materials and got everything to one place, I started by moving some crap out of the way, and building the workbench. I decided to maximize the space I DO have, and I built the workbench right out to the door trim, as big as I could go. The scrap piece of sub flooring fit perfectly there once I ripped a few inches off.


For both the shelves and workbench, I simply mounted blocking to the wall, attaching it to the studs through the sheetrock, and then setting the boards on the blocking. Once the boards were in place, I cut legs to fit each height and installed them from the bottom up.


The top shelf is maximum depth since it’s above everyone’s head, but the rest of the shelves are a little shallower to balance the depth with the space in the room. I can walk, turn, and have a second person in there comfortably without feeling claustrophobic, and the bottom shelf being even shallower allows me to have space to move taller things like buckets or tools out of my way when I need to, giving me some flexibility.

The purpose of this room is primarily for storage, but having a workbench in the space is nice to be able to make small repairs, and have a place to leave projects while they dry. Adding an oil-filled heater to the room allows me to keep it warm-ish in the winter, which means I don’t mind working in there when it’s cold outside, and my power tool batteries will appreciate the warmth, too.

All told this project took me 6 hours; 1 hour to measure and plan, 1 hour to gather the materials, and four hours to do the actual work. I provided the screws out of my stash, and I already had all the tools I needed, so my total cost out of pocket was $0.

I’m looking forward to cleaning it up, getting it organized more, and adding pegboard to the wall above the workbench. I think i’ll add some shelves above the battery shelf as well.

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