Work Bench for a 1 Car Garage - Suggestions, Ideas, Critiques

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fancyTBI

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I have an extremely narrow 1 car garage. I can fit my ECLB C2500 in but it is nosed up against my tool box at the front of the garage almost. I am tired of working off my box and need to maximize storage. I have 18'x2'x6'10" to work with. This will allow my tool box to fit under the bench, have a larger workspace, and still have storage for power tools, blow formed cases, detailing supplies, automotive fluids, specialty tools, etc. all while still being able to get in and out of my truck.

I attempted to make a design in Sketch-Up Free and this is what I came up with. I have near-zero carpentry experience. Does anyone have any suggestions or input? I want this thing to be sturdy as hell. Planning on tying into existing studs so it is secure against the wall. It is mainly built out of 2x4s, 4x4s, a couple of 1x2s, 1/2" - 3/4" plywood sheets and that is about it. Did I overbuild? Did I design this poorly? Please show off your small garage storage if you want to! Below are photos of the model for reference. The person is 6'.

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454cid

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I'm not a big fan of all in one built in type structures. I don't really like wood shelves for the garage either. Those 2x4s will take up room that could be used for your stuff. I've got wire restaurant shevling, and filing cabinets.... one regular and one lateral. I have not gotten a work bench yet. My garage is still messy, but that's because I'm packing 10-15lbs into a 5lb bag.
 

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I built something similar in my garage, ya it's a fricking disaster I know, woman decided that she wanted to use it as storage for house crap. It's been a battle, but I have her convinced that I will move one section downstairs and build a storage room.
So I built another one for my stuff on the other side.
If you look at the top picture, you can see how I essentially turned the 2x4 into a 4x4 for supporting the shelves. Strong as can be. And if you want to adjust shelf size, it's a few screws then cut new spacer/filler blocks.
The blue cabinet is what I built for the shop I was working at. It's all 3/4" plywood. The shelves rest on plywood cleats screwed to the sides and back. And same size plywood strip glued and pin nailed to the front. Allows for adjusting the spacing again. The front strip keeps the shelf from "smiling " if it's overloaded. It's quite a strong way to build.
 

fancyTBI

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I'm not a big fan of all in one built in type structures. I don't really like wood shelves for the garage either. Those 2x4s will take up room that could be used for your stuff. I've got wire restaurant shevling, and filing cabinets.... one regular and one lateral. I have not gotten a work bench yet. My garage is still messy, but that's because I'm packing 10-15lbs into a 5lb bag.
I was thinking of making each section its own thing, then screwing them together. Then it could be somewhat modular. I have wire shelves and plastic shelves now. They aren't my favorite and don't hold everything I have - which might be the bigger issue like you, too much stuff.
Why not do a wall mounted folding workbench?
I looked into that and even had that drawn out at one point. It just isn't exactly what I was wanting and didn't really solve the storage issue. One version of the design above had a folding bench on the right side. It was on the very end and folded down into a 5'x2' bench. The total length of the unit was a lot shorter though. I should get some pics of what I have to work with.
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I built something similar in my garage, ya it's a fricking disaster I know, woman decided that she wanted to use it as storage for house crap. It's been a battle, but I have her convinced that I will move one section downstairs and build a storage room.
So I built another one for my stuff on the other side.
If you look at the top picture, you can see how I essentially turned the 2x4 into a 4x4 for supporting the shelves. Strong as can be. And if you want to adjust shelf size, it's a few screws then cut new spacer/filler blocks.
The blue cabinet is what I built for the shop I was working at. It's all 3/4" plywood. The shelves rest on plywood cleats screwed to the sides and back. And same size plywood strip glued and pin nailed to the front. Allows for adjusting the spacing again. The front strip keeps the shelf from "smiling " if it's overloaded. It's quite a strong way to build.
Both look really good. Yeah my storage looks that way at times. Usually my workbench looks the same. the two 2x4s put together is a thought I had as well. I want this thing to be sturdy AF. I will be taking it with me when I move, too. Thanks for sharing your photos!
 

Komet

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This is my primary shop facility, it's a single service bay operation:
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Here's a close up of my machine pit and dedicated welding area / engine clean room / service bay / paint booth with wall mount storage I got off amazon:
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Over here I have a pretty hot setup. The centerpiece is the variable position composite workbench with oil-absorbing replaceable top:
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I think your shelves look pretty good, my wall storage is pretty similar. I'd delete that vertical stringer board between the two workbenches to allow long things to be placed on the bench easier.
 

454cid

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One thing I don't like about cabinets is that they're dark inside. I used to have a sheet metal cabinet with shelves, and I always felt like I was digging for items in a hole. That was a big reason for switching to drawers. Each drawer pulls out, and is open to the overhead light.
 

Carlaisle

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For someone with zero carpentry experience that design represents a fair bit of carpentry. All of that 2x4 framing takes up a lot of space that could be occupied by the stuff you're trying to store. If you're set on 2x4 construction, you can easily reclaim 9" of linear space in the design you posted above just by rotating the 2x4 vertical supports 90 degrees on the Z axis.

If ease of configuration/flexibility is a high priority - and it seems like it should be in such a tight space - it's difficult to beat the wire closet shelf type hardware. The trick is to only use the hanging rails and shelf brackets but with solid shelves. That way stuff doesn't constantly disappear into one of the many unidentified lower levels. It's strong enough for chin ups if installed properly. Run the verticals as high as you can on every stud and then you can adjust as needed. Make sure to get them perfectly aligned with one another and you'll thank yourself for years to come.

The best work surface is always a function of the intended work. Formica or your preferred countertop laminate seems to be the best multipurpose choice. It's impervious to basically all chemicals, adhesives don't stick to it, oil/grease are powerless against it...in fact, extreme heat/fire is basically its only weakness.

Unless you're going to be using a sledge hammer on it 4x4s are a misallocation of space and money in your design. If you do plan on beating on things, a solid top - not plywood over any kind of space frame - is a superior design choice. The additional mass dampens the rebound.

A smaller open work surface is rarely preferred over a larger one. In your design above, I would remove the upper portion of the 2x4 vertical support so I would have a 108.75" wide work surface, but you know your needs best.

P.S. is that dude holding a ukulele?
 
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HotWheelsBurban

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For someone with zero carpentry experience that design represents a fair bit of carpentry. All of that 2x4 framing takes up a lot of space that could be occupied by the stuff you're trying to store. If you're set on 2x4 construction, you can easily reclaim 9" of linear space in the design you posted above just by rotating the 2x4 vertical supports 90 degrees on the Z axis.

If ease of configuration/flexibility is a high priority - and it seems like it should be in such a tight space - it's difficult to beat the wire closet shelf type hardware. The trick is to only use the hanging rails and shelf brackets but with solid shelves. That way stuff doesn't constantly disappear into one of the many unidentified lower levels. It's strong enough for chin ups if installed properly. Run the verticals as high as you can on every stud and then you can adjust as needed. Make sure to get them perfectly aligned with one another and you'll thank yourself for years to come.

The best work surface is always a function of the intended work. Formica or your preferred countertop laminate seems to be the best multipurpose choice. It's impervious to basically all chemicals, adhesives don't stick to it, oil/grease are powerless against it...in fact, extreme heat/fire is basically its only weakness.

Unless you're going to be using a sledge hammer on it 4x4s are a misallocation of space and money in your design. If you do plan on beating on things, a solid top - not plywood over any kind of space frame - is a superior design choice. The additional mass dampens the rebound.

A smaller open work surface is rarely preferred over a smaller one. In your design above, I would remove the upper portion of the 2x4 vertical support so I would have a 108.75" wide work surface, but you know your needs best.

P.S. is that dude holding a ukulele?
That or a mini banjo.....
 
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