Building a Complete DIY Workshop

Written by: roboguru

Picture of Building a Complete DIY Workshop

Build your own workshop from the ground up!

Most of my photos have detailed notes, so check them out.
This is the Instructable for my Workshop Video Tour 2013.

This Shop was constructed for under $2000
Materials for construction(roughly):

100 2x4x8'
4     2x4x12'  
8     2x6x10'
2     2x6x12'
35  4x8 sheets of OSB
20  1x4  trim
10  1x6  trim
1    roll of roof felt
     shingles
3 sheets of plexiglass (windows)
Clear plastic roll   (vapor barrier)

Deck  ~$65
4 old pallets and blocks for base
20 contractors grade deck boards

*Before you start do a quick check of your local building codes and have your utilities mark all of their lines.
*Before wiring for electricity, check your local codes.  You may need to have your shed inspected and wired by a licensed electrician.

Step 1: Building the base and putting up the walls.

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I spent a full week grading, compacting the soil and leveling each block before laying the floor joist.  The last thing you want is to finish your new workshop and have a corner start sinking into the ground.  My floor inside my shop is perfectly level still with a 6 foot level.  You can see that I had a drop of about 12 inches on the low side.  During heavy rainstorms, water can flow like a stream next to the fence.  I wanted to make sure my workshop was high enough off the ground to avoid any flooding issues.

I framed and sheathed each wall individually and then stood them up with the help of long 2x4 braces.  My neighbor let me borrow his framing nailer, which made things go much faster.  I added a second cap of 2x4 on the top to make the walls a little more rigid.  I then laminated 4 2x4's to construct a ridgeboard.  I nailed in some temporary 2x4 supports and had a friend help lift it into final position.  Once all of the rafters are cut and nailed into place, the supports were removed.

Step 2: Rafters and Roofwork

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You can see in this step how I notched each rafter to fit more securely to the walls.  I also used a metal hurricane strap to secure each rafter to the wall.  Even though this was not required by code, I felt my tools were far to valuable to be left to chance over such an inexpensive solution.  The walls are a simple board and batten system.  The 1x3 trim covers the joints of the 4x8 OSB.  They make much more high quality sheets goods to use as siding.  However, the cheapest I found was $35 a sheet and the OSB was about $5 a sheet.  I sealed the OSB and painted it with exterior paint.  If I run into problems in the future, I can just add a second layer of more durable material or simply have siding installed.  It has held up very well over the past couple years and I see no need to spend more money on it now.

Step 3: Doors, wood storage and my workbench.

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Once I had the walls completely filled in and trimmed out, I built my doors.  I clamped them in place each day until after I painted.  Then I installed the hinges and hardware.  I decided to change my original plan of building a hinged 4 foot door.  I was worried that the weight of it would cause it to sag over time.  I had also decided at this point to install a small unused AC in the back wall.  I thought that by keeping one of the doors closed, I could keep more cold air in during the hot summers.

This is where I started thinking about how I was going to store all of my lumber.  I had planned on building a wall rack, similar to what I had used in my single car garage.  But I hated using up an entire wall for lumber storage.  I also knew from experience that I would easily lay stuff against it and soon be digging lumber and junk out of my way.  I decided to use the space under my workbench to store the long boards and I realized that by pulling my bench out from the wall I could slide sheet goods behind it.  This created a problem:  How do I get it out.  The Shop isn't long enough to pull out 8 foot boards from inside and I would probably have to move things around to get to it anyway.  So my plan for this came at kind of a sudden epiphany moment, when I decided to cut access doors in the front and build my storage into my workbench area.  This has been the single best idea that has come out of my shop.  I can't express enough how easy it is for me to get straight to a board i need with no hassles.  I just remove the doors and pull out what I need.  I can store a surprising amount of lumber in this area.  I do have a secondary area for some cutoff sheet goods and a scrap bin next to my table saw in the garage.  But this area stores most of my lumber.

Step 4: Trimmed out, primed and painted.

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These pictures show the final look with everything primed and painted.  After I finished this step I moved on to building the attached structures on the back.

Step 5:

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I framed in a 4x8 Garden Shed on the back.  I didn't want it so deep that stuff would get buried in it.  I need to take an updated picture of the back.  These pics were from early on and I have changed some things in the organization.  I used similar framing techniques and built a lean to roof attached with metal hangers.  I chose to use clear corrugated roofing to allow natural light into this shed.  You can see the 2 shopvacs that were originally part of my simple vacuum system.  I have removed them and found that I get better airflow using an electric leaf blower with the vacuum attachment hooked up to my system.  There is a large metal trashcan with a dust collection separator to collect the larger pieces of saw dust and chips.  My air compressor is on a shelf on the right now and I ran a hose through the wall and to a 25 foot reel attached to the ceiling.  I wired separate switched for both on the inside of my shop.  These systems work extremely well for a small shop.  The wall provides some insulation from the overwhelming noise they would otherwise create inside the shop.

I later added two small 2x4 closets on the left and right sides of the Garden Shed.  I use one to store camping and fishing gear, the other I will soon re purpose to use for my kids' sports gear.  I preferred the idea of multiple smaller sheds/ closets because I didn't want to bury everything in one big shed.

Step 6: Video Tour: Construction and Design

Step 7: Video Tour 2013 (Inside the shop)

Step 8: Final Notes

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This project may look a little overwhelming and I do consider myself pretty handy.  However, I think just about anyone could complete this project.  This was my first real experience building a solid floor, framing walls and sheathing/ shingling a roof.  I spent a lot of time researching and educating myself on proper construction techniques.  I have not come across any glaring mistakes along the way, but I welcome comments about the construction from more experienced builders.

I spent so much time building organizers and filling in just about every square inch on the inside of my shop that I feel it will be better to show some of those in separate Instructables.  I made a couple of video tours to try to highlight some of the different aspects of my workshop.  I hope you enjoy them and I will work on making my future videos more stable.

What I like best about my shop:
   *My wood storage built into my workbench
   *All the painstaking time I spent organizing everything has really paid off.  Small shops need to be HIGHLY organized with this many tools.
   *My tools are stored safely and securely from my 6 adventurous kids.
   *All of my power tools along the miter station wall are wired separately to a safety switch which makes my shop much more kid-friendly.

Some things I would like to have done differently:
   *It gets very hot in the shop during the summer and that little AC can only do so much.  If I had more money in my budget I would have insulated the walls and ceiling to make it more comfortable during the hot summer days.
   *Of course I wish it was larger, but I think just about every single workshop owner would tell you the same.

I hope you enjoy this Instructable.  Your comments and questions are welcome.  Please lt me know if you think I left out details that would be important in the construction part of this Workshop.  I hope you look forward to the upcoming Instuctables on the organization of my Workshop.
 

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