Most lovers of DIY know that a workshop is a huge necessity in their lives even if they try to downplay this fact. Workshops are great and go a long way in ensuring that your projects are always done on time and in the best way that they can be. A home workshop is a size-able investment that needs conscious decision making when deciding to build one and stock it.
One would argue that we all need a workshop at home because we often always have some hand tools laying around. However, some people have huge commercial workshops or can just borrow a friends workshop when they need it.
However, if you have actively made the choice to get your own space for your own projects, then we have just the guide for you as you look to get the best workshop out of your space and consequently the best out of your workshop.
Needless to say, you will need some space which will play host to your workshop. At home, space can be dictated by various factors. A small workshop will need a small space and vice versa. Most people like to use their garages as their workshops. There are also other few ways to create space at home for your workshop. They may include:
a) Garage space
As mentioned above, garages are the best fit to double up as your home workshop. This especially works well if you have space for more than one car but it is not being utilized. When building your house, you might have also factored in a workspace in your garage.
Workshops are used for an array of jobs including but not limited to motor works. It is very easy to work on your car in the garage. Right? These works may be as small as replacing a worn out belt or puncture or a huge project car job such as installing a wide body kit.
b) Idle room
Lets face it, if you have a huge house, you most likely do not use all of it. When faced with the prospect of a garage build, you might want to convert some unused space into your new work area and workshop. Talk about basements, a walk in closet, the loft or even an idle children’s room.
All these are some spaces that you can use. Some may seem tiny but they should work depending on how much space you need. Always remember that you are the one to dictate how large a workshop you need depending on the types of jobs and projects you will be undertaking.
c) Independent building
Those who subscribe to the saying “Go big or go home” will feel right at home with this option. This is great if you need a huge and independent space. It involves setting up a specific building to host your workshop. You will be responsible in choosing where this kind of building stands in your home compound.
Most people often use their backyards for an independent workshop but you can always decide what works best for you. If you have a large space to work with, the better it is for you. However, any space is good space as you can always make it work. It is also important that you set up your workshop in a safe spot as it is very likely that the tools you will build up over time in your repository will be worth a fortune.
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If you are lucky enough to find spare space in your house, you are all set. However, if you have to build your workshop from scratch, there is a small construction hurdle that you have to overcome before you can go ahead with your project.
Most workshops are constructed on a tight budget but that does not mean that caution should be thrown to the wind when it comes to doing a thorough job. It is especially important to check with your local regulations to ensure that you are in adherence.
Whatever you decide to build your workshop out of, the basics of a workshop remain the same. It should be a watertight building with nonslip floors as safety should be a key point in any building. Insulation is also a huge consideration.
Workshops should also be well ventilated. Some projects will result in dust which may be a suffocation hazard. Chemicals with potent smells are also used in workshops requiring adequate ventilation to promote air flow.
The next step after construction is fittings. Again, this comes down to what you want in the workshop. It is also dependent on your budget. As mentioned above install a nonslip floor that is easy to clean. A rubberized floor is one such example.
Workshops hate standing water, slippery floors and stubborn stains which can all be solved with a rubberized floor. Workshops also need power and a lot of it. It is advisable to have an independent circuit running direct from your domestic consumer unit.
Some tools are heavy on power usage and may overload any existing power connections you might already be running. With power secured in the workshop, it is time to install sockets and powerful lights inside the workshop. These lights do not have to be the heavy industrial lights as newer LED models can deliver bright beams and way less power consumption. Install the sockets in accessible areas.
Make sure that the lights are bright enough as dim environments create a safety hazard. You can only avoid an accident if you see its cause beforehand. Some people use their workshops for content creation and therefore need special lights for video and photo production as well as overhead rigs for top down shots of your workspace.
Tools are the beating heart of your workshop. Without tools, your workshop is just another room. You always have the liberty of choosing what tools you need again depending on the work you intend on doing in the workshop once it is completed. However, there are some tools that are almost mandatory in your workshop. They are the basics that get you started as you aim at building up your tool collection. Some of these tools include:
A hammer is one of the basic tools that we need in a workshop. You probably need a hammer even if you do not have a workshop. It makes driving in nails as well as removing them(claw hammer) such a simple task. You might as well throw in a jackhammer into the mix if you are into construction work. An electric jackhammer is best suited for small home workshops.
Pliers are very basic and useful tools that should always be in your workshop. Their uses are very many and this is a tool that you will always need to use.
This is also a must have as screws are part of the smallest jobs you can undertake in your workshop. Include a set of screwdrivers in your first batch of tools. It is again advisable to know the kind of jobs that you wish ti perform and that will guide your tool selection. Avoid highly specialized screwdrivers if it is your first time. Trust me when I say time for those kinds of tools will surely come.
A power drill falls among one of the most basic power tools you can include in your workshops. A power drill will have you driving in screws faster than you would manually. This is especially for you if you intend on working on short projects. A power drill will always save you precious time. Cordless drills are most favorite for a home workshop as you can carry the tool around without paying attention to a cable or proximity to a socket.
This is also a must have for those who like wood work. A hand saw is one such saw that can suit your woodworking needs. A circular saw is another type of saw that will have you slicing through those DIY wood projects. A powerful circular saw is suitable as some variants can seem under powered on the job. A hacksaw is another type of saw you can look at for ease in metalwork
6. Impact wrenches
An impact wrench is also a power tool that uses torque to loosen nuts and screw them on. Opt for a cordless impact wrench with lots of torque to handle all you can throw at it. This is a huge requirement for the huge gear head that is always working on vehicles. It is also a great wood working tool for those projects that require some nuts to put together.
7. Tape measure
A tape measure will simply sort all your measuring needs. You will almost always need a tape measure when working in your workshop. Get a tape measure that works for you. Buying a tape measure is not a complicated affair and should never be made to be one.
8. Organization bits and safety gear
Organization is one of the greatest cores of a simple and effective workplace and so investment in organizational bits is a justified venture. A simple pegboard can help you hang your tools for ease of location as well as longevity.
A well maintained tool always works for longer. Cable management should also be a priority to avoid electrical and fire hazards. Simple bits such as zip-ties can also help you in this kind of organization. Tool storage is also a big part of organization.
After securing your tools, it is now time to think about your work space and as mentioned above; your tool storage solutions. Most people who build their workshops will often build their own workbenches. A workbench should be placed centrally with access to power and light. It should also have space that allows one to work all around it.
Some people may also place their workbenches against a wall such as it is accessible from three of its edges. Alternatively, you can buy a workbench from a store which will require easy assembly. This is the best option for small workshops as these workbenches will most likely double up as a storage chest for your tools.
As far as storage is concerned, you can have shelves built around your workshop wall. Shelves provide easy access to the tools. Furthermore, you can see the tool you need right away saving you time that would be otherwise wasted opening the wrong drawers and chests.
A tool chest is also a great organization and storage choice. The best thing about these tool chests from manufacturers is that you will almost always find the right size as there are loads to choose from. You can also use storage boxes and portable tool boxes that you can carry around your house as you go about your renovation projects. As workshops carry around a DIY theme, possibilities are endless as to what creations you can come up to help you stay organized.
With your workshop fully kitted and operational, it is now time to embark on those projects that pushed you to build a workshop in the first place. Always lock up after yourself as unsupervised children may find their way into the workshop and cause accidents.
Invest in motion sensors if need be to get an alert any time someone makes their way into your workshop space. You can also invest in CCTV cameras for that extra layer of security. You can never have too much security.
CCTV footage is always a key tool for follow-up processes should an accident happen. Keep the workshop as clean as possible by eliminating any wood and metal shavings that may accrue over several projects that you may undertake.
Lastly, when building a workshop, have an experienced person guide you through the process. Outsource as much as possible while taking care to have your needs catered for in the process. Always remember that your workshop will be your little DIYer haven.