Our Workshop


Basement Layout

The area I designated for "MakerSpace" activities was definitely....... cramped! The house was built in 1952 and the actual basement was ony 1/2 of the width of the foundation.... a "half" basement. Could I stuff a full "MakerSpace" project room into my basement workshop? Hmmmm.  It would require some definite planning and creative use of wall space, since floor space was at a premium. (Yes, the pictures below show a VERY cluttered workspace!)  That's because it houses a beehive of activity. There is ALWAYS something going on there -- a building project, a MakerSpace project, a house project. Often projects overlap and jostle each other for space, which, as you can see, is in short supply!

-- The back wall of the basement houses a traditional high work bench with lots of hand tools on the wall above the bench. -- To the left on the outside wall of the basement are workshop storage shelves and paint shelves.
-- On the inside wall are power tools -- band saw, scroll saw, chop saw, and belt sander.
-- There is space in the middle of the room for a medium-sized project table. 


Workshop Tools

I'm not into furniture building, but I do like to collect tools for projects. I've built tree houses, decks, rolling kayak storage, multiple garage shelving units, bulletin boards, triple bunk beds, picture frames, and many other useful items. My dad began the collection of tools and I have continued the tradition. Each time I tackle a new project I think first about the tools I have and the ones I might need to finish the job. So, over the years, I have accummulated quite a few small power tools and LOTS of hand tools. 



Favorite Tool!          


- band saw
- scroll saw
- chop saw
- belt sander
- drill press
- bench grinder
- cylinder sander


Hand Power

- 3" belt sander
- 3 battery powered drills
- 2 scroll saws
- 2 orbital hand sanders
- 2 skill saws
- 2 hand grinders
- nail gun (battery powered)
- router
- cardboard shears/cutters


Regular Hand

- hammers
- screw drivers
- various saws
- pliers
- wire cutters
- tape measures
- carpenter's squares
- clamps
- wood chisels
- paint brushes


Lighting Challenges

In 1952, when the house was built, original basement lighting included a single 100 watt bulb in the stairwell, another on the ceiling in the center of the basement area, and a third over the back wall workbench. Not much light! I've upgraded twice now. The current setup includes 4 foot long 4 bulb fluorescent light fixtures grouped in 3 areas:

#1 -- over the drill press area of the basement
          by the stairs (2 units)

#2 -- over the middle part of the basement 
          where the work table is located (4 units)

#3 -- over the back wall work bench. (2 units)

The eight light fixtures provide excellent illumination for all areas of the MakerSpace. I briefly considered moving to LED lights, but discarded the idea after looking at prices. These ceiling mount units each hold 4 four foot T8 bulbs.

Moveable Curtains

As I worked on projects and tried to take pictures of the kids, I kept noticing all the tools and shelves and paint cans in the background. I wanted the picture to showcase the cool projects the kids were creating -- not all the "clutter" in the background.

What to do?

Finally I decided to install "curtains" that would cover up all the mess in the background. I ordered simple muslim sheets from Amazon and stitched a cord into a top hem. Then I had the curtains, but how to hang them so that when the kids were not there I could roll back the "curtains" and have the workshop open to my own projects.

The tracks were installed first. The rolling clips hold on to the sewed in cord at the top of the sheets. I wanted to be able to close off all the "clutter" on the workbench in order for pictures to focus on the kids and their projects and not the mess behind them. The curved section of room divider tracking was the most expensive -- but needed for turning a corner.
I found that white sheets are not the best for photography! So, I added the blue curtain in front. Now when I want to take pictures, I have a nice blue background that makes the images "pop!" The blue 'drapes' I created only run in back of the project table. This seems to work well for photos.


Work Tables

Our MakerSpace has a central folding "maker" table where we always start our projects. It is 38" wide by 60" long -- enough space to fit 5 stools underneath. I refinished the top with a formica laminate and then cover that with vinyl table cloths from Walmart. The vinyl surface is easy to clean up and can be discarded for a new cover when it gets too worn. 



I have two sets of these tables. They are fold up tables made by Coleman for camping. I can put the two halves on either end of the workspace table to increase surface area. This is especially useful when I want the main table for making projects, and the two little "end tables" for holding supplies.

I also use the fold-up tables all in a line to lay out supplies for a "build" when I don't want the supplies nestled right next to the main table.