The Garage Building
Extending and improoving my small garage
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I have small single car garage and it took a lot of thinking and some experience to keep it organized and to have an efficient little shop to work from within. I seen on pictures on the web and in the forums that some guys working in well heated and even air-conditioned shops and still complain of being restricted because they can't fit project car #7 in there too!
Did it make me jealous, yes, I would lie if I would have said otherwise. However, it didn't mean that I couldn't work with something smaller and achieve the things I wanted to do just like the guys with the big garages and the truck load of tools they seem to have on top of it.

Luxury it was not!
I used to have one electrical outlet, one Mr.Heater propane heater, and three shop lights 80 watts each. The door was made from a piece of scrap wood and the garage door opener didn't work at all when I bought the house but did work in the "open the door mode" after some slight persuading with a hammer. To close it I had to jump out of the truck and hit the wall switch, but that's OK because I didn't have to jump out of the truck in the rain or snow when coming home. You probably can tell that I was able to put up with some things, at least temporarily.
I really wasn't able to change any of these problems because I got cancer at first which put me physically out of commission for over a year and because this disease isn't a cheap one to have, my wallet left along with it.

A picture of the front of my home garage!

Well, this all changed! I was still in remission and although I didn't feel anywhere as good as I did before, things did seem to be at least a bit more constant in the health department and due to the extensive efforts put in by my other half, I was finally financially able to tackle my garage project.

Bigger is better!
The plan was simple, extend the garage, insulate everything the best as possible, get some decent electricity into it, a heater for the winter, a water pipe for a small sink, shelves, a work bench and a descent door.
After having worked for almost four years in the little available space of this garage, it sure would feel like a world of space to me when it's all done We started demolition by taking down the old portion of the building which was basically just a small type of hallway to the garage.
One of my good neighbors came to help us later that evening and he did a fantastic job by removing any remaining topsoil with his awesome tractor and we poored concrete.
We all worked together well and the laying some steel mesh for the concrete pad was done in less than an hour.
It was the hottest afternoon we had in a long time and the concrete truck finally arrived here at 3pm on Friday.We worked the remaining afternoon to get it done and the surface smooth.

The concrete pad was finally in and all the 1/2" x 6" L-bolts are in place as well. These are responsible for holding the bottom 2x4 wood pieces in place. Of course we did leave the section out in which the back facing door will go.

It took another two afternoons for the framing work using 2x4"s for the wall and 2x8"s for the roof. It was lot's of cutting, nailing, screwing, and measuring.
For the wall sheeting reusing the old boards on the south side was cost saving and new 1/2" particle board on the remaining structure. My son and I were busy to cut tar paper and we finished the roof that week's Friday before the anounced rain would show.

The next day I tackled the door frame which needed to be shortened in it's width and height. This took some serious time to get it done just right.

The installation of a eve (afterthought) and vinyl siding on the back wall finishes hopefully the rest of this part of the project.

Well, the outside is finally finished and I can now tackle the interior of my new extended garage.

I didn't plan on making it a Better Homes and Gardens kinda project, but all things considered, it is my garage in which I spent a considerable amount of time throughout the entire year and thus I do want it to look finished and somewhat comfortable for the type of activity going on in there. Good lighting and some heat to make it a bit easier through the cold UP winters are just some of the luxury I am intending to integrate.
My "desktop machining corner" consists of a simple built bench utilizing 2x4's and some old kitchen cabinets. I used MDF for the bench top, painted it, mounted my milling machine and lathe onto it, and completed the electrical work in this section.

I had a wood burning stove but my farm bureau insurance agent wasn't that exited about as I was! Simply put, I can't have a wood stove in a place with combustable material (he was referring to the fuel in my truck) or they will cancel my home insurance. Therefore I purchased a wall mounted gas heater.

Well, it's finally all done and finished!
Well, it's finally done after building a few shelves and a bit of painting. The machining tools are all in place, electricity as needed and everything lit up for action! All what's left to do is install the gas heater, move some of the wood out of here, and do some minor cleanup but that's about it!

The garage is now warm and comfortable thanks to my nice new gas heater. All of my equipment is pretty much back into place.
I moved the tools and other stuff back up from the basement and returned them into the garage where they belong.I also fixed the faulty garage door opener system which now works 99% of the time and hopefully it will keep working that way for some years to come. I know that I wont get around replacing it at one point in the future but for now it did buy me some time and saved me a bunch of money.

I still haven't decided yet what I am going to do about the sealing but that's a project for another summer.

I am going to purchase a new air compressor for which I reserved a corner next to the machining bench and already placed a 230V/30A outlet for onto the wall.

I also have a 230V/50A outlet installed for my Mig welder in a easy to get to location. No more "hot" wiring to weld something! Everything is up to code and has the appropriate breakers for safety.

I got plenty of lights now and all are on individual switches and thus I am not wasting electricity when not needed.

I have been feeling a bit frustrated not have been able to work on my truck while this garage improvement was under construction but now I can get finally back to the planned projects on the Durango

This job was completed on 02-15-2011.

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