A New Garage Workshop and a Clean Sweep

A Clean and Clear Working Environment

My new workshop’s ready. I’m moving in this week so I hope you’re excited for me. I’m going to blog more on my experience and especially keep you up on the added nuances that have made my shop work through the years.

In my workshop easy-sweep is important to me. I do all my own and never like others to sweep for me unless I really know them well. I think sweeping and cleaning is a very respectable and personal thing for any man to do. If it’s my workshop the intimate details, even pushing shavings from under my feet, yes, matter to me. I dislike kicking them under the bench. Shavings have their own inbuilt spring that results in shavings bounces into nooks and crannies to fill them without much effort at all. The good thing is they’re easily removable too. A stick and broom is all that’s needed. The trick is to either allow easy access at low levels or totally enclose the lower reaches of things such cupboards and stands. Wheels are a great accessory as wheels allow you to move cabinets out of the way when you need a certain area to relinquish its dominance. I’ve used castors under all of my large storage cupboards through the years. Two fixed wheels and two swivellers works well or just four swivel castors is OK too.

I made this cabinet with swivel castors enclosed and it works very well.

Owning the woodworking school meany owning about a hundred clamps and two stands just for sash clamps. In my new garage workspace I am going for six 24″ clamps, eight slightly longer 30″, and then six 48″. So 20 altogether in one stand. Additionally I will have of course have the cam clamps from when we made them on woodworking masterclasses along with some all metal ‘F’ clamps. Oh, and garden sheds can be a useful addition for stowage of materials like wood as well as sawhorses, trestles and clamp stands.

One of my early clamp stands on castors



  1. Anthony on 22 April 2018 at 11:28 pm

    Awesome cupboard Paul. Would like to make one of those for my basement some day. My wife and I have a coal room that stores holiday dishes among other seasonal items. A separate room in basements were used to store coal before water heaters were used. The room is under the porch. Can the clamp station house clamps on the back?

  2. Dallas Rysavy on 23 April 2018 at 1:22 am

    Moving into a new shop always has made me ‘giddy’ with excitement. Looking forward to the continued great work you do in the new shop. Enjoy the new surroundings.

  3. Ian Jefferson on 23 April 2018 at 11:41 am

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the updates on your move in. I’m excited to see what your new facility will bring to light on new and improved woodworking material. You are creating a legacy of information and I hope training the future trainers.

    Although I enjoy machines for both metal work and wood work I’m realizing more and more that the older traditional and new traditional hand methods teach me more about what is going on and add completely new and satisfying dimensions to work.

    We recently had a new panelled exterior door fail – cracks are appearing in the panels. Upon examination I realized that the panels are constrained. Looking at an older similar door I can still move the panels by hand a little although they are snug. On the new door no movement is possible. I wonder if the factory folks making the new door even knows the basics around the natural behaviour of wood. It is such nice material it is a shame it is failing. I hope some day we see the shops return to the schools here in Canada (North America really) to plant some seeds for the future.

  4. Patrice Gagné on 23 April 2018 at 11:50 am

    Really happy for you, Paul. Moving into a new shop and getting acquainted to it is a lot like moving into a new home. I’ll also be moving into my new shop this fall and i’m really excited about it. I hope you’ll enjoy your new work space. Keep up the good work.

  5. paul bowes on 23 April 2018 at 1:35 pm


    Since my first day as an apprentice in 1979(I think I may have been one of the last truly indentured apprentices) cleaning my workspace was and continues to this day important and therapeutic.

    I believe it is a marks one out above the rest when the cleanliness of your workspace is matched in the projects you complete.

    Great up date BTW..

  6. Afzul Ali on 23 April 2018 at 1:56 pm

    Hi paul. I don’t have a garage too do woodworking from i can only watch your videos and dream of one day having the space to do woodworking projects ( which probably will be never) untill then i can only watch all your amazing projects. I wish you all the very best in your new adventure.

    • Michael Ballinger on 26 April 2018 at 3:03 pm

      Afzul Ali I was in the same boat as you. I lived in a 1 bed apartment with two young children and had no space to work from. I made some shelves in a cupboard and started collecting tools. I worked on the floor and in the kitchen and outside in a car park. Not ideal but it’s amazing what you can learn and achieve with such restrictions. I watched hours and hours of Paul working, dreaming of the day I had a proper space and a workbench. Then I discovered a thing called Mensheds which started originally in Australia where men usually retired share a space to work out of. I got a bench moved it in and each week I had 2 hours there to work and learn. Now I’ve been fortunate enough to move home and have just built a new workshop and got a new job that’s part time to free up a day each week. Keep the dream alive, you never know what’s around the corner!

  7. Rico on 23 April 2018 at 2:43 pm


    I made the mistake of buying all my tools in a frenzy before having suitable storage for them all. It’s a nightmare. The lack of fixed, relevant storage makes it difficult for me to motivate myself to go to the garage. I take a tool out of the bottom of a messy drawer and leave it out because I’ll never find it again. Nothing is to hand and every project leaves a trail of destruction. Because it’s just a hobby, I’ve never managed to work out a useful layout for all my tools, and I’m frightened to start building storage in case I change layout further down the line. I tried cleats and wall-hanging, but then I take my bench out into the centre of the garage for space, so that’s no use. Everything rusts too as I’m close to the sea, so it needs to be enclosed. It seems like all the “off-the-shelf” storage is too standard, which renders it almost useless. Toolboxes and systainer type things are only useful on the move. The importance of an organised system of tool handling is absolutely vital to the hobby, but I find myself just staring at my perpetual mess and too frightened to start!

    Perhaps I need to sell all my tools and start over again.

    Any tips on organisation?

    • Paul Sellers on 23 April 2018 at 2:54 pm

      Hello Rico. Don’t give in, banana boxes work temporarily. My present desk is two chipboard offcuts supported each end with two trestles I built to build my workbench series. We are about to work through establishing my garage workshop and everything will be covered. Stay with us…it’ll work out.

      • Rico on 23 April 2018 at 3:16 pm

        Thanks Paul, typically, bananas are the one fruit I can’t stand…..

        I think what I’ll do one weekend (maybe this weekend) is just lay everything out on a big tarpaulin and arrange the tools into their constituent needs (woodworking, mechanicary etc) and then put them into shallow cardboard boxes like you suggest temporarily, then once tidy I’ll start thinking about a better workbench and perhaps drawers within that for storage (I have to have everything against one 5-6m wall and it has to be moveable). I’ll probably hold off and continue to watch your videos for ideas though, as I’m bound to miss something I should have thought of. I really like your clamp racks for example, and I could probably do with a foldaway area for gluing up, so perhaps I can incorporate that style of clamp rack with a pivoted melamine top or something for that purpose.

        You’ve got me thinking anyway!!

        • Tom on 24 April 2018 at 1:12 pm

          get some buckets of “Damp Rid” or other desiccant you can put in the boxes with the metal tools to absorb any moisture. It helps keep the rust down. Also, there are a lot of great dry coatings you can spray on your tools to add that extra layer of protection.
          Charlotte NC USA

        • John 2v on 24 April 2018 at 7:26 pm

          Rico I built my garage on the side of our house …..about 35years ago!!……and still I change its layout ….a tweak here a tweak there. There is no perfect layout….it changes with your needs and experience.

    • Anthony on 23 April 2018 at 5:02 pm

      Hi Rico,

      I know and feel what you mean. I’m still organizing my garage workshop after 4 years of being a woodworker. I started by making small, dovetail, storage boxes and eventually built my way up to larger ones with dividers and lids and eventually made a couple of chests. The chests aren’t for tool storage but they could be if I wished. The chests I made for my house. I also built a large cabinet with shelves but no door. I didn’t use any traditional joinery for the cabinet, just glue and screws.

      • Hal on 24 April 2018 at 12:38 pm

        I’ve been woodworking for 20 plus yrs cont. to develop better storage & woodworking techniques that’s halve the pleasure and enjoyment

  8. John Abney on 23 April 2018 at 3:03 pm

    I know you are excited about your new workshop, I know I would be; however, there is something about your old workshop that makes me feel at home. I know you will use it to the best of your experience and nowledge. blessings!

  9. John Abney on 23 April 2018 at 3:04 pm

    Good for you, you deserve the best.

  10. Mac on 23 April 2018 at 3:49 pm

    Congratulations Paul. We know you’re excited to get the shop all cleaned up and start making things in and for your new Garage shop!
    Looking forward to it!

  11. comboprof on 23 April 2018 at 4:02 pm

    I like putting two overlapping layers of plywood on top of foam board for my floor. I screw the top sheet of plywood to the bottom lett float on the foam board. Corralling the floaring by the walls and a srtip of two by four where there is no wall. This accomplishes 4 things (1) keeps my legs and feet from getting tired standing on the concrete, (2) insolates my feet from the cold concrete floor in our severe winter climate, (3) stains from oil, paint, glue etc are absorbed into the bare wood, (4) tools should they fall are protected from the harsh concrete. You can coat the plywood with poly or BLO but it seems to sweep up just fine for me. Anyway I think it’s just a much nicer surface then concrete. This of course all presumes you do not share your work area with say a car.

  12. Skip Hall on 23 April 2018 at 6:47 pm

    Hi Paul. Greetings from Suffolk… the one in Virginia, USA, that is. 😉
    I wonder if you have any other photos or plans for the rolling clamp rack, you mentioned above? It appears to be about the right size for my own clamp “collection,” and about the right footprint for my tiny, one-car garage shop. I’d love to build one!
    And congratulations on the new space! I know it will be a joy to work in a space designed and engineered specifically for your work flow. Really looking forward to a flurry of new videos as you continue to settle in.
    Stay healthy and happy!
    Skip Hall
    Suffolk, Virginia, USA

  13. Joe on 23 April 2018 at 7:51 pm

    Thanks Paul for the detailed updates on this move and new workshop. It’s very exciting to watch these transformations. Not only for the woodworking space but also to see what is involved so that you can film it nicely for us.

  14. John B on 23 April 2018 at 8:08 pm

    Hi Paul
    Congratulations on achieving your aims.

    . . . . Oh, and garden sheds can be a useful addition for stowage of materials like wood as well as sawhorses, trestles and clamp stands. . . . .

    Only if I can prise space in there from my wife – the shed is her art studio.

    Best wishes and looking forward to the new projects

  15. Kevin on 24 April 2018 at 2:12 am

    Paul, A new shop is an exciting time. Congratulations!
    I too like the “decompression” that comes with the clean up. I build 17th& 18th century flintlocks primarily with hand tools and I can create quite a mess during a days work. Working wood, brass, silver and iron in the same shop requires a number of different tools (and benches) sweeping and clearing benches are (is) a constant ongoing task. I have hung a sign in my shop that I think you would appreciate, I may have even seen it first here… Don’t Put It Down-Put It Away

  16. Brittain Wright on 24 April 2018 at 6:20 am


    Just in case no one has told you lately, very sincerely, Thank You. My 30 year journey in woodworking as a hobby has never been more fufilling as it has been lately using traditional hand tools. I’m building your bench right now… chopping some of my first mortises using your techniques successfully. I’m using nothing but 2x4s and laminating everything. I must admit that I’ve used my powered jointed and planer a bit due to all the laminations. The garage is covered in shavings so i guess I better get out that broom.
    I’ve watched every video you’ve made (many multiple times). Your gift of passing on this craft to future generations is deserving of the highest honor. Whether Her Majesty knows it or not, you Sir are truly a knight of the realm.

    All the best,

    Oklahoma, USA

  17. John Howard on 24 April 2018 at 7:45 am

    Hi Paul,
    Definitely pleased and excited for you. Found your YouTube channel recently when I was casting around looking for ideas on building a workbench. Your videos were wonderful and took me back to my youth. I went to a Technical High School in the 60’s and all the little nuances of jointing, squaring and, above all, care come flooding back. I’m retiring in a couple of months and have decided to go back to woodwork as my hobby 🙂
    So thank you again for the website, videos and general blogging as it is a wonderful resource for all us part timers out there.

  18. Ron McGee on 25 April 2018 at 8:16 am

    Hi Paul I’m in the middle of converting my garage into a woodworking shop but it’s not very big and it’s taking some time but I’m getting there .
    Very pleased to see you are now really moving in properly. It is exciting and very rewarding.
    All the best .

  19. Austin on 13 May 2018 at 7:44 pm

    I’m working on building a clamp cart based on the picture shown here and in another post. Could you post a picture of the backside of the cart? I’m trying to think through how to store the F-clamps I have (6″ and 24″) on that reverse side.