Project Garage

Part five: Sort­ing out the stor­age ar­eas for the new garage.

Car Mechanics (UK) - - Contents -

The old say­ing that ‘What­ever space you have, it will even­tu­ally get filled’ is some­thing I was de­ter­mined to defy with my new garage. Space is es­sen­tial not only for work­ing on my ve­hi­cles, but also for pho­tog­ra­phy, so I was keen to en­sure that clut­ter was kept to a min­i­mum and that what­ever could be stored should be.

Be­fore I started to fill my garage with tools, equip­ment and other es­sen­tials, I gath­ered to­gether any­thing that didn’t need to be stored in the garage and wasn’t valu­able. I al­ready had some stor­age space un­der the deck­ing in my rear gar­den, so I added some new doors and a trans­par­ent cor­ru­gated roof to the un­der­side of the deck­ing boards to cre­ate a dry area. This is per­fect for stor­ing con­tain­ers of flu­ids such as oil, coolant, screen­wash and car sham­poo.

In­side the garage, I de­cided to see if I could col­lect all of my tools to­gether and store as many of them as pos­si­ble in one cabi­net. Draper had the an­swer with a large 16-drawer cabi­net split into three units. My old tool­boxes and cab­i­nets are dwarfed by the new Draper unit and it man­aged to swal­low all of my tools. How­ever, I de­cided to move one of the old cab­i­nets and a top box into the in­spec­tion pit, which I’ve stocked with sev­eral use­ful tools for work­ing un­der­neath a ve­hi­cle, such as ham­mers, screw­drivers, pry bars and a few span­ners. Plus, there’s room to store most of my rust­proof­ing prod­ucts and equip­ment.

The draw­ers of the new Draper cab­i­nets use ball bear­ings in the run­ners and they work re­ally well, even for the draw­ers that hold heavy items such as my im­pact driver. I didn’t plan too ex­ten­sively when it came to al­lo­cat­ing tools to spe­cific draw­ers, but I tried to use one drawer for span­ners, an­other for ratch­ets and ex­ten­sions, and the top box for sock­ets. Most me­chan­ics’ cab­i­nets I see when vis­it­ing work­shops adopt the same tac­tics. This of­ten seems quite waste­ful of space, but it does mean that, say, a neat row of pli­ers and vice grips will be easy to ac­cess, in­stead of hav­ing them crammed into a deep drawer.

Keep­ing tools stored neatly did seem al­most im­pos­si­ble when it came to ar­rang­ing my span­ners, but a few crocodile teeth-shaped racks helped here.

On the bench

While the stor­age of the tools was be­ing sorted out, I also re-equipped my work­bench with its vice and drill, and stacked the lower shelf with a few boxes of car spares, a vac­uum cleaner and con­sum­ables such as nuts and bolts, pop riv­ets and screws. The work­bench ac­com­mo­dated ev­ery­thing, but I’m not so keen on its size any more. At 7ft, it’s quite awk­ward to po­si­tion it in­side the garage. I may be bet­ter off hav­ing two smaller benches or to use a small bench for the vice and buy a full-size pil­lar drill to se­cure to the floor. And I’ve yet to find some­where to park my four bi­cy­cles in­side the garage.

Once ev­ery­thing was in place, I crossed my fin­gers that I’d got my cal­cu­la­tions cor­rect and that my VW camper­van would fit in the garage. It was a tense mo­ment as I re­versed the ve­hi­cle in­side and at­tempted to close the door, but it fits eas­ily and it will be a lux­ury to be able to work on it un­der cover.

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