Cabinet Shop in a Two Car Garage
It’s possible to operate a small cabinet business from a two car garage. Setting up the machines takes a well thought out plan. When fabricating kitchens, vanities, wall-units or countertops, it’s necessary to build things in a planned order. The way that this will work efficiently is by having many of the shop tools/items mobile. Obviously, your table saw will have to be stationary but several other tools and carts can be attached to casters.
After a while you will develop a system that works like a well-oiled machine. You may have to make minor readjustments as you work the kinks out of the flow of completing your work efficiently. Pay attention to the things that begin to irritate you and as soon as there is a slow down in work, get those things changed.
Work fans should be mounted high and if you have large free standing fans, they can be attached to floor carts, having casters.
Board racks can be built-in underneath the saw table.
Utilize the height by installing high cabinets with doors to store things like cabinet hinges, drawer slides, touch latches, handles & knobs, pull-out trash cans, etc. If you have drilling machines or other manufacturing equipment that set stationary, build cabinetry and install them lower over these areas if they are stationary against the walls.
- Tip: Use the driveway as much as possible for a work area. This was easy for me because the shop was located in Southern Florida; so year round I could utilize the additional space.
Fabricating Kitchen Cabinets from a Two Car Garage
When the process of fabricating cabinets in the garage has been perfected, the system will go smoothly. Two important factors are having a concrete driveway and also high ceilings. Another plus is if you have a storage tailor or delivery truck to store cabinetry and counters in as you complete them. Avoid at all costs having a bunch of cabinets, tops and parts stacked inside the shop. It may be a boost to the ego to have them piled up all over but the hindrance of having them in the way is not worth the feelings the ego enjoys.
Store your sheets of cabinet making materials vertically. The long edge of the 4’ x 8’ sheets should go on the floor. You will not be able to keep a huge selection of materials. Actually, the majority of materials for each will need to be ordered just prior to starting the fabrication process.
- Tip: Some suppliers will refuse to deliver cabinetry manufacturing materials to your garage because your shop is located in a residential area. It is often too difficult for them to maneuver the large delivery vehicles in residential neighborhoods.
My Method of Producing a Kitchen in a Small Workshop
- The table saw should be set up so that you can utilize the driveway as a walking work area. In my case, I set the table saw up about three feet inside the door. When ripping sheets I would be standing in the driveway pushing the boards and walking toward the garage.
- Roll- around carts made the same height of the saw table are a must.
- Make the saw table large enough to use as an assembly bench. It’s a little challenging but eventually you get used to the height.
- Fabricate and finish the countertops first and get them on the trailer or delivery truck out of the way.
- Next cut, build and finish all of the doors and place them inside the trailer as well.
- Cut and fabricate all of the drawers and stack them out of the way.
- Cut all of the stock for building the cabinets. Meaning, rip all upper and base cabinet bottoms, shelf rips, tops, rails, backs and any other wood that is required to assemble the cabinets with. Store all of these parts on the roll around carts.
- Cross cut all of the cabinets and stack the parts on carts.
- Assemble all of the kitchen or vanity cabinetry.
- Cut all exterior surfaces such as veneer or plastic laminates for the cabinets. Glue them to the boxes and complete the fine finishing process.
- Attach doors and complete the assembly by adding the drawers and all special hardware components.
- Load on the trailer or truck, deliver, install and collect your money.
- Tip: It’s important to utilize every inch of space in the two car garage to its fullest potential. You must keep the shop free of clutter. This means that there is going to be a lot of off-all that gets pitched.
You cannot be a pack rat. It costs more in labor to keep moving all the left over boards out of the way than it does when you throw them away and buy what you need for the next job. Be sensible though when you’re selecting what to pitch and what to keep.
Fabricating kitchens in two car garage can save you a ton of money in overhead. Check with your city or county zoning department to make sure that it’s possible to manufacture custom cabinetry in your residential area.