Monday, August 6, 2007

Cool Toys and Ideas for the Garage

Since I am an admitted garage guy, I obviously like the toys that go into a cool garage.

OK, the ultimate garage toy is a really cool ride. Street rods, sports cars, racers, Jeeps, 4x4s, even boats and other things are the ultimate garage accessories. But, what goes into make a cool garage aside from the rides?

If you are a builder, the lots of electrical outlets are the first order of business. Fabricators will often have several things going at the same time, and have various tools in various work stations around the garage. This would also include 220V outlets for welders and air compressors and plasma cutters. The next thing is closed storage. While shelves are a must, having closed shelving is MUCH better. Not only does everything look neater (because you can't see it) but it stays cleaner. All of the dust from grinding and working stay out of the shelving. Finally, EVERYTHING needs to be off the floor, or on rollers. This makes clean-up a much faster and more efficient process. Break out the air hose and blow it out.

For those that do heavy duty building, floor coatings like epoxy aren't that good. Welder slag and plasma slag will burn the coating and take it back to ugly. Tiles are not good for the same reasons, especially the plastic snap in tiles.

Light work/display/detailing garages go better with industrial coatings like epoxy. The snap tiles, like Racedeck are also great in these garages. It is still good to keep everything off of the floor for clean-up. The only real drawback of plastic tiles is that they don't do well with heavy loads like big tool boxes and jackstands. One cool thing I have seen done for jackstands is to weld a flat piece of metal to the bottom, and then coat it with Rhinolining. This cushions it for plastic tiles, and will keep the stands from scratching epoxies.

For a true display bay, go wild. Theme it. I ran across a house with a faux marble floor in the garage. Since the house looked like an Italian Villa, it fit perfectly. The Alfa-Romeos and Ferraris were quite at home with this setting. Similarly, I ran across a detached garage that looked like a 1950s service station. It had glass roll-up doors and fit the street rods perfectly. Lots of neon and chrome were there as well.

Tool storage is another area that we always need to go after. I have LOTS of tools. Aside from the big things (welder, band saw, plasma cutter, drill press, etc.) there are loads of sockets and hand tools, as well as small power tools. Keeping them organized and handy is always a challenge. These are great little racks for sockets other stuff and they can allow a lot of stuff to be in a small area, but still fully organized. Of course, there are lots of great boxes and other tool storage things that are good to have around. Aside from traditional boxes, going to full on tool cabinetry is a great way to make the garage look worthy of a high dollar race team. If given an unlimited budget, these are a great choice. Coming back down to earth, using several rolling boxes is a great alternative. This also makes it easier to move them around when needs change.

Whatever you do, make it work for you. You'll find that your garage can look better, hold more stuff, and increase the value of your home.

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