The Boatbuilding Tools, and "Boat Shop" Build Thread! - RC Groups
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Jan 19, 2017, 12:56 AM
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The Boatbuilding Tools, and "Boat Shop" Build Thread!

EDIT: So, this has officially become a workshop build thread as of this post!

My post here is long, so let me start with the super duper fast summary. I am looking for workshop ideas. I have been inspired by my small and growing vintage tool collection, and the absolute joy working with these old tools gives me. And my current space is BARELY usable...

I have been peppering my threads with these thoughts and comments lately. It has been really frustrating not having usable workspace much of the time. While this is "slightly" off normal topic, I think this forum is still the only good place to put this, since sailboat building has some needs special to our endeavors.

So, I would LOVE to see some super cool workshops out there. Where do most of you guys work on and build your boats??? I would LOVE to hear how you guys deal with these issues. Except Bill. You keep quiet with your 1400sqft workshop and room for 3 dozen boats.. Unless you post pictures to make us all jealous, then MAYBE its allowed!

EDIT: There is a "Part 2: The Tools List" here.

I have a pretty, "small", problem. My garage was long ago converted to a workshop, with the space cut in half to make a laundry room. The workshop is 13' wide, and 12' deep. Physically this footprint is more than big enough, but the space is HORRIBLY utilized. Posting up a panoramic shot (this took some serious effort to get too!!!). This is looking in from outside.

I have three viable options. Starting with cheapest (maybe?) to most expensive. Disclaimer: I know that some of the prices I have randomly quoted are just estimates. And likely NOT realistic for most. But I have resources and can get most materials needed for nothing to dirt cheap...

1) Rip everything out of garage and start mostly over. It is possible a few days spent clearing it all out, and somehow revamping it might get me better usable space. Still, I have already done this a couple times. The garage space also has to share space with my automotive tools. And the ONLY place my big boats will fit out there (only one at the moment) is where the mystery boat rests over to the right.

The real problem I fight with using the garage, is every time I have to work on a car, those tools take over every available surface. And most of the time I already have workbenches covered with boats and assorted RC goodies. Automotive and RC just don't mix well out there. Could I make it work? Maybe...

2) I have two ugly 8x10 Arrow (I believe) steel sheds. I could reorganize them down into one shed, then I could frame out the inside of one, insulate, put in some windows, a door, and turn it into an "almost" big enough workshop. Very minimal cost. But it is still not ideal due to height restrictions. This could be solved by dumping the walls and raising the roof. Since framing it anyways. Cost goes up a little, but much of the wall metal could be reused anyways.

3) Build a whole new workshop. IDEALLY I would like to take down BOTH sheds. Build one new connected structure with a workshop on one side, studio/"summer room" on the other. On the back of the summer room, I could rotate and reuse half of one of the steel sheds to retain the yard tools and storage space. The problem with this last idea, other than cost, is potentially pushing my luck. To be safe, a building permit will be needed. That adds $150, plus a couple small inspection fees. Now everyone (not part of the government and county bodies wanting our hard earned money) that I can get away with doing this without a permit. I don't have nosy or obnoxious neighbors. But the missus is concerned.

If I went with option 3, I would reuse as much of existing sheds as possible. Roofs get flattened then reused. Much of the steel walls would be reused. But with that permit, I am not building this for under $500 even with using lots of free materials. Option 2 (framing, insulating, maybe roof raise) I could do for $200-300 easy.

Option 3 really is my favorite. I have a very detailed plan in my head, and partially down on paper how I want to accomplish this.

The space would actually be smaller than my garage workshop. It would only be 8' wide, and 10' deep. But MUCH better utilized. First off, I want to have it with a loft workspace/bench in the front also underneath full length windows. This would be a drafting area, and sailmaking. Computer, printer and other "clean" space. This loft isn't fully set in stone, but it is VERY appealing and gets a lot of extra workspace.

Then underneath that, maybe a workbench on main floor, front wall with door set all the way towards one side where the center of both spaces meets. Undecided on the second narrower "standing" workbench will go. Either along the center divider wall, or the back wall. Then a smaller rolling workbench where a big boat can be stood in the middle of shop, fully assembled. I think I want to keep the center wall free for more boat storage too. Roof will have a single slant pitch with highest point in the front. So it will be tall enough for a big boat in the middle, but not the back wall.

For my "boat" shop I have a VERY specific dream look for the inside. I will use palate wood to plank and cover the walls. Simple wooden butcher block slabs for workbenches. Framework for them made from steel gas pipes. Maybe a couple metal cabinets with al those little drawers. Already have a "vintage" radio on its way. And would likely ban cell phones and put in a 1950's "executive" intercom. Actually that is cheap, even though it doesn't sound like it.

Overall, most of the items and tools visible, would be classic modeling and vintage woodworking kit. It would look like you had stepped back a bit in time. Now "messy" tools like table saw (if I ever get one), can stay out in the front garage.

I can get most of this look with option 2 or 3. But I can make the space work MUCH better with option 3. ANd option 3 gives the missus a summer room on the other side also. So it may be the easier thing to sell...

Trying to redo the garage to get that nice boat shop, perfect man cave look to it, is not going to be easy. It would likely mean taking everything currently in there, out. Or a lot of compromising on the final look. With building new space, I have a blank slate to work with.

So first picture is my current disaster. This is a couple days ago. It has been cleaned up a lot since, but it took me all day and still isn't sorted well enough to work on my boats or hobby tonight. Next picture is my inspiration I found of an old boat modeler's workshop. I posted up some pictures in this thread of very rough outside ideas and grabbed my current shed picture from there. I also have a Pinterest feed with a bunch of thoughts worth checking out, my Workshop Ideas.

Finally, I grabbed two of the best representations from my Pinterest. The Studio space would be on the left side, kinda like this picture. But a little bigger and the door will be dealt with differently. The glass is also more likely to just be screening. Behind this, would be the garden shed half. And the workshop on the right, kinda like the last one. Again though, bigger. Tall enough to maybe do that loft space. And going back deeper, 10.'

Any direction I go is pretty ambitious.... But option 2, revamping, framing, insulating, and maybe raising roof on existing shed, would be the simplest. I am not sure I can do enough to clean up the "look" of the garage, even if I can make it actually functional. And I REALLY want to separate out my two spaces/hobbies.

In the end, budget may be deciding/limiting factor. Zero means trying to revamp the garage, NO idea how I could pull that off. Option 2 can happen with just 200-300. But Option 3 is going to take my full tax return. While manageable, Option 3 has to be done with careful consideration, and it also has to be worth it for the missus to agree to it. She needs to get something out of it, and it also needs to make the backyard look EPIC!!!
Last edited by BiggsDarkLighter; Feb 21, 2017 at 12:24 AM.
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Jan 19, 2017, 07:26 AM
Registered User

look for solid core wood doors. usually fire rated. proably cheaper than butcher block, and can could be found at "home recycling centers" then use 4x4 pressure treated posts and 2x4s as a frame to support the work bench....

Also I used to be a big fan of tool boxes for tools. but once I got my pegboard set up. so much nicer. as long as I hang them back up when I'm done...
Jan 19, 2017, 07:30 AM
W Kuhns
BillKuhn's Avatar
One comment. My garage is 1400 sq feet but only use 1/3 of it. The rest is my girls crap lol. Wish Ihad a cool shop its just some long benches and some machinery. Saws metal lathe drill press etc. I will give you one idea tjat I like for fatigue. I picked up a bunch of interlocking foam flooring from ocean state. 6.99 a pack of four. Each pack does I believe 16 sq feet. I highly recommend it. My garage floor is concrete and very cold. These mats keep my feet a but warmer but most of all I can stand for quite a bit longer without gettiing fatigue. Which happens to me fast. Other than tjat its just a shop that gets messed up teal fast and have to clean it every other week because I dont put everything back all the time. But will take so.e pics the next time I clean it up. The hardest part for a shop layout it doing it so you can use everything without getting in the way of everything else. My shop will soon be no mote i fear in the next few months. Thats just gonna stink. Ok well that's my two cents. Good luck with it. And remember its not how big it is. It's how you use it. Lol
Jan 19, 2017, 12:51 PM
Registered User
Marc, I will definitely take a look out for those. We have a really good place nearby, Habitat For Humanity, that has tons of that stuff! As for the inside, I don't want to compromise on anything permanent, like the walls. But things like workbenches, can easily be dealt with later. For now, I could even move my two 2x4 benches out of the garage. I really like them actually, they are just ugly for the concept I am after.

As for the bench framework, I am kinda thinking that the steel pipe wouldn't cost that much. Sure, ANYTHING costs more than simple 2x4 or even 4x4...

If I have any toolboxes in this shop, the only one I see being back there is my small hand carry Snap-On toolbox. Pegboard might work out well. And also hand making various tool holders. I really don't need a huge tool selection back in here. Basic hand tools and a few power tools. Pegboard would fit on the back wall perfectly. And a couple smaller pieces up front to hold stuff I use more often, at the main workbench.

Well all my descriptions are tons of words, and possibly hard to visualize. A picture it worth a thousand words, so I dug into the woman art supplies for some goodies. This is revision 2. After drawing up the first one last night, I decided a door on the front was a workbench space waster, and not needed. I can put a door inside going into the screen room since the inside was will mostly be free space.

It is a little odd in shape. Tall and skinny. Each square is a foot. So 13' high, 7.5' wide, and 10' deep. The reason is simple, size of existing shed roof being reused for the new roof. Also, the size of the existing footprint. My neighbor is a contractor and will look over this sometime soon. If that design poses a problem, Then I will likely need to lower the height and rethink the loft portion. I really like that idea though...

Sailboat drawings are called "lofts" due to the way old boat shops were setup. They needed the drawings to be close to the building floor, but that was dirty. So these old shops would frequently have lofts where they made sails, and the drawings.

For sure Bill! Good use of the space is another reason why I like the loft idea. Get those things up and away from the "dirtier" space. And another reason why I like the idea of steel pipe framework. Simple and takes up much less room. Visually, it will make the space look larger too. Less clutter.

The ideas I have been working out in my head, and on paper, are intended to give me the most usable space without needing to move anything around. Other than the center workbench I plan on being movable/rollable. Power tools like drill press and scroll saw on back stand up workbench. Some sort of materials storage solution back there. A few tools appropriate for those items. Then the front workbench with the hand tools and the like.

The current floor is 3/4" plywood. I like the idea of those mats, but they likely need to be limited to in front of the standing workbench. I like my modern and comfortable rolling chair...
Last edited by BiggsDarkLighter; Jan 19, 2017 at 12:57 PM.
Jan 19, 2017, 04:50 PM
W Kuhns
BillKuhn's Avatar
Btw biggs sorry I know you said no comments from me but could not resist. If I was younger. My shop would be likes things you are looking at. With much more storage fir boards and metal products. I thunk thats one thing always over looked. Storage for materials. Keep that in mind. Thats one thing I need more of. Over head stirage and things. Good luck with whatever you do um sure it will be awesome. Wish you lived closer. I would open shop to you anytime. And you could make me something electronic. Like servo extenders lol desperatly need those. Ok take care my friend. Bill
Jan 19, 2017, 09:26 PM
Registered User
Originally Posted by BillKuhn
...With much more storage fir boards and metal products. I thunk thats one thing always over looked. Storage for materials. Keep that in mind. Thats one thing I need more of. Over head stirage and things. ...
That is a VERY good point! I have a big problem with lizards. They get into my garage and $4!+ on everything... So I have to leave my balsa in bags, and cardboard tubes. If I were to make some sort of wine bottle like rack for the tubes, that would be awesome.

Well phase 1 is mostly done. The garage is at least mostly usable again. My automotive tools are all put away. Workbench is still a bit messy. And I have boxes of randomness that are still sitting outside waiting to clutter the shop back up. And all the beach stuff, cart, chairs, etc. Very important to have those here in Florida! Most of that goes back into the car anyways, except my chair that the missus likes to borrow. It is always in her car whenever I want to go to the pond. I gots a bike lock that says I can fix that issue!

Well sadly option 3 requires a building permit, digging footers, and setting concrete. It isn't out of the running though. I will go talk to the inspector sometime next week or so with my contractor neighbor. In the meantime, I am reorganizing the junk in the sheds, them moving what I can out of the garage.

I think I will start by framing out the inside of the one shed. If I measure 5 times, I can actually retain that framing for the "bigger build" later on. I just put everything into place where the final plan calls for it to go. I would have to add on the framing for the loft later. But, I could probably still "raise the roof" a little now, and get enough usable height to get by. This will take some brainwork to pull off. If I make it so everything can be disassembled later from outside (after siding/sheeting is removed), I can actually get the pallet walls built and have most of the inside done and in use. Yeah moving the walls later would suck badly. But should be manageable.

And another option is still to rethink the plan, and figure out a way to reconfigure and cover up the ugly of the existing structures. I have some ideas for that to sketch out. The digging footers and mixing concrete thing required for a whole new structure, is VERY UNappealing.

Got lots to think about thats for sure! And a reasonably clean garage. Gonna try and get some actual boat building done tonight!
Jan 20, 2017, 12:40 AM
Po' boys does w/ Po'boys ways
haxawsnavy's Avatar
If I had the room myself(and lived closer) I would help you "make go away" lots of modern day tools n stuff you've forgotten about in hidden corners or shelves.! Tim aka Cap'n Hax
Jan 20, 2017, 02:11 AM
Registered User
I haven't forgotten about them, I just can't FIND them....
Jan 20, 2017, 06:22 AM
Mike Denest's Avatar
Look in this forum for shop projects. You'll find some good ideas.
Jan 20, 2017, 05:26 PM
Registered User
Thank you Mike, I defiantly hadn't seen that forum before! Some seriously awesome things in there. I really wish there were more shop builds though. I will also stick to my original thought though, boat building is very specialized. Especially sailboats.

Sure, any decently outfitted hobby workshop will do pretty well. But, once building or outfitting a workshop specifically for doing this, I think building sailboats adds some special considerations to the project.

One thing I "think" I want or maybe need, is a smaller worktable I can set in the middle of workshop, and move around it. This would be for building larger boats. Planking them. Ideally, the roof would be tall enough to accommodate one being assembled there with the mast on.

Storage, boats sure take up a lot of room. Even the small ones. I will post up some more thoughts as they come to me. What requirements and wants do you guys have?

And my new radio is awesome! "Vintage" inspired. Bluetooth and aux inputs. And I have bits coming to attempt driving the outputs through tubes to get that proper vintage warmth to the music. It won't pass for a vintage radio under close inspection, but it fits the overall theme perfectly.
Jan 20, 2017, 06:01 PM
W Kuhns
BillKuhn's Avatar

Some pics of my messy shop

As you requested some pics of shop. The right side is just two mapl top benches totaling 16 feet. And I still dont have enough room. As you can see some of my boats are on shelves up high one is on a rope and pully up high. Its actually a little different now. Due to me bringing my lathe out of the dust. And the additiin of a small band saw. Another freebie. Pictured my shop isntvpretty but it works. Its embarrassing compared to most man caves
Last edited by BillKuhn; Jan 20, 2017 at 08:26 PM.
Jan 20, 2017, 06:27 PM
W Kuhns
BillKuhn's Avatar

Belated christmas present

Far better than a dremel tool and has foot pedal conteol I wanna say ahe gt it for like 65.00 the whole kit. My other ine was worn out she paid attention when I said I wish I had a new one. She got it at American Scientific Surplus if interested. Great tool. Just like my old one but better due to the foit pedal speed control. Just thought you might like this.
Last edited by BillKuhn; Jan 20, 2017 at 08:23 PM.
Jan 21, 2017, 12:18 AM
Registered User
The important thing about any man cave, is that it is a comfortable place you want to spend time in! I see lots of awesome little tools hidden everywhere in yours, it looks like a place I would enjoy sitting on a chair procrastinating with you and a cup of coffee! Cause REAL work just can't happen... Maybe that is the problem with my garage, too much "real work" goes on there!

One really cool thing about my garage though, the neighbors all come over and sit and chill out. In fact the neighbor she bought the house from, lives a few doors down. He is the one that I am making the Razor Footy for and who's backyard I go sailing in the pond from. He has his own chair in my garage even! That is a very hard thing to make in the backyard... Whenever my garage door is open, people just come on in. Its really nice.

Still, everyone who has seen the drawing and knows our house/yard (she is known for holding EPIC parties) thinks the workshop will add a lot to the space. Most have also seen the other things I have built, and nobody has even asked if I could build this.

The missus dragged me out kicking and screaming tonight. Apparently it is Friday night and I was told I had to go be social. Anyways met this really cool older guy who is a contractor first off. And second off, he knows several local guys into building wooden boats with hidden boat shops around here. He offered advice and assistance in dealing with the county for building permits, and also offered help for building my creation.

I finally opened up mail the US Gov has been sending me. Seems I am actually getting some inheritance. My mom told me how much she thinks it will be, and while not a massive amount, likely more than enough to build the workshop, pay off a little debt, and put some money aside too.

Tomorrow, the plan is to attack the garage and sheds and try to reorganize them. I am hoping to move enough stuff out of the garage to maybe even make it a viable option. I do really enjoy being in there. Just hate the "furniture" so to speak. So we shall see. Whatever path is taken, they all have to start with cleaning up and reorganizing both spaces.
Jan 21, 2017, 12:32 AM
Po' boys does w/ Po'boys ways
haxawsnavy's Avatar
Dang wish I could be there to reap one mans trash might be my GOLD,!! Tim aka Cap'n Hax
Jan 21, 2017, 02:52 AM
Hi Biggs, if finances permitted, I would go up. Build another storey and double your usable work area.

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