Do you have your workshop set up like an expert DIYer?

Published: August 14, 2020

Wayne Lennox in his workshop Photo by Daniel Ehrenworth

Wayne Lennox found his way to Cottage Life readers by way of a treasure hunt.

His first story for the magazine outlined the game that he created for his son and daughter. And it remains a cottage tradition he continues for his three granddaughters.

In the roughly quarter-century since the first treasure hunt, Wayne has guided cottage DIYers through many projects, including an outhouse, a foldable picnic table, and a storage shed.

And while he has a larger work space at his home in Orillia, Ont., it is his cottage workshop, on Wahwashkesh Lake near Parry Sound, that offers up lake views, a clear breeze, and plenty of inspiration. A dedicated home for tools and supplies also makes it much easier for him to stay on top of cottage maintenance.
For those creating their own cottage workshops, Wayne, a former tech teacher at Orillia District Collegiate and Vocational Institute, suggests that you start with your priorities and graph paper to map them out.

Wayne prioritized a four-by-eight-foot work table in the middle of his 14-by-24-foot shop. “Everything had to work around that,” he says. He can run a full sheet of plywood through his table saw, and the table is positioned to support the sheet as he cuts.

Other standing tools are also carefully positioned. A mitre saw has room to cut 14′ boards, and the bandsaw is beside the workshop’s double doors. “I use only one door 90 per cent of the time, but I can open both when I need easier access,” he says. Tool workstands are on wheeled mobile bases so that they can be moved into or out of service, depending on his needs.

To maximize space, Wayne used Lee Valley brackets to support shelving between the studs—handy for storing all manner of small hardware, “mostly in peanut butter jars,” he says.

His workshop gets plenty of natural light, but for those overcast days, Wayne installed fluorescent-style fixtures with LED bulbs. “I was an early LED adopter,” he says, “and I added task lights over the mitre saw table,” relying on three old incandescent bulbs that hang from the ceiling.

It’s a mistake, he says, to pack too much into a workshop. “In a small shop, it’s critical,” he says. “I always ask myself: Am I using this? Why have I got this?” Wayne’s advice for cottage DIYers is succinct: maximize your space; put tables and heavy tools on wheels; install double doors. Oh, and don’t ask to borrow anything from him. A sign in his shop warns visitors: Don’t Even Look At My Tools.

It’s not a joke.

interior shot of Wayne Lennox's workshop
Mount these brackets on studs, slide in the shelf, and fasten with retaining screws. Photo by Daniel Ehrenworth

Double up
There’s enough space to store Wayne’s golf cart in the winter.

Do you have a unique cottage work space? Show us: edit@cottagelife.com.

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