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Old 01-06-2017, 08:49 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: bay area, california
Posts: 23
Default Bay Area 10 x 17 Tent

Typically I spend most of my waking hours in front of a computer screen, coding, running economic models, prepping client materials, chasing sales leads, etc.

All that is preamble to say that sometimes I just need to stop looking at a screen, and do something physical for a change. Exercise helps, but also various projects help relax the mind and detox. Kind of a zen and motorcycle maintenance thing.

While we are saving for a downpayment for a house in the Bay Area, I still like doing projects. Part of the low rent deal (compared to other local options, objectively it's quite high and larger then the rest of my family's mortgages) is that he retains use of the garage.

I've collected tools, materials, camping equipment, bikes, etc but when we moved in there was no place to store them. We figured a storage unit ($150 a month for a small 10x15 unit) was just part of the cost of living.

But having crap in storage just means you are paying to store junk that you never even miss. So I trashed or craigslisted 2/3 of it and put the rest in a harbor freight tent in the back yard.

We have good weather most of the year, so it's fine. There's a concrete pad underneath. Water will flow across the floor, but only in heavy rain, which is rare in California.

So this is my garage / tent build. It's been an interesting challenge to build out a small space with a few constraints:

- everything has to be raised of the floor to allow water to flow and the leaf blower to clean out debris
- virtually nothing can hang from walls or the ceiling
- nothing can be permanent
- I don't want to rebuild out from scratch a garage when we buy, so where possible, build or buy units that can work in a small bungalow type garage
- wife items have to be stored in there as well

My tent garage (sometimes I call it my white trash garage) ready for rain. My teak (or generic tropical hardwood, more like) patio table doing double duty as a lumber rack.

Side shot of same tent.

View of the backyard and the garage I can't use--which is quite nice, outlets around the perimeter at counter height, 220 single phase on every wall, insulated, drywalled, painted. Also Louie sporting his Christmas sweater.

Garden, needs work.

Outdoor weight room. One of my future welding projects is a rolling weight rack. I found some tubing / fence posts / misc painted black pipe in a trash pile. I think enough to weld something up.

Will post some of the inside.
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:52 PM   #2
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: bay area, california
Posts: 23
Default Bay Area 10 x 17 Tent

Some picks of the inside--I'm going to have to put on my new fisheye lens for iPhone to get better shots. It's so narrow I can't take good pics of anything.

Sometimes it feels like what I imagine a workshop on a submarine feels like. Narrow walkway with everything else pushed out to the sides.

Better view. I picked up two 70s era craftsman rollers at an estate sale. As a hobby woodworker he had rented a warehouse in south San Francisco picked to the gills with everything you could think of. He was in the middle of making some project with drawers, so I threw them in the truck to finish off his project. With all the people clawing through his stuff and whining at the insane prices they were getting, I felt it honored his legacy, even though I never really met him. Sometimes estate sales seem wrong to me--people get greedy paring through stuff.

Originally both were mobile based for tools with crap screwed in everywhere. $140 for the pair and the drill press. The drill press would have been great to keep but I have no room for something that big. I resold it to someone else at the estate sale for $40. It had a new 220 motor on it. That guy got the deal of the day, but I try to minimize the extra stuff I have lying around. Besides my truck was full of other purchases.

The first of three truckloads of stuff I got for $500 total from the estate sale.

Those boards on top are 20 inch wide by 60 inch long mahogany planks. Still need a project for those.

Last edited by k4rl.k3rk; 01-06-2017 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 01-06-2017, 10:52 PM   #3
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: bay area, california
Posts: 23
Default Bay Area 10 x 17 Tent

Most of my stuff including tools was stored in 10 black totes that were dirt cheap (and that I think everyone has at least a few of) and 2 large husky plastic job boxes. One of the first things I built but don't have pics of are these two 65 inch rolling carts on 6 inch casters.

I like wide deep drawers for storing odd shaped tools and supplies. These are roughly 31 x 22 x 11. They are only on 100 pound drawer slides, but this isn't going to store crazy heavy items. I had the slides from a previous project I demoed (a custom closet). I bought cheap plywood from Home Depot (a mistake, getting wet with the slightest amount of water caused the top layer to peel off). Angle iron reinforces the bottom, salvaged from somewhere. Casters bought off Amazon using reward points. I paint d to get some water resistance using all the left over paint, paint samples, and random arts supplies I had mixed together and died blue with a quart of the deepest blue I could have mixed up at Home Depot.

Overall each is 32 x 23 15/16 x 65--which is optimized for getting the carcass tops and sides out of a single sheet of plywood.

At some point when I get a garage, I just have to build a toe kick, take off that the second part of the storage part I threw on top, and install 12 feet of drawers.

I've mixed up how I store stuff but you can see I pack them pretty full.

Misc electronic and project parts.

Painting supplies

Paint and volatiles (I know they should be in a fireproof cabinet, but I have two half empty quarts of mineral spirits, some wd40, penetrating lube, lithium grease, and the rest is latex paint. And epoxy. And glue. And denatured alcohol. Ok.

Clamps. Various types. I got them all from a recent estate sale, a lot of cool clamps with integrated cauls for clamping edge joined panels.

Bags and rags. I used to store my tools in my long toolbags. Now I keep them here, ready to load up if I need to. Don't want to get rid of them, but will probably move them away at some point.

Welding, grinding, and air equipment. Don't have a lot, but this stuff can be bulky. Buy it as I need to for new projects.

Planes (will restore, someday), and other specialized clamps I got at the estate sale.

Stanley no 6
Stanley no 5 x 2
Stanley no 4 1/2
Stanley no 4 or 3
Also have an unnamed wood body plane that seems good.

Woodworking power tools (scored two porter cable routers for $15 each at that estate sale, one came with a router table, the other has a drop in insert for a custom table. I gave my dad the new in unopened box cast iron bench dog top adjustable router table insert that I got there for $10 (retails $350 at rockler). He is building a shop, but we live 1000 miles away. $45 to shop that 40 pound package, still a deal.

Cutting tools. I left my worm drive out in the rain years ago. I don't think it has recovered since, I also ran it out of oil. I replaced it and am kind to it now. But it doesn't sound 100% but it is still tough as nails.

Other drawers are filled with camping and sports equipment.

Last edited by k4rl.k3rk; 01-06-2017 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 01-06-2017, 11:29 PM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Miami-Dade/Broward Co. Florida
Posts: 371
Default Re: Bay Area 10 x 17 Tent

In Florida the thieves would be crawling across the roof to get into the backyard to 'harvest' that stuff. You could probably set-up some sort of infrared motion detector and camera to warn you inside when the thieves were there, and show them a 12-gauge welcome, until the PD arrived.

Looks like a good use of your space. Without climate control, I'd be worried about rusting.My stuff rusts even though it's inside but we have a lot more precipitation than you do, here in south Florida. I'm about a mile from the Atlantic Ocean and a block-and-a-half from the brackish water Intracoastal Waterway, so, lots of salt air.

My sister and her husband were just featured in a SF Chronicle article about changing neighborhoods, and how theirs is made of people who have been there for many years. They are in Bernal Heights-The Mission. I don't envy you having to buy in San Francisco. I saw a 20' wide shed selling for $400,000 not long-ago, that's all it really was. Not even sure it was a buildable lot.
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Old 01-06-2017, 11:59 PM   #5
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: bay area, california
Posts: 23
Default Re: Bay Area 10 x 17 Tent

I wanted a cart with an outfeed table for my table saw. But a big cart would be of limited usefulness for me because the entrance to my tent is blocked by a stone border and a large oak tree. So I made a small one that I could use here but it is made out of blocks that I can reassemble into another cart or built in cabinets easily when I buy a place.

The truth for me is that if I have a big project I will just spread over the asphalt in the backyard. It's hidden from the road, behind a fence, and we rarely get rain, so I just set up outside and leave it there for days.

For this cart, I just needs to be able to store odd shaped power tools that don't fit in drawers, like my chainsaw, sander, grinder, router table, chop saw, etc.

I mis-measured so my crappy air compressor doesn't fit underneath, so I just built a side car.

Outfeed table is on hinges salvaged from an old door and folds down flat against the back.

Top can pop off the side thing to fit my chopsaw at the right height to use table saw as an outfeed table.

I know people have sexier mobile work stations, but this was cheap, workable, and built on the fly in a couple hours. All in all, works well and slides into my tiny shop well.
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