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A website about how I set up my old, small, two-car garage for metal fabrication, carpentry and automotive work.

The Sink Area


There’s a little alcove by the door to my garage. It’s an oddly-shaped space, and someone had plumbed in a laundry-type sink before I bought the place. In the initial clean-up of the garage, I put a kind of a counter above it and also a wooden shelf. To make the hot and cold taps ‘mixable’ for washing the dogs, I used a few garden hose valves screwed together. Down below, you can see how it looked until recently. Not terrible, but not very useful, either. (As always, click on the picture for a bigger view.)


At the top of the post, you can see what I made it into. The hard part of it was getting my head around what it was I was trying to build -- and also figuring out how I was going to get a finished product with the thing I was using for raw materials, which was a Strong Hold cabinet that had been damaged by a forklift. I got it cheap, and the 1986 calendar stuck to the inside of the door showed me approximately how long the thing had been sitting around.


That’s the damage in the lower left. It’s a tribute to the heft of these Strong Hold cabinets that I was simply able to bang the damage out with a sledge hammer. But then I started cutting.


I had no drawing for this, just a general idea of what I wanted and the dimensions of the little alcove.

Here is Boyd’s locker with the middle chopped out. Now it’s 35” tall. After this, I just welded the pieces together.


And this is the back of the old cabinet. Since I wanted a curve to the top, I had to use a jigsaw for the cutting. With steel this thick, it was slow going.


Here it is taking shape. The cabinet on the right side was made out of more of the scrap pieces from the middle section of the cabinet. I put an edge on it that was the same aluminum strip I use at the bottom of my ceiling cabinets.


Another piece of old steel made the backsplash. You can see it taking shape here. (You can also see that I knocked something into the phone handset and broke it in half. Oops.)


I wanted small cabinets up above the sink. I knew I was going to make them out of more scrap from Boyd’s cabinet. But up above that, I wanted cabinets with sliding doors to hang where the wall met the ceiling. Here’s how I made the channels for the doors to slide in. It’s a 2x4 that’s been ripped in half, then grooved with a table saw. Pretty simple. And the doors themselves have no handles, just small holes cut in them. There’s no hardware involved at all.


Here’s the thing taking shape. You can see the ‘mailbox style’ doors I made for right above the sink. And in this picture you can also see the sliding door cabinets higher up. At this point, they hadn’t been painted yet.


I sprang for a replacement handset for the old phone on Ebay. It’s a 1951 Western Electric 354 phone. It has never been cleaned up or restored. It’s just been working for 60 years -- that’s how stuff was once made in these United States. When I put it up on the wall, I simply wired it in and used the weird rotary dial to call… my cell phone. It worked perfectly. It’s hard to imagine my current cell phone working with the network at all sixty years from now. But simple machines tend to last more than complicated ones. (And I can’t update this website from the Western Electric phone.)


Right by the door is also where I keep my first aid kit and my fire extinguishers. There are two of them there for a reason. The rule of thumb is that if a single extinguisher can’t put out your fire, then you’re smart to get out of the building. But since these are used extinguishers, I figured putting two there would reduce the chance of picking up an extinguisher and realizing it’s dead. So the second one is there for insurance.


Switching to a smaller sink has meant some trade-offs. The laundry sink always seemed to have some stuff sitting in it. The new one is more useful for hand washing, but less useful for soaking big stuff. But for me, the small one is more useful more often, so I’m sticking with it.

Next: The Compliance Station